Nature, Environment, and Landscape

William Cronon is responsible for some of the most remarkable ‘boundary spanning,’ spatially engaged scholarship. Today, Cronon holds a professorship in history, geography, and environmental studies – a most telling combination of disciplines. Cronon’s 1983 book Changes in the Land became one of the early classics of environmental history. This field emerged as a self-conscious field during the 1970s in North America, where it remains particularly strong.64 The book explores the ecological impact of Native Americans and colonists on New England. At an early stage in the evolution of his research programme, Cronon warned against a common depiction of the relationship between humanity and nature. As he put it: ‘The choice is not between two landscapes, one with and one without a human influence; it is between two human ways of living, two ways of belonging to an ecosystem.’65

This quotation hints at the three conceptual directions which guide Cronon’s book. First, he critiques depictions of a formerly primeval natural landscape in New England, blissfully separate from human influence. Such depictions can be found in the work of early colonists, through to Henry David Thoreau, and even today, they continue to be drawn. Second, Cronon demonstrates how certain conceptualisations of the land were fundamental to understanding change – both in the land itself, and in the communities that interacted with it. These conceptualisations included, for example, ideas about bounded property, or differing systems of usage rights. Finally, Cronon’s book reveals how these changes about their mutually inhabited spaces both conditioned and were themselves produced by the evolving relationship between Native Americans and colonists.

Cronon’s 1983 classic highlights two key ingredients for the practice of spatial history. First, it is marked by an understanding of space which does not permit a clear segregation of its material and conceptual aspects. Second, we see an exploration of cultural practices as both constrained by, and productive sources of change in, the land due to the interaction of human and non-human actors. Cronon would go on to refine and sharpen his arguments in a famous 1995 article on ‘the trouble with wilderness’ – namely, the ‘dualistic vision’ which presented the wilderness of pristine nature as distinct from human intervention. This concept suggests a divide between humanity and nature which, Cronon argued, is misleading. This ‘landscape of authenticity,’ he clarified, constitutes an attempt to ‘escape’ from history, a history that includes the development of cultures of the sublime and romantic primitivism.66

The way in which we perceive nature and the wilderness is loaded with consequences. Not the least of these consequences is the impact on Indigenous communities which are displaced in the name of conservation.67 It also, however, lays a foundation for our broader relationship with the world around us. In The Death of Nature (1980), Carolyn Merchant, another key early figure in the field of environmental history, explored the impact of changing gendered perceptions of nature: from the image of a nurturing mother earth that represents an organic order towards one of a mechanistic order with nature depicted as a woman who is disorderly, insolent, and corrupting.68 Building on this work in her Reinventing Eden (2003), Merchant offered a history of ‘recovery narratives’ that have attempted to recreate the lost garden of paradise by locating this utopian space in the here and now.69

The contradictions between imperatives of conservation and restoration, as well as critiques of the language of conquest and domination over nature, are a central recurring theme in the literature of environmental history. In fact, these tendencies parallel the process by which spaces acquire or lose their status as ‘natural.’ In Conquest of Nature (2006), for example, David Blackbourn focuses on modern German history to trace recurring attempts at ‘internal conquest.’ These have comprised the draining of ‘disorderly’ marshlands, the ‘taming’ of rivers, and the construction of dams. Blackbourn’s book lays bare the tragic, often unintended consequences of engineers trying to ‘fix’ nature or impose ‘order’ on it.70 Nancy Langston has pointed in a similar direction in her history of the riparian realm – spaces where land and water combine – of the Malheur Lake Basin in Oregon. As she argues in Where Land and Water Meet (2003), wilderness restoration efforts in this region gave rise to an ‘empire of ducks.’ This was the consequence of favouring one species within a complex ecosystem, as drained wetlands were reflooded to restore ducks’ breeding areas.71 Clearly, conflicts between visions for the protection of natural or ‘wild’ spaces, and not merely between conservation and other human uses of the land, play out in many changing landscapes.

This concept of a ‘landscape’ is employed in all the works of environmental history mentioned above and is a key term for spatial history.72 It is one of the most elusive but also ‘boundary spanning’ of concepts. It has deep roots in the disciplines of geography and art history, and it is widely embraced in anthropology, architecture, urban studies, history, and literary studies. That said, and as Tim Cresswell has pointed out, it is also a concept heavily ‘burdened with its own history – too fixed on origins.’73 To ask what the term ‘landscape’ means, one must usually contend with the multiple accounts of its lineage. The long view can lead back through the history of landscape art to Renaissance culture and the aesthetics of linear perspective. Alternatively, as Kenneth Olwig has argued, it could proceed via German and Danish conceptions of territory and community.74 A shorter history of its embrace by geographers might focus on a number of key figures who cast long shadows over the literature, each with very distinct perspectives: Paul Vidal de la Blache (1845-1918), Friedrich Ratzel (1844-1904), Carl Ortwin Sauer (1889-1975), W. G. Hoskins (1908-1992), and J. B. Jackson (1909-1996).75

Since the 1970s, historians who have embraced landscape as their primary spatial concept have tended to borrow from three approaches developed by geographers. The first of these approaches draws on an argument famously articulated by Denis Cosgrove in his book Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape (1984). Cosgrove conceptualises landscapes as a way of seeing one’s surroundings. This perceptual pattern is in fact the product of a particular historical moment – Renaissance Europe – and a set of changing economic and social relations.76 In publications spanning most of his career, Cosgrove used vision as the means to explore historical terrain. He often did this through close analysis of visual sources, from art to architectural drawings and cartography.77

A second approach holds that a landscape, in the form of rural and urban environments, constitutes a ‘signifying system’ that may be read like a text. This is most clearly articulated in the article ‘(Re)Reading the Landscape’ by James and Nancy Duncan, and in The City as Text (1990) by James Duncan.78 These contributions draw on a range of tools from literary analysis. They show that a discourse about a landscape may be ‘denaturalised’ through an analysis of its rhetorical features. These include tropes such as allegory, synecdoche and metonymy, and the ‘intertextuality’ represented by the relationship between a landscape discourse and both other texts and social practices.79 For the historian, the overriding goal of such an analysis is to better understand the dominant ideologies and the cultural relationships of power within a given society. In The Reformation of the Landscape (2012), moreover, Alexandra Walsham has shown how writers in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Britain and Ireland themselves thought of the landscape as a text, and as a system of symbols, which might be decoded.80

A third conceptual tool comprises a phenomenological approach which emphasises the embedded nature of humanity in a landscape that is produced by experience and practice. This tendency has come in two separate waves. The first of these waves came during the 1970s in the work of ‘humanistic’ geographers. Edward Relph, for example, framed landscape as ‘the visual contexts of daily existence.’81 Similarly, Yi-Fu Tuan saw landscape as an ‘ordering of reality’ undertaken by a subject located within that very landscape – to inevitably combine the objective and subjective ‘through an effort of the imagination exercised over a highly selected array of sense data.’82

A further wave of phenomenological approaches to landscapes was evident in the work of social anthropologist Tim Ingold, and in the work of archaeologist Christopher Tilley, who built on Ingold’s contributions.83 Ingold critiqued the ‘insistent dualism’ of object and subject. This was, he argued, implicit in Cosgrove’s visual metaphor, and even in Tuan’s depiction of the landscape as something found within the mind.84 Instead, Ingold draws on the metaphor of ‘weaving,’ or a ‘movement of incorporation’ of our practices and our environment. Against this background, the landscape is seen as ‘a pattern of activities “collapsed” into an array of features.’85 These collapsed ‘features’ are not merely physical objects we might point to, nor are they a network of distinct places linked together in a path of cumulative experiences. After all, we may see the landscape as a whole in any given place. This is because landscape’s describable features are ‘woven’ into the product of cumulative human activity, which Ingold refers to as the ‘taskscape.’ Landscape is thus an aggregation neither of elements ‘out there,’ nor of the floating strands of memory and imagined space assembled in the mind.

The art historian W. J. T. Mitchell has shown himself to be similarly concerned with cultural practice. In his introduction to Landscape and Power (1994), Mitchell proposed that the word ‘landscape’ could meaningfully be changed ‘from a noun to a verb.’ He asked ‘that we think of landscape, not as an object to be seen or a text to be read, but as a process by which social and subjective identities are formed.’86

David Matless is one of many geographers to have taken their cue from Mitchell. In his book Landscape and Englishness (1998), Matless draws on an evolving senses of Englishness between 1918 to the 1950s to show how landscape ‘shuttles through temporal processes of history and memory.’87 He analyses the history of two contrasting visions of the relationship between landscape and English identity: an emerging doctrine of preservation allied with modernism, and a separate counter-current of an organic England focused on soil and authority. However, Matless’ approach is most distinguished by its combination of two separate intellectual moves. First, his book offers an analysis of discourses around the landscape in images and text. At the same time, it provides a history of the practices that formed these landscapes through lived experience. And so we encounter rural ramblers, conservative Scouts, and socialist Woodcraft Folk in motion across the moorland, or an organicist expanding humus production in the countryside.88 These are all important components of the formation of ‘cultures of landscape’ – and certainly as important as any laudatory account of these practices from a distance at some fixed moment in time.

Elsewhere in historical writing, landscapes are often closely associated with a more or less clearly articulated spatial imaginary. One example is the hugely capacious German concept of Heimat, or homeland. Tracing this idea across time reveals it as the product of contestation among individuals and institutions, or in everyday practice. This is certainly not conducive to a static view, and it necessitates a focus on what these landscapes are ‘doing.’ Celia Applegate argues that the utility of Heimat has been ‘its capacity to obscure any chasms between small local worlds and the larger ones to which the locality belonged.’89 That said, the concept has not proven infinitely flexible. Frank Uekötter has examined the history of Heimat and its place in landscape protection campaigns during the Nazi period and argues that the concept’s deployment by the Nazi state was severely limited by its diffuse and persistently regional, as opposed to merely national, resonances.90

Landscapes feature prominently in the history of colonial spaces. This is not only because of what can be found in such spaces, but also what is missing from them. In Mary Louise Pratt’s Imperial Eyes (1992), we see how travellers ‘naturalized’ the African landscape in their accounts: ‘Where, one asks, is everybody?’91 Similarly, David Hughes shows how white settlers in Zimbabwe ‘imagine[d] the natives away’ in their early attempts to negotiate an identity with the land.92 David Arnold’s Tropics and the Traveling Gaze (2006) drew explicitly on Carter’s Road to Botany Bay (1987) in describing itself as a work of spatial history. This book embraces Pratt’s focus on the ‘ocular authority of the traveller’ and identifies two evolving European ways of seeing the Indian landscape – one romantic and one scientific – which together constituted expressions of ‘tropicality.’93 The geographical imaginary described by Said’s ‘Orientalism’ situates a particular space – the ‘Orient’ – within a stagnant temporal frame by means of its views on culture. Conversely, Arnold suggests that ‘tropicality’ is a better way to capture the equally essentialized approach to the diverse Indian landscape as ‘warm, fecund, luxuriant, paradisiacal and pestilential.’94

In contrast to the landscapes described in European travel literature or in paintings, other historians have adapted the concept to capture Indigenous perspectives. Notable here is Jan Bender Shetler’s Imagining Serengeti (2007), a history of the ‘memory landscape’ of the western Serengeti in Tanzania. Shetler develops a unique methodology for the ‘spatial analysis of oral tradition.’ This aims to reconnect ‘core images’ in the memories of the region’s peoples to the places and spatial practices in and around today’s Serengeti National Park.95 The approach goes well beyond transcription and analysis of an oral record, as Shetler follows the Serengeti peoples to the places featured in their images of the past. The result is a powerful account which traces the creation of the famous nature park. This is often depicted as one of the world’s wildest spaces. In fact, it has merely erased the human from its history.

Nature’s Metropolis

Let us take a closer look at one of the key works which aptly exemplifies many of these theoretical reflections. Between the publication of Changes in the Land in 1983 and ‘The Trouble with Wilderness’ in 1995, William Cronon wrote the award-winning work Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (1991). It exhibits a deep and explicit engagement with space. Cronon describes his book as a ‘series of stories, each tracing the path between an urban market and natural systems that supply it.’ But this does not do justice to the ambition of the work.96 Cronon explores the writings of ‘boosters,’ authors of promotional literature who sought to establish Chicago’s position as a great ‘Central City’ at the heart of America. He goes on to recount the development of canal and rail networks that tied the city to its hinterland and Eastern markets. He also includes chapters on grain, lumber, and meat markets, debt networks, supplying retail merchants, as well as the 1893 Columbian Exposition. The chapters abound with microhistories. We learn of the rise of grain elevators, meat disassembly lines, and mail order catalogues, among other things. But the chapters serve a broader purpose of capturing an interconnected series of relationships, all of which are tied to questions of spatial import.

The spatial aspects of Cronon’s book can be seen most clearly in three areas. First, the book repeatedly engages with perceptions of Chicago that alternatively see it as part of, or separate from, its surrounding environment. Throughout the book, ‘nature’ is a flexible metaphor deployed in multiple ways by a range of figures. For example, farmers or other visitors to the city – including Cronon when he was a child – depict nature as ‘a nonhuman creation damaged and endangered’ by the city. Others, however, invoke nature as a ‘nonhuman power which called this place into being and enabled its heroic inhabitants to perform their extraordinary feats.’97 This is what Cronon would later refer to as ‘nature as moral imperative,’ an inexorable hand of fate leaving no room for alternative outcomes.98

Secondly, the book’s various case studies expose the wholly illusory nature of a division between rural and urban landscapes. Instead, these become single, completely interdependent systems. They are ‘not two places but one. They created each other, they transformed each other’s environments and economies, and they now depend on each other for their very survival.’99 We are presented with a process of abstraction. This emerges through the transformation of grain into liquid gold, detached from any connection to a specific farmer and their field, or refrigerated beef detached in time and space from its traditional seasonal availability and point of origin. This is redolent of what Marx called an ‘annihilation of space,’ but also of nature: ‘Meat was a neatly wrapped package one bought at the market. Nature did not have much to do with it.’100

Finally, Nature’s Metropolis plays with the ironic contradictions which inevitably arise when we are confronted by the striking centrality of the assumedly peripheral. Chicago, for example, was both at the centre and on the edge. Cronon shows how Chicago necessitates an inverse reading of Frederick Jackson Turner famous frontier thesis. Turner envisioned a gradual ‘disintegration of savagery’ on the margins of pioneer conquest. Instead, we find that the explosive growth of a new ‘central’ metropolis provides the opening chapter of a developmental story, rather than its triumphal conclusion.101

Overall, the concept of space draws together the component elements of Nature’s Metropolis – not unlike the tangle of railways flowing into the ‘central’ city of Chicago. The economic, environmental, and intellectual history facets of the work each contribute to a holistic understanding of the contradictory and evolving conceptions of nature and frontier that it so illuminatingly explores.

  1. William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, New York: Hill and Wang, 2003, first published 1983; for alternative perspectives on the origins of the field beyond North America, see Richard H. Grove, ‘Environmental History,’ in Peter Burke (ed.), New Perspectives in Historical Writing, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Polity, 2001, first published 1991, pp. 261-82; J.R. McNeill, ‘Observations on the Nature and Culture of Environmental History,’ History and Theory 42 (Theme Issue), 2003, 5-43; for an overview of the field, see Andrew C. Isenberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Environmental History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017; and J. Donald Hughes, What is Environmental History?, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Polity, 2016; for a concise introduction see John Morgan, ‘Environmental History,’ in Sasha Handley, Rohan McWilliam and Lucy Noakes (eds.), New Directions in Social and Cultural History, London: Bloomsbury, 2018, pp. 213-31.↩︎

  2. Cronon, Changes in the Land, p. 12.↩︎

  3. William Cronon, ‘The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature,’ in id. (ed.), Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, New York: W.W. Norton, 1995, 69-90, here

    p. 80. For an overview of some of the debates around this see J. Baird Callicott and Michael P. Nelson (eds.), The Great New Wilderness Debate, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998; id. (eds.), The Wilderness Debate Rages On: Continuing the Great New Wilderness Debate, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008; Donald Worster, ‘Seeing Beyond Culture,’ The Journal of American History 76, 1990, 1142-7; as well as the responses to Cronon in the very first issue of Environmental History 1/1, 1996.↩︎

  4. For examples see Mark David Spence, Dispossessing the Wilderness: Indian Removal and the Making of the National Parks, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000; Jane Carruthers, The Kruger National Park: A Social and Political History, Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1995; Roderick P. Neumann, Imposing Wilderness: Struggles Over Livelihood and Nature Preservation in Africa, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998; and Jan Bender Shetler, Imagining Serengeti: A History of Landscape Memory in Tanzania from Earliest Times to the Present, Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.↩︎

  5. Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution, New York: Harper & Row, 1980, p. 133.↩︎

  6. id., Reinventing Eden: The Fate of Nature in Western Culture, New York: Routledge, 2003; for examples of exploring close relationship between conceptions of nature and material consequences in a non-Western context, see Julia Adeney Thomas, Reconfiguring Modernity: Concepts of Nature in Japanese Political Ideology, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001; Judith Shapiro, Mao’s War against Nature: Politics and the Environment in Revolutionary China, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001; and Jonathan Schlesinger, A World Trimmed with Fur: Wild Things, Pristine Places, and the Natural Fringes of Qing Rule, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2017.↩︎

  7. David Blackbourn, The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape and the Making of Modern Germany, London: Jonathan Cape, 2006, p. 13. Sticking with work on engineering water, see also Richard White, The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River, New York: Hill and Wang, 1995; Chris Courtney, The Nature of Disaster in China: The 1931 Yangzi River Flood, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018; Maya K. Peterson, Pipe Dreams: Water and Empire in Central Asia’s Aral Sea Basin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020; Alan Mikhail, Nature and Empire in Ottoman Egypt: An Environmental History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011; Dilip da Cunha, The Invention of Rivers: Alexander’s Eye and Ganga’s Descent, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019; Julia Obertreis, Imperial Desert Dreams: Cotton Growing and Irrigation in Central Asia, 1860–1991, Göttingen: V&R Unipress, 2017; Nicholas B. Breyfogle (ed.), Eurasian Environments: Nature and Ecology in Imperial Russian and Soviet History, Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018; see also the chapter by Mark Harris in Bavaj, Lawson and Struck (eds.), Doing Spatial History.↩︎

  8. Nancy Langston, Where Land and Water Meet: A Western Landscape Transformed, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2003; see also Fredrik Albritton Jonsson, Enlightenment’s Frontier: The Scottish Highlands and the Origins of Environmentalism, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.↩︎

  9. See also the chapter by Sherry Olson and Peter Holland in Bavaj, Lawson and Struck (eds.), Doing Spatial History.↩︎

  10. Tim Cresswell, ‘Landscape and the Obliteration of Practice,’ in Kay Anderson et al. (eds.), Handbook of Cultural Geography, London: Sage, 2003, p. 269.↩︎

  11. See Denis E. Cosgrove, Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape, with a new introduction, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1998, first published 1984, for the former; see Kenneth R. Olwig, ‘Recovering the Substantive Nature of Landscape,’ Annals of the Association of American Geographers 86, 1996, 630–53, for a short account of the latter.↩︎

  12. For a survey, see John Wylie, Landscape, London and New York: Routledge, 2007; Matthew Johnson, Ideas of Landscape, Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2007; and the shorter overview by Veronica della Dora, ‘Landscape and History,’ in Mona Domosh, Michael Heffernan and Charles W.J. Withers (eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Historical Geography, vol. 1, London: Sage, 2020, pp. 121-42.↩︎

  13. Cosgrove, Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape, p. 1; see also id., The Palladian Landscape: Geographical Change and Its Cultural Representations in Sixteenth-Century Italy, Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1993. Compare with the introduction by Cosgrove and Daniels in Denis Cosgrove and Stephen Daniels (eds.), The Iconography of Landscape: Essays on the Symbolic Representation, Design and Use of Past Environments, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988, pp. 1-10; for an important feminist critique of the visual gaze in the study of landscapes see Gillian Rose, Feminism and Geography: The Limits of Geographical Knowledge, Cambridge: Polity, 1993, pp. 86-112.↩︎

  14. See, for example, the essay collection by Denis Cosgrove, Geography and Vision: Seeing, Imagining and Representing the World, London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2008. This approach continues to inspire innovative work, including Nobuko Toyosawa, Imaginative Mapping: Landscape and Japanese Identity in the Tokugawa and Meiji Eras, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2019.↩︎

  15. Nancy Duncan and James Duncan, ‘(Re)Reading the Landscape,’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 6/2, 1988, 117–26.↩︎

  16. James S. Duncan, The City as Text: The Politics of Landscape Interpretation in the Kandyan Kingdom, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 15-24.↩︎

  17. Alexandra Walsham The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identity, and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 5-6.↩︎

  18. Edward Relph, The Modern Urban Landscape, London: Croom Helm, 1987, p. 3; see also his earlier id., Place and Placelessness, London: Pion, 1976; and id., Rational Landscapes and Humanistic Geography, London: Croom Helm, 1981.↩︎

  19. Yi-Fu Tuan, ‘Thought and Landscape: The Eye and the Mind’s Eye,’ in D.W. Meinig (ed.), The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes: Geographical Essays, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979, pp. 89-102, here p. 90; see also id., Landscapes of Fear, New York: Pantheon Books, 1979.↩︎

  20. See Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill, London: Routledge, 2000, esp. ch. 3: ‘Hunting and gathering as ways of perceiving the environment,’ and chapter 11: ‘The temporality of the landscape’; see also Christopher Tilley, A Phenomenology of Landscape: Places, Paths and Monuments, Oxford: Berg, 1994; Wylie, Landscape, pp. 139-86; for an example of work inspired by Ingold’s approach, see Fei Huang, Reshaping the Frontier Landscape: Dongchuan in Eighteenth-Century Southwest China, Leiden: Brill, 2018.↩︎

  21. Ingold, Perception of the Environment, pp. 190-3.↩︎

  22. Ibid., p. 198.↩︎

  23. W. J. T. Mitchell (ed.), Landscape and Power, 2nd ed., Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2002, first published 1994, p. 1; see also the chapter by Dawn Hollis in Bavaj, Lawson and Struck (eds.), Doing Spatial History.↩︎

  24. David Matless, Landscape and Englishness, London: Reaktion, 1998, pp. 13-14; for the ‘long nineteenth century,’ see Paul Readman, Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018; the ‘multi-vocality of landscape’ is teased out in a more recent book by David Matless, In the Nature of Landscape: Cultural Geography on the Norfolk Broads, Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2014.↩︎

  25. Matless, Landscape and Englishness, pp. 70-9, 106-7.↩︎

  26. Celia Applegate, A Nation of Provincials: The German Idea of Heimat, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990, p. 10.↩︎

  27. Frank Uekötter, The Green and the Brown: A History of Conservation in Nazi Germany, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 20; see also Alon Confino, The Nation as a Local Metaphor: Württemberg, Imperial Germany, and National Memory, 1871-1918, Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1997; Elizabeth Boa and Rachel Palfreyman, Heimat – A German Dream: Regional Loyalties and National Identity in German Culture, 1890-1990, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000; Thomas M. Lekan, Imagining the Nation in Nature: Landscape Preservation and German Identity 1885-1945, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004; Thomas Zeller, Driving Germany: The Landscape of the German Autobahn, 1930-1970, Oxford: Berghahn, 2007; and Friederike Eigler, ‘Critical Approaches to “Heimat” and the “Spatial Turn,”’ New German Critique 115, 2012, 27–48.↩︎

  28. Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, London and New York: Routledge, 1992; for the way colonial landscapes are gendered, see also Sara Mills, Gender and Colonial Space, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005.↩︎

  29. David McDermott Hughes, Whiteness in Zimbabwe: Race, Landscape, and the Problem of Belonging, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, p. xii; see also William M. Adams and Martin Mulligan (eds.), Decolonizing Nature: Strategies for Conservation in a Post-Colonial Era, London: Earthscan Publications, 2003.↩︎

  30. David Arnold, The Tropics and the Traveling Gaze: India, Landscape, and Science, 1800-1856, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2006, pp. 3, 24; on tropicality see also Gavin Bowd and Daniel Clayton, Impure and Worldly Geography: Pierre Gourou and Tropicality, London and New York: Routledge, 2019; Alan Bewell, Romanticism and Colonial Disease, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999; Jiat-Hwee Chang, A Genealogy of Tropical Architecture: Colonial Networks, Nature and Technoscience, London and New York: Routledge, 2016; Felix Driver and Luciana Martins, Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2005; Nancy Leys Stepan, Picturing Tropical Nature, London: Reaktion, 2001. Tropicality is also tied closely to the environmental politics of empire. See Corey Ross, Ecology and Power in the Age of Empire: Europe and the Transformation of the Tropical World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017; Richard H. Grove, Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens, and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995; Peder Anker, Imperial Ecology: Environmental Order in the British Empire, 1895-1945, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001; David Arnold and Ramachandra Guha (eds.), Nature, Culture, Imperialism: Essays on the Environmental History of South Asia, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.↩︎

  31. Arnold, Tropics and the Traveling Gaze, p. 7.↩︎

  32. Shetler, Imagining Serengeti, pp. 18-25; on African landscapes see also David William Cohen and E. S. Atieno Odhiambo, Siaya: The Historical Anthropology of an African Landscape, London: Currey, 1989; Ute Luig and Achim von Oppen, ‘Landscape in Africa: Process and Vision,’ Paideuma 43, 1997, 7–45; Alison Blunt, Travel, Gender, and Imperialism: Mary Kingsley and West Africa, New York: Guilford Press, 1994; Melissa Leach and Robin Mearns, The Lie of the Land: Challenging Received Wisdom on the African Environment, Oxford: International African Institute, 1996; Howard and Shain (eds.), The Spatial Factor in African History.↩︎

  33. William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West, New York: W.W. Norton, 1991, p. xv.↩︎

  34. Ibid., p. 14.↩︎

  35. William Cronon, ‘Introduction,’ in id. (ed.), Uncommon Ground, p. 36.↩︎

  36. Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis, p. 384.↩︎

  37. Ibid., p. 257.↩︎

  38. Ibid., p. 32.↩︎