front cover of Landscape and Earth in Early Modernity
Landscape and Earth in Early Modernity
Picturing Unruly Nature
Christine Göttler
Amsterdam University Press, 2023
Early modern views of nature and the earth upended the depiction of land. Landscape emerged as a site of artistic exploration at a time when environments and ecologies were reshaped and transformed. This volume historicizes the contingency of an ever-changing elemental world, reframing and reimagining landscape as a mediating space in the interplay between the natural and the artificial, the real and the imaginary, the internal and the external. The lens of the “unruly” reveals the latent landscapes that undergirded their conception, the elemental resources that resurfaced from the bowels of the earth, the staged topographies that unsettled the boundaries between nature and technology, and the fragile ecologies that undermined the status quo of human environs. Landscape and Earth in Early Modernity: Picturing Unruly Nature argues for an art history attentive to the vicissitudes of circumstance and attributes the regrounding of representation during a transitional age to the unquiet landscape.

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The Last Best Hope of Earth
Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America
Mark E. Neely Jr.
Harvard University Press
Mark E. Neely, Jr., gives us the first compact biography of Abraham Lincoln based on new scholarship. Neely, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, vividly recaptures the central place of politics in Lincoln’s life. Richly illustrated, nuanced and accessible, written with attention to the age in which Lincoln lived, yet ever alert to universal moral questions, this book provides a portrait of Lincoln as an extraordinary man in his own time and ours.

front cover of The Last Quiet Place on Earth
The Last Quiet Place on Earth
Sonnets in the Time of Coronavirus
Roger Armbrust
Parkhurst Brothers, Inc., 2022
It’s 2020, the time of Coronavirus. The poet confronts it and his environment in these 104 sonnets. Armbrust writes sonnets on a variety of themes, primarily addressed to his muse and his lovers. Since 1979, when his first book of poetry went to press, he continues to write, as if he opens a vein to pour his own blood onto the page to do it.

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Life in the Hothouse
How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change
Melanie Lenart
University of Arizona Press, 2010
In this insightful, compelling, and highly readable work, Melanie Lenart, an award-winning journalist and science writer who holds a PhD in Natural Resources and Global Change, examines global warming with the trained eye of a professional scientist. And she presents the science in a clear, straightforward manner. Why does the planet’s warming produce stronger hurricanes, rising seas, and larger floods? Simple, says Lenart. The Earth is just doing what comes naturally. Just as humans produce sweat to cool off on a hot day, the planet produces hurricanes, floods, wetlands, and forests to cool itself off.

Life in the Hothouse incorporates Lenart’s extensive knowledge of climate science—including the latest research in climate change—and the most current scientific theories, including Gaia theory, which holds that the Earth has some degree of climate control “built in.” As Lenart points out, scientists have been documenting stronger hurricanes and larger floods for many years. There is a good reason for this, she notes. Hurricanes help cool the ocean surface and clear the air of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. From the perspective of Gaia theory, these responses are helping to slow the ongoing global warming and Lenart expounds upon this in a clear and understandable fashion.

There is hope, Lenart writes. If we help sustain Earth's natural defense systems, including wetlands and forests, perhaps Mother Earth will no longer need to rely as much on the cooling effects of what we call "natural disasters"—many of which carry a human fingerprint. At a minimum, she argues, these systems can help us survive the heat.

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Loose of Earth
A Memoir
Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn
University of Texas Press, 2024

An arresting memoir of love and unbending religion, toxicity and disease, and one family’s desperate wait for a miracle that never came.

Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn was the oldest of five children, a twelve-year-old from Lubbock, Texas, whose evangelical family eschewed public education for homeschooling, and wove improbable scientific theories into literal interpretations of the Bible. Then her father, a former air force pilot, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of thirty-eight, and, “it was like throwing gasoline on the Holy Spirit.” Stirred by her mother, the family committed to an extreme diet and sought deliverance from equally extreme sources: a traveling tent preacher, a Malaysian holy man, a local faith-healer who led services called “Miracles on 34th Street.”

What they didn’t know at the time was that their lives were entangled with a larger, less visible environmental catastrophe. Fire-fighting foams containing carcinogenic compounds had contaminated the drinking water of every military site where her father worked. Commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” the presence of PFAS in West Texas besieged a landscape already burdened with vanishing water, taking up residence in wells and in the bloodstreams of people who lived there. An arresting portrait of the pernicious creep of decline, and a powerful cry for environmental justice, Loose of Earth captures the desperate futility and unbending religious faith that devastated a family, leaving them waiting for a miracle that would never come.


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Lord Kelvin and the Age of the Earth
Joe D. Burchfield
University of Chicago Press, 1990
Burchfield charts the enormous impact made by Lord Kelvin's application of thermodynamic laws to the question of the earth's age and the heated debate his ideas sparked among British Victorian physicists, astronomers, geologists, and biologists.

"Anyone interested in geologic time, and that should include all geologists and a fair smattering of biologists, physicists and chemists, should make Burchfield's commendable and time-tested volume part of their personal library"—Brent Darymple, Quartely Review of Biology

front cover of Loving Orphaned Space
Loving Orphaned Space
The Art and Science of Belonging to Earth
Mrill Ingram
Temple University Press, 2022

How we relate to orphaned space matters. Voids, marginalia, empty spaces—from abandoned gas stations to polluted waterways—are created and maintained by politics, and often go unquestioned. In Loving Orphaned Space, Mrill Ingram provides a call to action to claim and to cherish these neglected spaces and make them a source of inspiration through art and/or remuneration. 

Ingram advocates not only for “urban greening” and “green planning,” but also for “radical caring.” These efforts create awareness and understanding of ecological connectivity and environmental justice issues—from the expropriation of land from tribal nations, to how race and class issues contribute to creating orphaned space. Case studies feature artists, scientists, and community collaborations in Chicago, New York, and Fargo, ND, where grounded and practical work of a fundamentally feminist nature challenges us to build networks of connection and care. 

The work of environmental artists who venture into and transform these disconnected sites of infrastructure allow us to rethink how to manage the enormous amount of existing overlooked and abused space. Loving Orphaned Space provides new ways humans can negotiate being better citizens of Earth.


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