Pastoral Literature

Why should we care about pastoral literature? The love songs of its melancholy shepherds don’t seem particularly useful for negotiating the contingencies of real human relationships, not to mention the fragmentation and alienation of the late capitalist world. And its idyllic landscapes filled with brooks and groves and green pastures come off as a pathetic…

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Material Texts

How are the patterns of nature imprinted on the history of the book? These days, books are increasingly produced, consumed, and conserved within intricate networks of virtual labor that can obscure their materiality and render abstract the bodies that were pulped, liquefied, or otherwise harvested to make them. The emergence of “digital humanities” as a resource-rich scholarly discipline further encourages the…

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Environmental History

It’s not the first time that the world seemed like it could collapse. The political upheavals that marked the early modern period (roughly 1500–1700 CE) produced widespread ambivalence toward the social and philosophical structures that for centuries gave shape to our sense of the human condition and its place in nature. As local, communal, and…

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