December 17, 2017

17.4

TABLE OF CONTENTS     October, 2012 | Vol. 17, No. 4

ARTICLES

An Eco-Political Vision for an Environmental History: Toward a Latin American and North American Research Partnership by German Palacio

Life and Labor in a Seabird Colony: Hawaiian Guano Workers, 1857–70 by Gregory Rosenthal

Sovereignty, Virtue, and Disaster Management: Chief Minister Yao Chong’s Proactive Handling of the Locust Plague of 715–16 by N. Harry Rothschild

Garden and Forest: A Forgotten Magazine and the Urban Roots of American Environmentalism by Shen Hou

 

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EDITOR’S DESK

Issue 17.4 – October 2012

This issue opens with a review essay by Germán Palacio titled “An Eco-Political Vision for an Environmental History: Toward a Latin American and North American Research Partnership.” In his review, Palacio suggests that Latin American and US environmental historians should explore their interconnections rather than focusing on their differences. Illustrating his argument with examples from the history of frontiers and imperialism, Palacio sheds light on “the history of environmental transformation of our common Americas.”

Gregory Rosenthal, in his essay “Life and Labor in a Seabird Colony: Hawaiian Guano Workers, 1857–1870,” juxtaposes two parallel narratives of guano extraction. One takes the perspective of nesting seabirds; the other takes the perspective of migrant Hawaiian laborers. Rosenthal explores the intersections of work, body, and environment to investigate ways in which seabirds and workers transformed their environments, even as those changing environments transformed bird and worker bodies.

N. Harry Rothschild explores the effects of locust plagues in Tang dynasty China in his essay “Sovereignty, Virtue, and Disaster Management: Chief Minister Yao Chong’s Proactive Handling of the Locust Plague of 715–16.” Rothschild shows how politically complex ecological crises can become. When locusts attacked food crops, the stability of the dynasty was threatened. His analysis highlights tensions between central and local authority; between Han Chinese and ethnic minority subjects; and between Confucianism and Buddhism.

Shen Hou’s essay, “Garden and Forest: A Forgotten Magazine and the Urban Roots of American Environmentalism,” turns to late nineteenth-century American ideas. She examines the “city natural” ideals developed by the weekly magazine Garden and Forest. The city natural ideal promoted a harmonious fit of cities within their natural habitats and argued for the critical importance of beauty in an increasingly urban America. Hou argues that Garden and Forest’s importance suggests a “more complicated and distinctly urban origin of environmentalism than we have fully realized.”

–Nancy Langston