April 27, 2017

Environmental History April 2017, 22.2

TABLE OF CONTENTS at OUP April, 2017 | Vol. 22, No. 2

 

ARTICLES

EDITOR’S NOTE

This is an exciting issue! Not only do we have our usual collection of excellent research articles, Gallery essay, and book reviews, but we’re also introducing a new annual feature, the Film Forum. Each April, thanks to the initiative of our graphics editor Finis Dunaway, Environmental History will provide reviews of several films of interest to our readers. Please see his introduction to this great new offering for more information.

In addition to hosting the first Film Forum, this issue is distinct in that it highlights the work of female scholars. Women have been influential in our field from its outset, with individuals like Carolyn Merchant and Susan Flader helping to shape our analytical approaches through their research and…Read the full Editor’s Note by Lisa Brady here.

GALLERY

Gallery Editors’ Note by Finis Dunaway

Earth at Night 2012, 5 December 2012. NASA’s global map of artificial light at night suggests the scale of light pollution worldwide. However, it also depicts the impossible; it shows the entire planet at night by algamating data when, in fact, only half of Earth is nocturnal at any point in time. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Earthrise and the Blue Marble are among the most widely circulated images in the history of photography. Taken almost fifty years ago, these NASA photographs have been celebrated, often in hyperbolic fashion, for transforming human consciousness and inspiring a new sense of responsibility toward our earthly home. In this issue’s Gallery essay, Sara Pritchard looks at more recent NASA images—satellite pictures of Earth at night—to consider the contemporary discourse and visual politics of light pollution. She pays careful attention to NASA’s representational strategies to explain how an image of city lights at night emphasizes, and even exaggerates, the regional differences between Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Pritchard’s discerning visual analysis opens up broader questions about what is seen and what is hidden in light-pollution imagery. Grounding her argument in histories of colonialism and conservation, she reveals the global power relations at work and offers an alternative reading of the image in terms of lighting poverty. Pritchard powerfully evokes William Cronon’s influential essay, “The Trouble with Wilderness,” by asking readers to reflect upon the trouble with darkness.