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Making Peace with the Earth
Vandana Shiva
Pluto Press, 2013

In this compelling and rigorously documented exposition, Vandana Shiva demolishes the myths propagated by corporate globalisation in its pursuit of profit and power and shows its devastating environmental impact.

Shiva argues that consumerism lubricates the war against the earth and that corporate control violates all ethical and ecological limits. She takes the reader on a journey through the world's devastated eco-landscape, one of genetic engineering, industrial development and land-grabs in Africa, Asia and South America. She concludes that exploitation of this order is incurring an ecological and economic debt that is unsustainable.

Making Peace with the Earth outlines how a paradigm shift to earth-centred politics and economics is our only chance of survival and how collective resistance to corporate exploitation can open the way to a new environmentalism.


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The Man Who Flattened the Earth
Maupertuis and the Sciences in the Enlightenment
Mary Terrall
University of Chicago Press, 2002
Self-styled adventurer, literary wit, philosopher, and statesman of science, Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (1698-1759) stood at the center of Enlightenment science and culture. Offering an elegant and accessible portrait of this remarkable man, Mary Terrall uses the story of Maupertuis's life, self-fashioning, and scientific works to explore what it meant to do science and to be a man of science in eighteenth-century Europe.

Beginning his scientific career as a mathematician in Paris, Maupertuis entered the public eye with a much-discussed expedition to Lapland, which confirmed Newton's calculation that the earth was flattened at the poles. He also made significant, and often intentionally controversial, contributions to physics, life science, navigation, astronomy, and metaphysics. Called to Berlin by Frederick the Great, Maupertuis moved to Prussia to preside over the Academy of Sciences there. Equally at home in salons, cafés, scientific academies, and royal courts, Maupertuis used his social connections and his printed works to enhance a carefully constructed reputation as both a man of letters and a man of science. His social and institutional affiliations, in turn, affected how Maupertuis formulated his ideas, how he presented them to his contemporaries, and the reactions they provoked.

Terrall not only illuminates the life and work of a colorful and important Enlightenment figure, but also uses his story to delve into many wider issues, including the development of scientific institutions, the impact of print culture on science, and the interactions of science and government. Smart and highly readable, Maupertuis will appeal to anyone interested in eighteenth-century science and culture.

“Terrall’s work is scholarship in the best sense. Her explanations of arcane 18th-century French physics, mathematics, astronomy, and biology are among the most lucid available in any language.”—Virginia Dawson, American Historical Review

Winner of the 2003 Pfizer Award from the History of Science Society

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Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth
Edited by William L. Thomas Jr.
University of Chicago Press, 1956
This book presents a large-scale multidisciplinary evaluation of what has happened and is happening to the earth under man's impress. It includes the papers presented by fifty-three eminent scholars at a major conference on ecology—one of the first ever held—sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. A pioneering publication in the field of environmental research, the work has steadily contributed to ecological studies, and is now considered a classic.

The volume is organized into three parts. Part 1 deals with man's rise to the status of ecological dominance, and includes discussions of such topics as the role of fire as the first great force harnessed by man, early food-producing populations, the clearing of Europe's woodlands, subsistence economies and commercial economies, and the natural history of urbanization.

Part 2 investigates environmental changes such as man's impact upon the seas and coastlines. The highly topical ecology of wastes is discussed, as well as urban-industrial demands and the depletion of natural resources.

Part 3 is concerned with the limits of the earth's resources. It includes papers dealing with the population spiral, possible limitations of raw-material consumption and energy use, and technological denudation.

Each part is accompanied by a report summarizing the ideas discussed at the conference by the participants.

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The Mantle of the Earth
Genealogies of a Geographical Metaphor
Veronica della Dora
University of Chicago Press, 2021
The term mantle has inspired philosophers, geographers, and theologians and shaped artists’ and mapmakers’ visual vocabularies for thousands of years. According to Veronica della Dora, mantle is the “metaphor par excellence, for it unfolds between the seen and the unseen as a threshold and as a point of tension.” Featuring numerous illustrations, The Mantle of the Earth: Genealogies of a Geographical Metaphor is an intellectual history of the term mantle and its metaphorical representation in art and literature, geography and cartography. Through the history of this metaphor from antiquity to the modern day, we learn about shifting perceptions and representations of global space, about our planetary condition, and about the nature of geography itself.

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Mapping Paradise
A History of Heaven on Earth
Alessandro Scafi
University of Chicago Press, 2006
Throughout history, humans have searched for paradise. When early Christians adopted the Hebrew Bible, and with it the story of Genesis, the Garden of Eden became an idyllic habitat for all mankind. Medieval Christians believed this paradise was a place on earth, different from this world and yet part of it, situated in real geography and indicated on maps. From the Renaissance through the Enlightenment, the mapping of paradise validated the authority of holy scripture and supported Christian faith. But from the early nineteenth century onwards, the question of the exact location of paradise was left not to theologians but to the layman. And at the beginning of the twenty-first century, there is still no end to the stream of theories on the location of the former Garden of Eden.

Mapping Paradise is a history of the cartography of paradise that journeys from the beginning of Christianity to the present day. Instead of dismissing the medieval belief in a paradise on earth as a picturesque legend and the cartography of paradise as an example of the period’s many superstitions, Alessandro Scafi explores the intellectual conditions that made the medieval mapping of paradise possible. The challenge for mapmakers, Scafi argues, was to make visible a place that was geographically inaccessible and yet real, remote in time and yet still the scene of an essential episode of the history of salvation. Mapping Paradise also accounts for the transformations, in both theological doctrine and cartographical practice, that brought about the decline of the belief in a terrestrial paradise and the emergence of the new historical and regional mapping of the Garden of Eden that began at the time of the Reformation and still continues today.

The first book to show how paradise has been expressed in cartographic form throughout two millennia, Mapping Paradise reveals how the most deeply reflective thoughts about the ultimate destiny of all human life have been molded and remolded, generation by generation.


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Market Square
A History of the Most Democratic Place on Earth
Jack Neely
University of Tennessee Press, 2009

Conceived in 1853 as a canny real-estate scheme by two young investors expecting to get rich off the idea, Market Square came to be Knoxville’s most public spot, a marketplace familiar to every man, woman, and child in the area. By the 1860s, it was the busiest place in a burgeoning city. In a town that became bitterly divided by politics, race, and background, Market Square became a rare common ground: a place to buy all sorts of local produce, but also a place to experience new things, including the grandiose Market House itself, considered a model in a progressive era. Beset by urban blight by the mid-1900s, Market Square had become more of a curiosity than a point of municipal pride, and the neighborhood declined. After years of controversy, the city razed the Market House and struggled to modernize the old Square itself.
This second edition is packed with more information about the colorful history of this eccentric place, including details about its African American heritage, the surprising origins of a recent international bestseller, and a much fuller account of its present-day resurgence as an example of vigorous urban revival. Through a combination of public and private efforts in the 21st century, Market Square seems to be returning to its original diverse spirit, suggesting why, on a good day, it can resemble—as a reporter described it in 1900—“the most democratic place on earth.”
Jack Neely is the award-winning “Secret History” columnist for Metro Pulse, Knoxville’s weekly newspaper. He is the author of From the Shadow Side and Other Stories about Knoxville, Tennessee, and, with Aaron Jay, of The Marble City: A Photographic Tour of Knoxville’s Graveyards.


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Markings on Earth
Karenne Wood
University of Arizona Press, 2001

“Ten thousand years of history, and we find the remains
of ancestors removed from their burial mound . . . “

Impressions of the past, markings on earth, are part of the world of Karenne Wood. A member of the Monacan tribe of Virginia, she writes with insight and grace on topics that both reflect and extend her Native heritage.

Markings on Earth is a cyclical work that explores the many dimensions of human experience, from our interaction with the environment to personal relationships. In these pages we relive the arrival of John Smith in America and visit the burial mounds of the Monacan people, experience the flight of the great blue heron and witness the dance of the spider. We also share the personal journey of one individual who seeks to overcome her sense of alienation from her people and her past.

Wood’s palette is not only Nature but human nature as well. She writes pointedly about shameful episodes of American history, such as the devastation of Appalachia by mining companies and the “disappearance” of Indian peoples. She also addresses forms of everyday violence known to many of us, such as alcoholism and sexual abuse. Wood conveys an acceptance of history and personal trauma, but she finds redemption in a return to tradition and a perception of the world’s natural grace.

Through these elegantly crafted words, we come to know that Native writers need not be limited to categorical roles determined by their heritage. Markings on Earth displays a fidelity to human experience, evoking that experience through poems honed to perfection. It is an affirmation of survival, a work that suggests one person’s life cannot be separated from the larger story of its community, its rootedness in history, and its timeless connections to the world.


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A Martian Stranded on Earth
Alexander Bogdanov, Blood Transfusions, and Proletarian Science
Nikolai Krementsov
University of Chicago Press, 2011

Much like Vladimir Lenin, his onetime rival for the leadership of the Bolshevik party during its formative years, Alexander Bogdanov (1873–1928) was a visionary. In two science fiction novels set on Mars, Bogdanov imagined a future in which the workers of the world, liberated from capitalist exploitation, create a “physiological collective” that rejuvenates and unites its members through regular blood exchanges. But Bogdanov was not merely a dreamer. He worked tirelessly to popularize and realize his vision, founding the first research institute devoted to the science of blood transfusion.


In A Martian Stranded on Earth, the first broad-based book on Bogdanov in English, Nikolai Krementsov examines Bogdanov’s roles as revolutionary, novelist, and scientist, presenting his protagonist as a coherent thinker who pursued his ideas in a wide range of venues. Through the lens of Bogdanov’s involvement with blood studies on one hand, and of his fictional and philosophical writings on the other, Krementsov offers a nuanced analysis of the interactions between scientific ideas and societal values. 


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Memories of Earth and Sea
An Ethnographic History of the Islands of Chiloé
Anton Daughters
University of Arizona Press, 2019
Memories of Earth and Sea recounts the history of more than two dozen islands clustered along the Patagonian flank of South America. Settled over the centuries by nomadic seafarers, indigenous farmers, and Spanish explorers, southern Chile’s Archipelago of Chiloé remained until recently a rural outpost resistant to cultural pressures from the mainland. Islanders developed a way of life heavily dependent on marine resources, native crops like the potato, and the cooperative labor practice known as the minga.
Staring in the 1980s, Chiloé was thrust into the global economy when major companies moved into the region to extract wild stocks of fish and to grow salmon and shellfish for export. The archipelago’s economy shifted abruptly from one of subsistence farming and fishing to wage labor in export industries. Local knowledge, traditions, memories, and identities similarly shifted, with young islanders expressing a more critical view of the rural past than their elders.
This book highlights the region’s unique past, emphasizing the generational tensions, disconnects, and continuities of the last half century. Drawing on interviews, field observations, and historical documents, Anton Daughters brings to life one of South America’s most culturally distinct regions.

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Mirrors Beneath the Earth
Short Fiction by Chicano Writers
Ray González
Northwestern University Press, 1992
Mirrors Beneath the Earth is an historic and unique collection of contemporary Chicano fiction: 31 stories depicting the richly varied experiences of Mexican-Americans in the U.S. Some, like Sandra Cisneros, Rudolfo Anaya, Ana Castillo, are already celebrated writers. The special strength of this anthology is that it introduces others who have never before been published in book form, like Ana Baca, Patricia Blanca, Rafael Jesus Gonzalez, and Natalia Trevino. These writers open our eyes and enrich our understanding.

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The Moon, Come to Earth
Dispatches from Lisbon
Philip Graham
University of Chicago Press, 2009

A dispatch from a foreign land, when crafted by an attentive and skilled writer, can be magical, transmitting pleasure, drama, and seductive strangeness.

In The Moon, Come to Earth, Philip Graham offers an expanded edition of a popular series of dispatches originally published on McSweeney’s, an exuberant yet introspective account of a year’s sojourn in Lisbon with his wife and daughter. Casting his attentive gaze on scenes as broad as a citywide arts festival and as small as a single paving stone in a cobbled walk, Graham renders Lisbon from a perspective that varies between wide-eyed and knowing; though he’s unquestionably not a tourist, at the same time he knows he will never be a local. So his lyrical accounts reveal his struggles with (and love of) the Portuguese language, an awkward meeting with Nobel laureate José Saramago, being trapped in a budding soccer riot, and his daughter’s challenging transition to adolescence while attending a Portuguese school—but he also waxes loving about Portugal’s saudade-drenched music, its inventive cuisine, and its vibrant literary culture. And through his humorous, self-deprecating, and wistful explorations, we come to know Graham himself, and his wife and daughter, so that when an unexpected crisis hits his family, we can’t help but ache alongside them.

A thoughtful, finely wrought celebration of the moment-to-moment excitement of diving deep into another culture and confronting one’s secret selves, The Moon, Come to Earth is literary travel writing of a rare intimacy and immediacy.


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Mortgaging the Earth
The World Bank, Environmental Impoverishment, and the Crisis of Development
Bruce Rich
Island Press, 2013
The 1992 Rio Earth Summit was supposed to be a turning point for the World Bank. Environmental concerns would now play a major role in its lending—programs and projects would go beyond economic development to “sustainable development.” More than two decades later, efforts to green the bank seem pallid.

 Bruce Rich argues that the Bank’s current institutional problems are extensions of flaws that had been present since its founding. His new book, Foreclosing the Future, tells the story of the Bank from the Rio Earth Summit to today. For readers who want the full history of the Bank’s environmental record, Rich’s acclaimed 1994 critique, Mortgaging the Earth, is an essential companion.

Called a “detailed and thought-provoking look at an important subject” by The New York Times, Mortgaging the Earth analyzes the twenty year period leading up the Rio Summit. Rich offers not only an important history but critical insights about economic development that are ever-more relevant today.


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The Most Beautiful Place on Earth
Wallace Stegner in California
Matthew D. Stewart
University of Utah Press, 2021
As author of the “Wilderness Letter” and major award-winning novels, histories, essays, and biographies, Wallace Stegner worked throughout his life to protect western lands, places, and peoples. His writing was and remains an inspiration and guide for countless people attempting to cultivate a sense of place in the American West while tacking their way through uncertain times.

This book tells the story of Stegner and his family as they made a home just outside of Palo Alto, California, dur­ing its transition from the Valley of Heart’s Delight (known for its rolling hills and orchards) to Silicon Valley. In this thoughtful study of the novels Stegner wrote in Califor­nia—including his Pulitzer Prize–winning Angle of Repose—readers are invited to consider with Stegner what the practice of place requires in the American West. Specialists in the literature and history of the American West will find new analyses of Stegner and his influential work. Other readers will be guided through Stegner’s work in concrete and accessible prose, and anyone who has longed for home and a sense of place will encounter a powerful, beautiful, and at times tragic attempt to build and preserve it.

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Mother Earth
An American Story
Sam D. Gill
University of Chicago Press, 1987
"The earth is my mother, and on her bosom I shall repose."

Attributed to Tecumseh in the early 1800s, this statement is frequently cited to uphold the view, long and widely proclaimed in scholarly and popular literature, that Mother Earth is an ancient and central Native American figure. In this radical and comprehensive rethinking, Sam D. Gill traces the evolution of female earth imagery in North America from the sixteenth century to the present and reveals how the evolution of the current Mother Earth figure was influenced by prevailing European-American imagery of America and the Indians as well as by the rapidly changing Indian identity.

Gill also analyzes the influential role of scholars in creating and establishing the imagery that underlay the recent origins of Mother Earth and, upon reflection, he raises serious questions about the nature of scholarship.

"Mother Earth might be modern, stressing the supposed biological ground of native life and its rich mythic tradition, but it hardly frees the native people from their long, lamentable involvement with the white man. For making this point clear, Gill deserves high praise."—Bernard W. Sheehan, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"In one of the finest studies of recent years we have an ambitious attempt to satisfy scholar, Native American, popular reader, and truth."—Thomas McElwain, Western Folklore

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The Mouth of Earth
Sarah P. Strong
University of Nevada Press, 2020
In this timely and moving collection of poems, Sarah P. Strong explores what it means to live in a world undergoing an irrevocable transformation, the magnitude of which we barely comprehend. A broad range of perspectives shows us different times and places on Earth while unfolding the cyclical nature of human denial and response. A series of linked persona poems about the Dust Bowl recounts the destruction of the Great Plains and how human dreams of plenty destroyed the ancient fertility and stability of the land, how heartbreak and denial contended with bureaucratic insolence. In an imagined view of our planet as it might appear millennia from now, the Earth is "a worry stone / in the pocket of space, or a mood ring / on the finger of a newly minted / god."

The Mouth of Earth serves as both a survival guide for those seeking connection with our planet and one another as well as a compassionate tribute to what we have lost or are losing—the human consequences of such destruction in a time of climate crisis and lost connectivity. Strong’s powerful poems offer us, if not consolation, at least a way toward comprehension in an age of loss, revealing both our ongoing denial of our planet’s fragility and the compelling urgency of our hunger for connection with all life.

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