ANN: Special Review Issue: Recent Works in Brazilian Environmental History

Casey Lurtz's picture

Dear H-Latam Colleagues,

I’m pleased to send around the first of a new series of special book review issues, this one dedicated to recent works in Brazilian environmental history. As you may have noticed, the reviews section of our network is up and running again and, as a part of that, we’re experimenting with some new features. These collections of reviews centered on thematic, regional, or methodological clusters will be one part of our revitalization efforts. If you would like to join in as a reviewer, please head to and let us know!

This first special book review issue includes five recent works in the field of Brazilian environmental history as well as a summary of a conference on the topic. Covering books published in the last few years, the reviews capture an emerging historiography centered on questions of how nature, particularly the Amazon, has been central to the building of modern Brazil. Whether examining rubber tappers, ranchers, novelists, diplomats, scientists, or speculators, the books under review engage with the environment as a key factor in both historical actors’ and historians’ understanding of Brazilian identity and the Brazilian state.


Included in this issue are:

Jennifer Eaglin on Susanna Hecht's The Scramble for the Amazon and the "Lost Paradise" of Euclides da Cunha (2013)

Teresa Cribelli on Seth Garfield’s In Search of the Amazon: Brazil, the United States and the Nature of a Region (2014)

Antoine Acker on Jeremy Campbell's Conjuring Property: Speculation and Environmental Futures in the Brazilian Amazon (2015)

Amy Cox Hall on David West's Darwin's Man in Brazil: The Evolving Science of Fritz Müller (2016)

José Juan Pérez Meléndez on Teresa Cribelli's Industrial Forests and Mechanical Marvels: Modernization in Nineteenth-Century Brazil (2016)

This is followed by a conference report by Nathalia Cappelini on a workshop held in Paris in October 2016 titled “Destruction and conservation in debate: Brazil’s environmental history in a global perspective.” Convened by Cappelini and Antoine Acker, the workshop included scholars from across Europe, Brazil, and the United States who are currently working on projects related to environmental issues in Brazilian history.

I would also like to direct your attention to some related reviews from our own and other networks, including a new review of Chris Boyer's Political Landscapes: Forests, Conservation, and Community in Mexico by Timothy Lorek, a review of Mario Jimenez Sifuentez's Of Forests and Fields: Mexican Labor in the Pacific Northwest by Michael Karp, and a review of Adrian Forsyth's Nature of the Rainforest: Costa Rica and Beyond by Sterling Evans.

I hope you enjoy this special issue, and we look forward to presenting more such collections in the near future! 


Casey Lurtz

Reviews Editor

Academy Scholar

Harvard Academy for International & Area Studies