The problematic nature of nature: The post-constructivist challenge to environmental history

History and Theory 42 (4):60–74 (2003)
Abstract
This article discusses the program of environmental history within the larger discipline of history and contrasts it with more recent contributions from post-constructivist science. It explores the ways in which post-constructivism has the potential to productively address many of the shortcomings of environmental history’s theories and models that environmental historians themselves have begun to view with a critical eye. The post-constructivist authors discussed in this article, Donna Haraway and Bruno Latour, both represent challenges to the ways in which nature and the natural sciences tend to be conceptualized as non-problematized entities within environmental history. They also challenge the ways in which dichotomies of nature and culture tend to be reproduced within the program of environmental history. It is argued that these post-constructivist contributions represent a radical and arguably more truly historical way of introducing non-human actors into the historical narrative, and thus represent a potential reinvigoration of environmental history that would embrace a more radical historicity, greater diversity, and openness to difference
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