About Political Ecologies

Political Ecologies in the Renaissance brings together eleven scientific texts from Columbia's Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It features canonical and non-canonical science books and covers seven topics: mining, magnetism, navigation, astronomy, the art of war, hydraulics and hydrostatics, and astrology. Each of the texts featured here focuses on human engagement with the natural world, whether it be through observation, experimentation, and/or the manipulation of natural resources. But the texts do not only represent early examples of scientific culture; rather, they are politically resonant, for man's use of natural resources and scientists' observations of the world around them had a profound impact on the early modern world, and provoked and/or enabled religious, social, and political controversies. Many of the papers in the "Commons and Collectivities: Political Ecologies in the Renaissance" conference home in on man's relationship with the natural world and its political implications, and this online exhibition is meant to complement those essays.

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