What Can Environmental History Do? The Environmental Historian and His Fellow

with Grégory Quenet

Participant(s)  Grégory Quenet

The early environmental history of the 1970s took on the face of a tragic narrative, that of a long and inevitable degradation of the environment under the impact of human societies.
The development and internationalization of the field in the following decades, however, made this narrative more complex, showing that through their presence, human beings could contribute to the ecological diversity of environments and their enrichment. As an example, we are confronted here with a situation that is distressingly commonplace at the end of the summer, that of an island in southern Vietnam (Phú Quốc), still almost wild in the 1990s and today profoundly transformed by the more than 3.5 million tourists who flock to this place that is seen as a paradise. What can the environmental historian do? The answer revisits the founding methodologies of the discipline to question the next step of the environmental historian.

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