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A Tale of Three Thirsty Cities

The Innovative Water Supply Systems of Toledo, London and Paris in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century

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Jaime-Chaim Shulman

In A Tale of Three Thirsty Cities: The Innovative Water Supply Systems of Toledo, London and Paris in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Century, Chaim Shulman presents an analysis of three projects of urban water supply systems carried out between 1560s–1610s. The technical and economic differences between these projects resulted from external conditions not directly related to the water supply problem. Although the same basic technology was apparently available at the time in all cases, the geographical, engineering, entrepreneurial and cultural nature of each region differed. The inhabitants’ wellbeing improvement achieved varied accordingly. Much broader insights are drawn on the policies of the three monarchies regarding the initiative of and support for grand scale public works in general.

Bo Poulsen

By accident, the world-famous brewery Carlsberg became a central force in global marine science during the first three decades of the 20th century. Within a core group of scientists and managers, Johannes Schmidt (1877-1933) was the key figure combining the efforts of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Danish state and several private companies. Launching 26 oceangoing expeditions Schmidt made landmark discoveries such as the breeding ground for the Atlantic eel in the Sargasso Sea. The scientific frontier was pushed literally kilometres into the deep sea and across the World’s oceans. While the formal North Atlantic Empire of the small state of Denmark was in decline, an informal empire of science was erected instead.

Shortlisted for the Society for Nautical Research Anderson Medal for published works on Maritime History in 2016.

Plantation and Civility in the North Atlantic World

The Case of the Northern Hebrides, 1570-1639

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Aonghas MacCoinnich

The settlement of the Hebrides is usually considered in terms of the state formation agenda. Yet the area was subject to successive attempts at plantation, largely overlooked in historical narrative. Aonghas MacCoinnich’s study, Plantation and Civility, explores these plantations against the background of a Lowland-Highland cultural divide and competition over resources. The Macleod of Lewis clan, ‘uncivil’, Gaelic Highlanders, were dispossessed by the Lowland, ‘civil,’ Fife Adventurers, 1598-1609. Despite the collapse of this Lowland Plantation, however, the recourse to the Mackenzie clan, often thought a failure of policy, was instead a pragmatic response to an intractable problem. The Mackenzies also pursued the civility agenda treating with Dutch partners and fending off their English rivals in order to develop their plantation.

An Agrarian History of Portugal, 1000-2000

Economic Development on the European Frontier

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Edited by Dulce Freire and Pedro Lains

This book follows the renovation of European economic history towards a more unified interpretation of sources of growth and stagnation. To better understand the diversity of patterns of growth, we need to look beyond the study of the industrialization of the core economies, and explore the centuries before it occurred. Portuguese agriculture was hardly ever at the European productivity and technological forefront and the distance from it varied substantially across the second Millennium. Yet if we look at the periods of the Christian Reconquista, the recovery from the Black Death, the response to the globalization of the Renaissance, to the eighteenth century economic enlightenment, or to nineteenth century industrialization, we may conclude that agriculture in this country of the European periphery was often adaptive and dynamic. The fact that economic backwardness was not overcome by the end of the period is no longer the most relevant aspect of that story.

Contributors are: Luciano Amaral, Amélia Branco, Dulce Freire, António Henriques, Pedro Lains, Susana Münch Miranda, Margarida Sobral Neto, Jaime Reis, Ana Maria Rodrigues, José Vicente Serrão and Ester G. Silva.

Nature, Environment and Culture in East Asia

The Challenge of Climate Change

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Edited by Carmen Meinert

Since in the current global environmental and climate crisis East Asia will play a major role in negotiating solutions, it is vital to understand East Asian cultural variations in approaching and solving environmental challenges in the past, present, and future. The interdisciplinary volume Nature, Environment and Culture in East Asia. The Challenge of Climate Change, edited by Carmen Meinert, explores how cultural patterns and ideas have shaped a specific understanding of nature, how local and regional cultures develop(ed) coping strategies to adapt to environmental and climatic changes in the past and in the present and how various institutions and representatives might introduce their ideas and agendas in future environmental and climate policies on national levels and in international negotiating systems.

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Edited by Barbara Schuler

Based on pioneering research, this volume on South and Southeast Asia offers a cultural studies' perspective on the vast and largely uncharted domain of how local cultures are coping with climate changes and environmental crises.The primary focus is on three countries that have high emission rates: India, Indonesia, and Thailand. Whereas the dominant discourse on climate largely reflects the view of Western cultures, this volume adds indigenous views and practices that provide insight into Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic responses. Making use of textual materials, fieldwork, and analyses, it highlights the close links between climate solutions, forms of knowledge, and the various socio-cultural and political practices and agencies within societies. The volume demonstrates that climate is global and plural.
Contributors are: Monika Arnez, Somnath Batabyal, Joachim Betz, Susan M. Darlington, Dennis Eucker, Rüdiger Haum, Albertina Nugteren, Marcus Nüsser & Ravi Baghel, Martin Seeger, and Janice Stargardt.

Zinc for Coin and Brass

Bureaucrats, Merchants, Artisans, and Mining Laborers in Qing China, ca. 1680s–1830s

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Hailian Chen

Hailian Chen’s pioneering study presents the first comprehensive history of Chinese zinc—an essential base metal used to produce brass and coin and a global commodity—over the long eighteenth century. Zinc, she argues, played a far greater role in the Qing economy and in integrating China into an emerging global economy, than has previously been recognized. Using commodity chain analysis and exploring over 5,800 items of archival documents, Chen demonstrates how this metal was produced, transported, traded, and consumed by human agents. Situating the zinc story within the human-environment framework, this book covers a broad and interdisciplinary range of political economy, material culture, environment, technology, and society, which casts new light on our understanding of early modern China.

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Edited by Bernd Sommer

Global warming interacts in multiple ways with ecological and social systems in Northern America. While the US and Canada belong to the world’s largest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases, the Arctic north of the continent as well as the Deep South are already affected by a changing climate. In Cultural Dynamics of Climate Change and the Environment in Northern America academics from various fields such as anthropology, art history, educational studies, cultural studies, environmental science, history, political science, and sociology explore society–nature interactions in – culturally as well as ecologically – one of the most diverse regions of the world.
Contributors include: Omer Aijazi, Roland Benedikter, Maxwell T. Boykoff, Eugene Cordero, Martin David, Demetrius Eudell, Michael K. Goodman, Frederic Hanusch, Naotaka Hayashi, Jürgen Heinrichs, Grit Martinez, Antonia Mehnert, Angela G. Mertig, Michael J. Paolisso, Eleonora Rohland, Karin Schürmann, Bernd Sommer, Kenneth M. Sylvester, Anne Marie Todd, Richard Tucker, and Sam White.

Roots of Empire

Forests and State Power in Early Modern Spain, c.1500-1750

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John T. Wing

Roots of Empire is the first monograph to connect forest management and state-building in the early modern Spanish global monarchy. The Spanish crown's control over valuable sources of shipbuilding timber in Spain, Latin America, and the Philippines was critical for developing and sustaining its maritime empire. This book examines Spain's forest management policies from the sixteenth century through the middle of the eighteenth century, connecting the global imperial level with local lived experiences in forest communities impacted by this manifestation of expanded state power. As home to the early modern world's most extensive forestry bureaucracy, Spain met serious political, technological, and financial limitations while still managing to address most of its timber needs without upending the social balance.

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.