In the News

New in Surveillance Studies

Our list in security studies has been growing lately, with a particular emphasis on the study of government surveillance. Take a look at some of our newest scholarship in this essential field:

ddthe_48_1_coverMass surveillance has turned into one of the twenty-first century’s darkest, if most predictable, realities. The networks we depend on now seem far larger, more totalizing, and less private than previously imagined. “Spectatorship in an Age of Surveillance,” a special issue of Theater, explores the ways in surveillance—from governments’ mass spying to all-seeing networks—and the fields of theater and performance inform each other: What forms of surveillance have found their way into our lives online and off? How might theater and performance help us to see them?

Much of the issue takes Live Arts Bard’s 2017 performance biennial We’re Watching as a point of departure while other contents venture into poetry, visual art, and cinema. Among the performances featured in the issue, choreographer Will Rawls and poet Claudia Rankine contemplated blackness and (in)visibility in What Remains; Big Art Group staged the interplay of intimacy and impenetrability in Opacity using computer code and probability; and Alexandro Segade’s queer dystopic drama Future Street proposed a Blade Runner for the post-Snowden era. The issue gathers scripts and photographs from these productions alongside essays, interviews, and reviews that help us to understand surveillance, not only as an anonymous system of digital control but more incisively, as a human behavior enacted by the individual self. Read the introduction, made freely available.

978-0-8223-7081-9As Katherine Verdery observes, “There’s nothing like reading your secret police file to make you wonder who you really are.” In 1973 Verdery, an anthropologist, began her doctoral fieldwork in communist Romania. She returned several times over the next twenty-five years, during which time the secret police compiled a 2,781-page surveillance file on her. Part memoir, part detective story, part anthropological analysis, My Life as a Spy offers a personal account of how government surveillance worked during the Cold War and how Verdery experienced living under it.

From the first vistas provided by flight in balloons in the eighteenth century to the most recent sensing operations performed by military drones, the history of aerial imagery has marked the transformation of how people perceived their world, better understood their past, and imagined their future. In Aerial Aftermaths Caren Kaplan traces this cultural history, showing how aerial views operate as a form of world-making tied to the times and places of war.

978-0-8223-6973-8Life in the Age of Drone Warfare, a collection edited by Lisa Parks and Caren Kaplan, offers a new critical language through which to explore and assess the historical, juridical, geopolitical, and cultural dimensions of drone technology and warfare. Contributors show how drones generate particular ways of visualizing the spaces and targets of war while acting as tools to exercise state power.

Ten years on, Jasbir K. Puar’s pathbreaking Terrorist Assemblages remains one of the most influential queer theory texts and continues to reverberate across multiple political landscapes, activist projects, and scholarly pursuits. Puar argues that configurations of sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity are realigning in relation to contemporary forces of securitization, counterterrorism, and nationalism. The Tenth Anniversary Expanded Edition features a new foreword by Tavia Nyong’o and a postscript by Puar entitled “Homonationalism in Trump Times.”

978-0-8223-6898-4In Saving the Security State Inderpal Grewal traces the changing relations between the US state and its citizens in an era she calls advanced neoliberalism. Marked by the decline of US geopolitical power, endless war, and increasing surveillance, advanced neoliberalism militarizes everyday life while producing “exceptional citizens”—primarily white Christian men who reinforce the security state as they claim responsibility for protecting the country from racialized others.

During the Second World War, an FBI program called the Special Intelligence Service (SIS) assigned 700 agents to combat Nazi influence internationally. The mission, however, extended beyond countries with significant German populations or Nazi spy rings. In The FBI in Latin America, Marc Becker interrogates a trove of FBI documents from its Ecuador mission to uncover the history and purpose of the SIS’s intervention in Latin America and for the light they shed on leftist organizing efforts in Latin America.

Earth Day Reads

Happy Earth Day! We’re pleased to share our latest scholarship in environmental studies—we hope it helps to educate and inspire action around some of the most pressing problems facing our planet today. Learn more about this year’s Earth Day campaign: ending plastic pollution.

978-0-8223-6902-8In Fractivism, Sara Ann Wylie traces the history of fracking and the ways scientists and everyday people are coming together to hold accountable an industry that has managed to evade regulation. A call to action, Fractivism outlines a way forward for not just the fifteen million Americans who live within a mile of an unconventional oil or gas well, but for the planet as a whole.

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Environmental Humanities is a peer-reviewed, international, open-access journal. The journal publishes outstanding interdisciplinary scholarship that draws humanities disciplines into conversation with each other, and with the natural and social sciences, around significant environmental issues. Environmental Humanities has a specific focus on publishing the best interdisciplinary scholarship; as such, the journal has a particular mandate to publish interdisciplinary papers that do not fit comfortably within the established environmental subdisciplines and to publish high-quality submissions from within any of these fields that are accessible and seeking to reach a broader readership. Read the journal here.

In A Primer for Teaching Environmental History, Emily Wakild and Michelle K. Berry offer design principles for creating syllabi that will help students navigate a wide range of topics, from food, environmental justice, and natural resources to animal-human relations, senses of place, and climate change.

ddsaq_116_2_coverAutonomia in the Anthropocene,” a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, explores challenges posed to radical politics by an era of anthropogenic global change. Informed by new sites of struggle around extraction, waste, rising seas and toxic landscapes, and by new indigenous and worker movements, the issue rethinks key concepts in the autonomist lexicon — species being, the common, multitude, potentia, the production of subjectivity — in an effort to generate powerful analytical and political resources for confronting the social and ecological relations of informationalized capitalism.

978-0-8223-7040-6Matthew Vitz’s new book A City on a Lake tracks the environmental and political history of Mexico City and explains its transformation from a forested, water-rich environment into a smog-infested megacity plagued by environmental problems and social inequality.

In Landscapes of Power, Dana E. Powell examines the rise and fall of the controversial Desert Rock Power Plant initiative in New Mexico to trace the political conflicts surrounding native sovereignty and contemporary energy development on Navajo (Diné) Nation land. Powell’s historical and ethnographic account shows how the coal-fired power plant project’s defeat provided the basis for redefining the legacies of colonialism, mineral extraction, and environmentalism.

978-0-8223-6374-3Mikael D. Wolfe’s Watering the Revolution transforms our understanding of Mexican agrarian reform through an environmental and technological history of water management in the emblematic Laguna region. By uncovering the varied motivations behind the Mexican government’s decision to use invasive and damaging technologies despite knowing they were ecologically unsustainable, Wolfe tells a cautionary tale of the long-term consequences of short-sighted development policies.

saq_116_1Though the causes and effects of climate change pervade our everyday lives—the air we breathe, the food we eat, the objects we use—the way the discourse of climate change influences how we make meaning of ourselves and our world is still unexplored. Contributors to “Climate Change and the Production of Knowledge,” a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, bring diverse perspectives to the ways that climate change science and discourse have reshaped the contemporary architecture of knowledge itself: reconstituting intellectual disciplines and artistic practices, redrawing and dissolving boundaries, and reframing how knowledge is represented and disseminated. The contributors address the emergence of global warming discourse in fields like history, journalism, anthropology, and the visual arts; the collaborative study of climate change between the human and material sciences; and the impact of climate change on forms of representation and dissemination in this new interdisciplinary landscape.

In Energy without Conscience David McDermott Hughes investigates why climate change has yet to be seen as a moral issue, examining the forces that render the use of fossil fuels ordinary and therefore exempt from ethical evaluation. He passionately argues that like slavery, producing oil is a moral choice and that oil is at its most dangerous when it is accepted as an ordinary part of everyday life.

ddpcult_28_2We live in the age of extremes, a period punctuated by significant disasters that have changed the way we understand risk, vulnerability, and the future of communities. Violent ecological events such as Superstorm Sandy attest to the urgent need to analyze what cities around the world are doing to reduce carbon emissions, develop new energy systems, and build structures to enhance preparedness for catastrophe. The essays in “Climate Change and the Future of Cities: Mitigation, Adaptation, and Social Change on an Urban Planet,” a special issue of Public Culture, illustrate that the best techniques for safeguarding cities and critical infrastructure systems from threats related to climate change have multiple benefits, strengthening networks that promote health and prosperity during ordinary times as well as mitigating damage during disasters. The contributors provide a truly global perspective on topics such as the toxic effects of fracking, water rights in the Los Angeles region, wind energy in southern Mexico, and water scarcity from Brazil to the Arabian Peninsula.

Poem of the Week

Cesaire_Cover_FinalFor the third week of National Poetry Month, we share an excerpt from our authoritative bilingual edition of Aimé Césaire’s Journal of a Homecoming ⁄ Cahier d′un retour au pays natal, translated by N. Gregson Davis. Originally published in 1939, Cahier d′un retour au pays natal is a landmark of modern French poetry and a founding text of the Negritude movement.

 

O friendly light
O pristine source of light
those who invented neither gunpowder nor compass
those who have never tamed steam or electricity
those who have not explored either seas or sky
but without whom the earth would not be the earth
excrescence growing more benign even as the earth continues to desert
the earth
grain silo where there germinates and ripens what is most earth upon
the earth

My negritude is not a stone, its deafness heaved
against the clamor of day
my negritude is not a film of dead water on the dead eye
of earth
my negritude is neither a tower nor a cathedral
it delves into the red flesh of the soil
it delves into the burning flesh of the sky
it digs through the dark accretions that weigh down its righteous
patience.

Hurray for the majestic Cedrate!
Hurray for those who have never invented anything
for those who have never explored anything
for those who have never vanquished anything
but they surrender, possessed, to the essence of every thing
ignorant of surfaces but possessed by the movement
of every thing
unconcerned to vanquish, but playing the game of the world

truly the elder sons of the world
permeable to all the breaths of the world
fraternal compass points for all the breaths of the world
deep lake bed for all the waters of the world
spark of the sacred fire of the world
flesh of the very flesh of the world, palpitating with the very
movement of the world!
Foreday morning warm with ancestral values

Learn more about Journal of a Homecoming ⁄ Cahier d′un retour au pays natal.

Nationalism and Free Speech

The most recent issue of World Policy Journal, “Nationalism and Free Speech,” edited by Jessica Loudis, is now available.

m_ddwpj_35_1_coverIt’s rare right now to hear the terms “nationalism” and “free speech” outside the context of partisan politics, but these terms can provide entry points into how a country understands itself, and which legacies its citizens value—or conspicuously don’t. In this issue, contributors explore the mythologies that bind a nation and consider how societies around the world define themselves in terms of what citizens are—and aren’t—allowed to say and represent.

Topics include the novelist Yukio Mishima and the history of homosexuality in Japan, which has traditionally been accepted in practice, though not in law; the role of psychoanalysis in Argentina during and after its authoritarian regime; how Jamaica’s roots-reggae revival is a return to a tradition of musicians providing social commentary; and Britain’s New Age Traveler movement, a freewheeling 70s-era subculture whose impromptu festivals shaped the development of UK public-space laws.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

 

The Fiftieth Anniversary of May ’68

ddfhs_41_2_coverThe most recent special issue of French Historical Studies, “May ’68: New Approaches, New Perspectives,” edited by Donald Matthew Reid and Daniel J. Sherman, is now available.

This issue presents new directions in the study of the civil unrest in France during May 1968 on its fiftieth anniversary. Authors from France and the United States emphasize the nature and experience of the political upheaval in May 1968, the long-term cultural impacts of events in Paris, and the ways in which these events figure into a global context. Contributors offer new ways of understanding and interpreting the discord by focusing on the emotional and cultural resonance of the events of May 1968 in activism and popular culture. Other essays explore the relation of student activism in former French colonies to events in France, place the events of May 1968 in a global context by considering diplomatic and radical networks between Europe and the United States, and examine the cultural relationship between France and Germany.

Browse the table-of-contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

Also commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of 1968 is Susana Draper’s book 1968 Mexico: Constellations of Freedom and Democracy, forthcoming in August. Draper gives voice to de-emphasized contributors to the protest movement in Mexico—Marxist philosophers, political prisoners, and women—illustrating how many diverse voices inspired alternative forms of political participation.

Poem of the Week

978-0-8223-7147-2For the second week of National Poetry Month, we’re sharing an excerpt from David Grubbs’s new book-length prose poem Now that the audience is assembled. The poem, both a work of literature and a study of music, describes a fictional performance during which a musician improvises the construction of a series of invented instruments before an audience that is alternately contemplative, participatory, disputatious, and asleep.

 

The demonstration is scarcely completed when the composer places his instrument on the ground and turns to address the audience.

The musician cannot flip the switch quite so easily, and she rocks back and forth with an unprotesting expression, still cradling her instrument and inhabiting a different sphere while the composer, speaking through the page-turner, shares his take on this brief performance: It needs to be said that a duo performance is something other than this composition. Two is an insufficient number. Two performers suffice only to show the technique. The structure of the work is the invitation for multiple individuals to create and experience alterations on the basis of unforeseen encounters. It’s a pleasure to encounter you in this way (composer and page-turner both gesture toward the musician, who gives no indication that she’s listening) and to do so again and again and differently each time, but a duo performance has a melancholic desert-island quality. That of two survivors, and we need others. Composer and page-turner toe the edge of the lighted rectangle and peer into the darkness: Do we have volunteers?

The audience feigns sleep or slumbers on.

Thankfully the composer knows when to drop the direct address, and the offer is not repeated. There is no need to force participation. He gestures for musician and page-turner to follow him as he shuffles toward the upstage door that once again swings open. They disappear for several minutes into the unknown region.

When they return to the performance space, they come provisioned with a collection of ten bulky round objects, each thick with dust and wrapped in a maroon cloth and tied with a piece of canary-yellow nylon rope. They lean the wrapped objects against the wall in an arrangement based on descending order of size. The largest of the bundles matches the arm span of the page-turner; the smallest resembles a hubcap.

We’re going to try something different, announces the composer.

Learn more about Now that the audience is assembled.

David Grubbs’ Spring Tour For Now that the audience is assembled

978-0-8223-7147-2Musician and author David Grubbs will be touring this spring, discussing his new book Now that the audience is assembled at events in Chicago, DC, New York City, and Louisville.  Both a work of literature and a study of music, Grubbs’s new publication is a book-length prose poem that describes a fictional musical performance during which an unnamed musician improvises the construction of a series of invented instruments before an audience that is alternately contemplative, participatory, disputatious, and asleep. On this tour, not only will Grubbs be reading from his new book, but most of the events will also include a solo guitar performance.

 

Reading and Solo Guitar Performance
April 13, 6:00pm
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Reading and Solo Guitar Performance
April 14, 3:00pm
Corbett vs. Dempsey
1120 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Reading and Solo Guitar Performance
April 18, 9:00pm
Rhizome DC
6950 Maple St NW Washington, DC 20012

Reading and Solo Guitar Performance
April 19, TBA
The Red Room
425 E 31st Street, Baltimore MD 21218

Reading and Discussion with Mónica de la Torre
April 26, 6:30pm
Printed Matter
231 11th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Reading and Solo Guitar Performance
June 2, 3:30pm
KMAC
715 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202

Follow David Grubbs on Twitter to get updates about future events.

Poem of the Week

978-0-8223-7084-0It’s National Poetry Month, and we’re celebrating by sharing a poem with you each Wednesday in April! Today’s choice is from Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s brand-new poetry collection M Archive, which documents the persistence of Black life after an imagined worldwide cataclysm, told from the perspective of a future researcher uncovering evidence of the conditions of late capitalism, antiblackness, & environmental crisis.

 

this thing about one body. it was the black feminist metaphysicians who first said it wouldn’t be enough. never had been enough. was not the actual scale of breathing. they were the controversial priestesses who came out and said it in a way that people could understand (which is the same as saying they were the ones who said it in a way that the foolish would ignore, and then complain about and then co-opt without ever mentioning the black feminist metaphysicians again, like with intersectionality, but that’s another
apocalypse).

the Lorde of their understanding had taught them. this work began before I was born and it will continue . . .

the university taught them through its selective genocide. one body. the unitary body. one body was not a sustainable unit for the project at hand. the project itself being black feminist metaphysics. which is to say, breathing.

hindsight is everything (and also one of the key reasons that the individual body is not a workable unit of impact), but if the biochemists had diverted their energy towards this type of theoretical antioxidant around the time of the explicit emergence of this idea (let’s say the end of the second-to-last century), everything could have been different. if the environmentalists sampling the ozone had factored this in, the possibilities would have expanded exponentially.

that wouldn’t have happened (and of course we see that it didn’t) because of the primary incompatibility. the constitutive element of individualism being adverse, if not antithetical to the dark feminine, which is to say, everything.

to put it in tweetable terms, they believed they had to hate black women in order to be themselves.

even many of the black women believed it sometimes. (which is also to say that some of the people on the planet believed they themselves were actually other than black women. which was a false and impossible belief about origin. they were all, in their origin, maintenance, and measure of survival more parts black woman than anything else.) it was like saying they were no parts water. (which they must have believed as well. you can see what they did to the water.)

the problematic core construct was that in order to be sane, which is to live in one body, which is to live one lifetime at one time, which is to disconnect from the black simultaneity of the universe, you could and must deny black femininity. and somehow breathe. the fundamental fallacy being (obvious now. obscured at the time.) that there is no separation from the black simultaneity of the universe also known as everything also known as the black feminist pragmatic intergenerational sphere. everything is everything.

they thought escaping the dark feminine was the only way to earn breathing room in this life. they were wrong.

you can have breathing and the reality of the radical black porousness of love (aka black feminist metaphysics aka us all of us, us) or you cannot. there is only both or neither. there is no either or. there is no this or that. there is only all.

this was their downfall. they hated the black women who were themselves. a suicidal form of genocide. so that was it. they could only make the planet unbreathable.

Learn more about M Archive.

Author Events in April

April is a busy month for our authors. They’ll be speaking about their books around the US and we hope you can catch them at one of these great events.978-0-8223-7070-3

April 4: See The Rest of It author Martin Duberman reading from his new book at Book Culture.
7:00pm, 536 W 112th St., New YorkNY 10025

April 5: Brilliant Imperfection author Eli Clare will give a keynote at the White Privilege Conference.
8:00pm, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

April 5: Melanie S. Morrison will also be at the White Privilege Conference. She’ll be signing copies of her new book Murder on Shades Mountain at a Meet the Speakers panel and reception.
7:00pm, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

April 9: Vanderbilt University will host a lecture and book signing for Murder on Shades Mountain author Melanie S. Morrison.
4:30pm, Buttrick Hall, Room 102, 390 24th Avenue S., Nashville, TN 37212

April 12: The CUNY Graduate Center will host a talk with Lauren Berlant and Kathleen Stewart on their collaboration The Hundreds, forthcoming January 2019.
6:30pm, 1218: Segal Theatre, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

April 12: Murder on Shades Mountain author Melanie Morrison will read from her book at East Lansing Public Library.
6:00pm, 950 Abbot Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823

April 13: Seminary Co-op Bookstore will host an event with Now that the audience is assembled author David Grubbs.
6:00pm, 5751 S Woodlawn, Chicago, IL 60637

978-0-8223-7147-2April 14: Listen to David Grubbs play guitar and also read from his new book Now that the audience is assembled at Corbett vs. Dempsey.
3:00pm, 1120 N. Ashland Avenue, 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60622

April 15: The Poughkeepsie American Association of University Women will host a tea with The Communist and the Communist’s Daughter author Jane Lazarre.
2:30pm, The Links at Union Vale, 153 North Parliman Rd., LaGrangeville, NY 12540

April 15: Catch Melanie S. Morrison talk about her book Murder on Shades Mountain at the Salus Center.
1:30pm, 624 E Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI 48912

April 18: Now that the audience is assembled author David Grubbs will perform and sign copies of his book at Rhizome DC.
9:00pm, 6950 Maple St NW, Washington DC 20012

April 19: The Red Room will host another reading/performance with David Grubbs.
TBD, 425 East 31st Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

April 22: Sunday morning Murder on Shades Mountain author Melanie S. Morrison will talk at First Congregational Church.
11:00am, 1024 Center Street North, Birmingham, AL 35204

April 24: Melanie S. Morrison will talk about her book Murder on Shades Mountain at the Avondale Library as apart of their “Birmingham Bound” Series.
6:00pm, 509 40th Street S., Birmingham, AL 35222

April 26: Catch Grateful Nation author Ellen Moore talk about her book at University of Berkeley’s Social Research Library.
4:00pm, 227 Haviland Path #6000, Berkeley, CA 94720

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April 26: Get your signed copy of Murder on Shades Mountain when Melanie S. Morrison talks at Birmingham-Southern College.
11:00am, Harbert Bldg Auditorium, 900 Arkadelphia Rd., Birmingham, AL 35254

April 26: Rutgers University will host a book launch event for Jasbir Puar’s The Right to Maim.
4:00pm, Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Bldg, 162 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

April 29: Circle of Mercy hosts Melanie S. Morrison, who will give a sermon and sign copies of Murder on Shades Mountain.
5:00pm, 15 Overbrook Pl, Asheville, NC 28805

New Books in April

 April brings a fresh crop of great new books. Check out what we’re releasing this month.

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In Biblical Porn Jessica Johnson draws on a decade of fieldwork at Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church in Seattle to show how congregants became entangled in a process of religious conviction through which they embodied Driscoll’s teaching on gender and sexuality in ways that supported the church’s growth.

In Abject Performances Leticia Alvarado explores how Latino artists and cultural producers have developed and deployed an irreverent aesthetics of abjection to resist assimilation and disrupt respectability politics.

Matthew Vitz’s A City on a Lake outlines the environmental history and politics of Mexico City as it transformed its original forested, water-rich environment into a smog-infested megacity, showing how the scientific and political disputes over water policy, housing, forestry, and sanitary engineering led to the city’s unequal urbanization and environmental decline.

In Domesticating Democracy Susan Helen Ellison offers an ethnography of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) organizations in El Alto, Bolivia, showing that by helping residents cope with their interpersonal disputes and economic troubles how they change the ways Bolivians interact with the state and global capitalism, making them into self-reliant citizens.

978-0-8223-7081-9.jpgKatherine Verdery’s My Life as a Spy analyzes the 2,781 page surveillance file the Romanian secret police compiled on her during her research trips to Transylvania in the 1970s and 1980s. Reading it led her to question her identity and also revealed how deeply the secret police was embedded in everyday life.

 In Edges of Exposure, following Senegalese toxicologists as they struggle to keep equipment, labs, and projects operating, Noémi Tousignant explores the impact of insufficient investments in scientific capacity in postcolonial Africa.

 

Examining human rights discourse from the French Revolution to the present, in Human Rights and the Care of the Self Alexandre Lefebvre turns common assumptions about human rights—that its main purpose is to enable, protect, and care for those in need—on their heads, showing how the value of human rights lies in its support of ethical self-care.

Gay PrioriLibby Adler’s Gay Priori offers a comprehensive critique of the mainstream LGBT legal agenda in the United States, showing how LGBT equal rights discourse drives legal advocates toward a narrow array of reform objectives that do little to help the lives of the most marginalized members of the LGBT community.

In From the Tricontinental to the Global South Anne Garland Mahler traces the history and intellectual legacy of the understudied global justice movement called the Tricontinental and calls for a revival of the Tricontinental’s politics as a means to strengthen racial justice and anti-neoliberal struggles in the twenty-first-century.

Aimee Bahng’s Migrant Futures traces the cultural production of futurity by juxtaposing the practices of speculative finance against those of speculative fiction, showing how speculative novels, films, and narratives create alternative futures that envision the potential for new political economies, social structures, and subjectivities that exceed the framework of capitalism.

A Primer for Teaching Environmental History, by Emily Wakild and Michelle K. Berry, is a guide for college and high school teachers who are teaching environmental history for the first time, for experienced teachers who want to reinvigorate their courses, for those who are training future teachers to prepare their own syllabi, and for teachers who want to incorporate environmental history into their world history courses. The book is part of a new series, Design Principles for Teaching History.

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