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The Routledge Handbook of Environmental History, edited by Emily O’Gorman, Mark Carey, William San Martín, and Sandra Swart

The Routledge Handbook of Environmental History was published by on 6 December 2023, with a publication year of 2024.

For further details and to purchase a copy see the publisher’s website.


The Routledge Handbook of Environmental History presents a cutting-edge overview of the dynamic and ever-expanding field of environmental history. It addresses recent transformations in the field and responses to shifting scholarly, political, and environmental landscapes.

The handbook fully and critically engages with recent exciting changes, contextualizes them within longer-term shifts in the field, and charts potential new directions for study. It focuses on five key areas:

  • Theories and concepts related to changing considerations of social justice, including postcolonial, antiracist, and feminist approaches, and the field’s growing emphasis on multiple human voices and agencies.
  • The roles of non-humans and the more-than-human in the telling of environmental histories, from animals and plants to insects as vectors of disease and the influences of water and ice, the changing theoretical approaches and the influence of concepts in related areas such as animal and discard studies.
  • How changes in theories and concepts are shaping methods in environmental history and shifting approaches to traditional sources like archives and oral histories as well as experiments by practitioners with new methods and sources.
  • Responses to a range of current complex problems, such as climate change, and how environmental historians can best help mitigate and resolve these problems.
  • Diverse ways in which environmental historians disseminate their research within and beyond academia, including new modes of research dissemination, teaching, and engagements with stakeholders and the policy arena.

This is an important resource for environmental historians, researchers and students in the related fields of political ecology, environmental studies, natural resources management and environmental planning.

Table of contents:

Introduction: Framing Environmental History Today and for the Future

Emily O’Gorman, Mark Carey, William San Martín, and Sandra Swart 

Part I: New Methods, Innovative Approaches 

1          Ethics, Justice, and Environmental Histories

Heather Goodall, Meera Anna Oommen, and Madhuri Mondal 

2          Oral and Environmental History: Time, Place, Decolonisation and the More-Than-Human World

Katie Holmes and Aet Annist 

3          Sounding Environments

Hedley Twidle and Aragorn Eloff 

4          Geographical Information System, Remote Sensing and Spatial Data Infrastructure

Marina Miraglia and Kairo da Silva Santos 

Part II: Non-Human Agencies 

5          The Tangled Bank

Harriet Ritvo and Rebecca Woods 

6          Multispecies Cultures and Environmental Change: The Animal (Agency) Turn

Diogo de Carvalho Cabral and Heta Lähdesmäki 

7          Animal and Vector-Borne Diseases, Zoonoses, and One Health

Lyle Fearnley and Melissa Salm 

8          The Non-Human in Agriculture: Technologies of Agriculture and Non-Human Aspects of Farming

Veronika Settele and Claiton Marcio da Silva 

9          (Inter)national and (Trans)regional Agents: The Coastal Sand Dunes of Mozambique

Joana Gaspar de Freitas, Inês Macamo Raimundo, Ignacio García Pereda, and Dissanayake Mudiyanselage Ruwan Sampath 

10        Actor-Networks, Conservation Treaties, and International Environmental History: Re-assembling Conventions

Raf de Bont and Simone Schleper 

11        Hazards and Disasters: Locusts, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Floods, Droughts

Katrin Kleemann and Admire Mseba 

Part III: Engaging with the Planetary and the Anthropocene

12        Planetary Boundaries, Climate Change and the Anthropocene

Ruth Morgan and Cristián Simonetti 

13        Extinction in Environmental History: Historizing Problems of Classification and Intentionality

Dolly Jørgensen and Miles Powell 

14        Temporality and Environmental History in the Anthropocene: Timing Climates, Modeling Futures

Emil Flatø and Erik Isberg 

15        Fossil Fuels from Extraction to Emissions

Antoine Acker, Elizabeth Chatterjee, Lukas Becker, Matthew Shutzer, and Nathalia Capellini 

Part IV: Power, Flows, and Knowledges 

16        Global Histories of Environment and Labour in Asia and Africa

Mattin Biglari and Olisa Godson Muojama 

17        Toxicity, Racial Capitalism and Colonial Mining: Lessons from Cyanide and Gold Mining in Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia)

Elijah Doro and Marco Armiero 

18        Local Fishermen Knowledge and Scientific Expertise in Eastern Europe and West Africa: Assessing the Unseen

Stefan Dorondel, Veronica Mitroi-Tisseyre, and Youssoupha Tall 

19        Historical Memory and Technocratic Failures in Environmental Impact Assessments

Javiera Barandiarán and Ricardo Oyarzún 

20        Cities, Food, Water, and Environmental History in China, the USA and India: Making Bubbles

Shen Hou and David Biggs 

21        Urban Environmental Governance: Historical and Political Ecological Perspectives from South Asia

Jenia Mukherjee and René Véron 

Part V: Practices and Actions for Current Socio-Ecological Crises 

22        Pedagogy for the Depressed: Empowerment and Hope in the Face of the Apocalypse

Michelle K. Berry and Emily Wakild 

23        Activist Environmental History: On War Machines and Guerrilla Strategies

Regina Horta Duarte, Bruna Luiza Costa Pessoa, and Lucas Erichsen 

24        Communicating Environmental History: Reaching Diverse Audiences through Online Forums

Jonatan Palmblad and Jessica M. DeWitt 

25        Environmental History in Museums: Past Practice and Future Opportunities

Luke Keogh, Liisi Jääts, Nina Möllers, and Libby Robin 

26        Environmental Historians, Policy, and Governance

Alessandro Antonello and Margaret Cook 

Future Directions in Environmental History

Cintia Velázquez-Marroni, Jessica Urwin, Nicolo Paolo Ludovice, Bryan Umaru Kauma, Sangay Tamang, and Jayson Maurice Porter