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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the scholarship on work, nature, and environmental history, with emphasis on the United States. It begins with Raymond Williams’s damning critique of the conjoined exploitation of working people and the natural world in The Country and the City (1973) and “Ideas of Nature” (1980). It then looks at historians’ integration of labor history into environmental history and the many questions they have posed about the long-overlooked relationships between work, workers, and the working classes, as well as the ideological, material, social, and political dimensions of nature. It explores the influential studies of scholars concerning the social and political dynamics that shaped the workscapes of Native Americans, the plantation landscapes of African Americans, and the agricultural and industrial workscapes of the post-Civil War US. Finally, it discusses scholarship devoted to the political ecology of class in general and to rectifying the long-standing omission of working people from histories of environmental politics in particular.

Keywords: work, nature, environmental history, United States, Raymond Williams, labor history, workscapes, political ecology, class, environmental politics

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