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After the Flood

Imagining the Global Environment in Early Modern Europe

Lydia Barnett

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How the story of Noah's Flood was central to the development of a global environmental consciousness in early modern Europe.

Winner of the Morris D. Forkosch Prize by the Journal of the History of Ideas, Kenshur Prize by the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Indiana University

Many centuries before the emergence of the scientific consensus on climate change, people began to imagine the existence of a global environment: a natural system capable of changing humans and of being changed by them. In After the Flood, Lydia Barnett traces the history of this idea back to the early modern period…

How the story of Noah's Flood was central to the development of a global environmental consciousness in early modern Europe.

Winner of the Morris D. Forkosch Prize by the Journal of the History of Ideas, Kenshur Prize by the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Indiana University

Many centuries before the emergence of the scientific consensus on climate change, people began to imagine the existence of a global environment: a natural system capable of changing humans and of being changed by them. In After the Flood, Lydia Barnett traces the history of this idea back to the early modern period, when the Scientific Revolution, the Reformations, the Little Ice Age, and the overseas expansion of European empire, religion, and commerce gave rise to new ideas about nature, humanity, and their intersecting histories.

Recovering a forgotten episode in the history of environmental thought, Barnett brings to light the crucial role of religious faith and conflict in the emergence of a global environmental consciousness. Following Noah's Flood as a popular topic of debate through long-distance networks of knowledge from the late sixteenth through the early eighteenth centuries, Barnett reveals how early modern earth and environmental sciences were shaped by gender, evangelism, empire, race, and nation.

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After the Flood

Lydia Barnett

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Reviews

An incisive and thorough examination of how complex, natural philosophical discourse developed around Noah's Flood in the early modern period. This is cultural and intellectual history at its best, and it should attract a wide readership.

Nuanced and beautifully crafted. After the Flood reveals the surprisingly long history of the idea that humanity is capable of transforming nature on a global scale—an idea commonly assumed to be a twenty-first-century insight. Making use of an impressive range of archival sources, Barnett's scholarship is original, wide-ranging, and erudite.

In this dazzlingly original and deeply researched book, Lydia Barnett demonstrates how debates in early modern Europe about the causes of the Deluge stimulated arguments about anthropogenic climate change. This is a major contribution to the growing literature on the historical roots of the Anthropocene. It is also an important reminder that the religious imagination grappled with planetary scale long before the advent of earth system science.

Laying waste to received environmental ideas, After the Flood delivers a strikingly original account of a seemingly recent notion: that humans are responsible for the earth's destruction. This extraordinary book weaves together imperial expeditions, theological wars, and early scientific networks to rediscover the natural and human history of a vulnerable planet.

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Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
264
ISBN
9781421445274
Illustration Description
11 halftones
Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction. A Natural History of Sin
Chapter One. Before the Flood: Gender, Embodied Sin, and Environmental Agency
Chapter Two. After the Flood: Biblical Monogenism

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction. A Natural History of Sin
Chapter One. Before the Flood: Gender, Embodied Sin, and Environmental Agency
Chapter Two. After the Flood: Biblical Monogenism, Global Migrations, and the Origins of Scientific Racism
Chapter Three. Protestant Climate Change: From Edenocene to Fallocene
Chapter Four. The Flood and the Apocalypse: Building the Republic of Letters
Chapter Five. Catholic Climate Change: Heritable Sin and Strategies of Toleration
Epilogue. The Flood Subsides
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Resources

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