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Santa Bárbara’s Legacy

An Environmental History of Huancavelica, Peru

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Nicholas A. Robins

In Santa Bárbara’s Legacy: An Environmental History of Huancavelica, Peru, Nicholas A. Robins presents the first comprehensive environmental history of a mercury producing region in Latin America. Tracing the origins, rise and decline of the regional population and economy from pre-history to the present, Robins explores how people’s multifaceted, intimate and often toxic relationship with their environment has resulted in Huancavelica being among the most mercury-contaminated urban areas on earth. The narrative highlights issues of environmental justice and the toxic burdens that contemporary residents confront, especially many of those who live in adobe homes and are exposed to mercury, as well as lead and arsenic, on a daily basis. The work incorporates archival and printed primary sources as well as scientific research led by the author.
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Nicholas A. Robins

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Iceland's Networked Society

Revealing How the Global Affairs of the Viking Age Created New Forms of Social Complexity

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Tara Carter

Linked by the politics of global trade networks, Viking Age Europe was a well-connected world. Within this fertile social environment, Iceland ironically has been casted as a marginal society too remote to participate in global affairs, and destined to live in the shadow of its more successful neighbours. Drawing on new archaeological evidence, Tara Carter challenges this view, arguing that by building strong social networks the first citizens of Iceland balanced thinking globally while acting locally, creating the first cosmopolitan society in the North Atlantic. Iceland’s Networked Society asks us to reconsider how societies like Iceland can, even when positioned at the margins of competing empires, remain active in a global political economy and achieve social complexity on its own terms.