Key Points

  • human history is severely limited and boring
  • environmental history is better but is also limited by the human sphere
  • the interesting point about history is that it tells about just so events, random sequences that could be different, accumulations of stochastic events
  • natural history and the coming back of natural history as an important way of doing science
  • follow the conceptual move that extends past the environmental history towards more-than-human history and past history towards ... monitoring? process engagement? the idea being that objects are states of processes and the processes are ongoing, thus objects are history and history is their presence and future.

Forms of History

  • Techno-political history
  • Riparian history (the history of rivers), this can be relevant as an example of histories of patterns and agents beyond humans.

Environmental History

Cf. the note on Environmental History

A classic book: Worster, Donald, ed. The Ends of the Earth: Perspectives on Modern Environmental History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.


Russian steppes have been deforested by nomads about 3000 years ago. So whose identity is that place?

Cf. forest history society's databases and bibliography

Perlin, John. A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization. 1989. Reprint, Woodstock: Countryman Press, 2005.

World History

With an environmental take: McNeill, John Robert, and William Hardy McNeill. The Human Web: A Bird’s-Eye View of World History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003.

Deep History

Hazen, Robert M. The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet. Penguin, 2013.

Randall, Lisa. Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe. New York: Ecco, 2015.

Shubin, Neil. Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body. Revised. New York: Vintage, 2009.

Godfrey-Smith, Peter. Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.

  1. Australian