Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts (HMC)
Historical analysis is an indispensable tool in the study of politics. When building theories, it allows us to evaluate the explanatory power of our carefully-delineated models in light of the broader (ceteris non paribus) social context. From a methodological standpoint, historical analysis is receiving renewed attention in efforts to devise rigorous qualitative methods for establishing cause and effect. For these reasons the emerging field of environmental history merits close study and emulation by researchers in international environmental politics and policy (IEP). In addition to offering worthy examples of how to conduct historical research, environmental history directly engages many of the central concerns of IEP, from the environmental consequences of globalism, to the nature of transnational scientific communities, the impact of environmental institutions, and the origins of environmental concern. Particularly for IEP, in which prehistory is generally construed as anything predating the 1972 Stockholm conference, the rich perspective offered by the rapidly expanding environmental history literature is a timely development that should be enthusiastically embraced.
© 2002 Massacusetts Institute of Technology
Insatiable Appetite: The United States and the Ecological Degradation of the Tropical World, Richard P. Tucker, University of California Press, 2000. Reviewed by Paul F. Steinberg in Global Environmental Politics, 2002, 2(3):124-126.