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University of California, Berkeley
Environmental History, Philosophy, Ethics
Environmental History, Philosophy, and Ethics


Carolyn Merchant is an environmental historian interested in the relationships between humanity and nature with a particular focus on gender and the environment. Her own relationship to nature is grounded in the idea of partnership. Partnerships between people and nature and between women and men help to deal with Western culture's historical legacy of the domination of nature and women by patriarchal society. Merchant's current work has evolved from her engagement with the scientific revolution's impact on the domination of nature (The Death of Nature, 1980) to her ideas about ecological revolutions and ways to address the current global ecological crisis (Ecological Revolutions, 1989 and Radical Ecology, 1992; 2nd ed., 2005). Her recent work engages Western culture's efforts to reinvent the entire planet as a garden of Eden by cutting down forests and irrigating deserts to totally manage nature for the capitalist market (Reinventing Eden, 2003). The way forward Merchant believes is a new way of embracing nature, one that uses participation and all the senses and a dynamic interaction between human communities and ecological communities.