Interdisciplinary conversations: the collective model

Alistair Hamilton*, Fiona Watson, Althea Davies, Nick D Hanley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Environmental history prides itself on being explicitly interdisciplinary. This is usually considered to mean the fostering of dialogue ‘between humanistic scholarship, environmental science, and other disciplines’.1 This position has emerged largely because of the subject’s obvious relationship with environmental and biological/ecological sciences, which have long dominated investigations into the natural world. Once documentary historians began to ‘discover’ and discuss the relationship between society and the environment, it was natural that they should incorporate the findings and some of the methods of ecology in particular. One need only think of the titles of two important environmental history texts — Ecological Imperialism by Alfred Crosby and The Ecological Indian by Shepard Krech — to note the explicit link, particularly in the United States. Crosby is a historian and Krech an anthropologist. Some have moved the other way: Jared Diamond, an evolutionary biologist and physiologist, has earned international acclaim for his syntheses of human history, placing biology at the explanatory heart of key historical questions; biologist Daniel Botkin believes that his subject cannot be divorced from human cultural activity, past and present. All have attempted to integrate more traditional historical narratives with scientific findings, achieving impressive results.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNature's End
Subtitle of host publicationHistory and the Environment
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Chapter8
Pages162-187
ISBN (Electronic)9780230245099
ISBN (Print)9780230203471
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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