The ultimate "other": Post-colonialism and Alexander Von humboldt's ecological relationship with nature
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
History and Theory 42 (4):111–135 (2003)
This article is a meditation on the overlaps between environmentalism, post-colonial theory, and the practice of history. It takes as a case study the writings of the explorer-scientist-abolitionist Alexander von Humboldt , the founder of a humane, socially conscious ecology. The post-colonial critique has provided a necessary corrective to the global environmental movement, by focusing it on enduring colonialist power dynamics, but at the same time it has crippled the field of environmental history, by dooming us to a model of the past in which all Euro-American elites, devoid of personal agency, are always already in an exploitative relationship with the people and natural resources of the developing world. A close reading of Humboldt’s work, however, suggests that it could provide the basis for a healthy post-colonial environmentalism, if only post-colonial critics were willing to see beyond Humboldt’s complicity in colonial structures. In particular, this article attempts to rehabilitate Humboldt’s reputation in the face of Mary Louise Pratt’s canonical post-colonial study, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. Humboldt’s efforts to inspire communion with Nature while simultaneously recognizing Nature’s “otherness” can be seen as radical both in his day and in ours. In addition his analysis of the link between the exploitation of natural resources and the exploitation of certain social groups anticipates the global environmental justice movement
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Eberhard Knobloch (2006). Erkundung Und Erforschung: Alexander Von Humboldts Amerikareise. Poiesis and Praxis 4 (4):267-287.
Nicolaas Rupke (2005). Alexander Von Humboldt and Revolution: A Geography of Reception of the Varnhagen Von Ense Correspondence. In David N. Livingstone & Charles W. J. Withers (eds.), Geography and Revolution. University of Chicago Press.
Philip S. Foner (1983). Alexander Von Humboldt on Slavery in America. Science and Society 47 (3):330 - 342.
Thomas P. Saine (1970). Alexander von Humboldt. Philosophy and History 3 (2):226-227.
Andreas Daum (2011). Alexander von Humboldt: Counternarrative of a Dissenter? [REVIEW] Metascience 20 (3):577-579.
M. Dettelbach (1999). The Face of Nature: Precise Measurement, Mapping, and Sensibility in the Work of Alexander Von Humboldt. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 30 (4):473-504.
Adolf Meyer-Abich (1968). The Philosophy of Nature in Alexander Von Humboldt's “Views of Nature”. Acta Biotheoretica 18 (1-4):9-50.
Herbert Pieper (2005). Alexander von Humboldt Und Die Berufung Jacob Jacobis an Die Wiener Universität. NTM International Journal of History and Ethics of Natural Sciences, Technology and Medicine 13 (3):137-155.
A. Lubowski-Jahn (2011). A Comparative Analysis of the Landscape Aesthetics of Alexander von Humboldt and John Ruskin. British Journal of Aesthetics 51 (3):321-333.
Geng Yang & Qixue Zhang (2006). The Essence, Characteristics and Limitation of Post-Colonialism: From Karl Marx's Point of View. [REVIEW] Frontiers of Philosophy in China 1 (2):279-294.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads6 ( #292,147 of 1,696,592 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #346,146 of 1,696,592 )
How can I increase my downloads?