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In the Nature of Things

Language, Politics, and the Environment

1993

Jane Bennett and William Chaloupka, editors

In the Nature of Things

Contributors include R. McGreggor Cawley, Romand Coles, William E. Connolly, Jan E. Dizard, Valerie Hartouni, Cheri Lucas Jennings, Bruce H. Jennings, Timothy W. Luke, Shane Phelan, John Rodman, Michael J. Shapiro, and Wade Sikorski.

Contributors include R. McGreggor Cawley, Romand Coles, William E. Connolly, Jan E. Dizard, Valerie Hartouni, Cheri Lucas Jennings, Bruce H. Jennings, Timothy W. Luke, Shane Phelan, John Rodman, Michael J. Shapiro, and Wade Sikorski.

Beginning with the prospect of eating a TV dinner or shopping in an organic food store, this important collection of essays explores the many contested meanings of nature in contemporary Western discourses. Drawing on a wonderful array of popular, political, and scientific locations an practices, the essays examine how and why the distinction between nature and culture, which has grounded both management and holist positions on the environment, has eroded. The essays foreground the complex implications for environmental politics when nature can function neither as raw resource nor as transcendent ideal. Informed by notions of rhetoric and discourse, the essays collectively ask how the stakes in what can account as nature at the end of the twentieth century are worked out for different actors in the contentious, worldly practices of green consumerism, wilderness preservation, genetic technologies, political theory, science fiction films and fiction, agrarian research and pesticide use, post-colonial and anti-racist social movements, and the new story-telling strategies in science studies. In the Nature of Things is an indispensable map of emerging formations in the new worlds of nature and artifact called the environment.

Donna Haraway, professor of History, U of Santa Cruz

Informed by recent developments in literary criticism and social theory, In the Nature of Things addresses the presumption that nature exists independent of culture and, in particular, of language. The theoretical approaches of the contributors represent both modernist and postmodernist positions, including feminist theory, critical theory, Marxism, science fiction, theology, and botany. They demonstrate how the concept of nature is invoked and constituted in a wide range of cultural projects—from the Bible to science fiction movies, from hunting to green consumerism. Ultimately, it weeks to link the work of theorists concerned with nature and the environment to nontheorists who share similar concerns.

Contributors include R. McGreggor Cawley, Romand Coles, William E. Connolly, Jan E. Dizard, Valerie Hartouni, Cheri Lucas Jennings, Bruce H. Jennings, Timothy W. Luke, Shane Phelan, John Rodman, Michael J. Shapiro, and Wade Sikorski.

In the Nature of Things

Jane Bennett is associate professor of politics at Goucher College. Her works include Unthinking Faith and Enlightenment and articles that explore the relationship between literary and theoretical portrayals of contemporary political issues.

William Chaloupka teaches American politics and political theory at the University of Montana. He is the author of Knowing Nukes: The Politics and Culture of the Atom (Minnesota, 1992).

In the Nature of Things

Beginning with the prospect of eating a TV dinner or shopping in an organic food store, this important collection of essays explores the many contested meanings of nature in contemporary Western discourses. Drawing on a wonderful array of popular, political, and scientific locations an practices, the essays examine how and why the distinction between nature and culture, which has grounded both management and holist positions on the environment, has eroded. The essays foreground the complex implications for environmental politics when nature can function neither as raw resource nor as transcendent ideal. Informed by notions of rhetoric and discourse, the essays collectively ask how the stakes in what can account as nature at the end of the twentieth century are worked out for different actors in the contentious, worldly practices of green consumerism, wilderness preservation, genetic technologies, political theory, science fiction films and fiction, agrarian research and pesticide use, post-colonial and anti-racist social movements, and the new story-telling strategies in science studies. In the Nature of Things is an indispensable map of emerging formations in the new worlds of nature and artifact called the environment.

Donna Haraway, professor of History, U of Santa Cruz