On Monday, October 19, 2020, at 16:00 Central European time, Etienne Benson, Associate Professor in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, presented his book Surroundings: A History of Environments and Environmentalisms (University of Chicago Press, 2020) in the Greenhouse environmental humanities book talk series.

Given the ubiquity of environmental rhetoric in the modern world, it’s easy to think that the meaning of the terms environment and environmentalism are and always have been self-evident. But in Surroundings, we learn that the environmental past is much more complex than it seems at first glance. In this wide-ranging history of the concept through a series of richly contextualized case studies, Benson uncovers the diversity of forms that environmentalism has taken over the last two centuries and opens our eyes to the promising new varieties of environmentalism that are emerging today.

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