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David Rothenberg

David Rothenberg is Professor of Philosophy at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and founder of the Terra Nova book series. His most recent books are Always the Mountains and Sudden Music: Improvisation, Art and Nature.

Titles by This Editor

On Globalization

This collection of essays, memoirs, poems, stories, and artwork looks at globalization as a worldwide exchange of art and ideas. Writing the World focuses on the cultural realities of globalism -- the opportunities it provides to learn from other cultures. This knowledge, argue David Rothenberg and Wandee Pryor in their introduction, can be power: "When all of us learn enough about our differences to respect the diversity that exists, we will be unable to pretend we are the same. We will never accept the old innocence and ignorance bred by oppression and exploitation." For the contributors to Writing the World, to dream of the global village is to see the world not as a vast market but as a place of shared values and linked wonder."It is time to listen to the many literate voices the world speaks," say Rothenberg and Pryor. The voices of Writing the World range from Arundhati Roy on the "colonization of knowledge" in her essay "The Ladies Have Feelings, So... Shall We Leave It to the Experts?" to Naomi Klein's meditation on fences, ownership, and property. They include Bill McKibben on women farmers in Bangladesh, Hannes Westberg's account of being shot by Swedish police at a demonstration, James Barilla on invading and indigenous plant species in "The Aliens in the Garden," and many other vivid, compelling, and provocative writings that celebrate -- and illustrate -- "the poetry of cultural contact." Artists and photographers whose work appears in the book include Adam Clayman, Jenny Matthews, Richard Robinson, and Arpita Singh.

Progress and Evolution

The theory of evolution connects us to the natural world, explaining how and why we are a part of nature. The idea of progress, on the other hand, projects a destination. "If nature can supply wonderfully elegant solutions to the problem of survival by trying out test models derived solely by chance, then surely it's possible for us to find our way forward," write David Rothenberg and Wandee Pryor, setting the terms of the discussion. But is society going somewhere in particular? Is nature improving? The stories, poems, essays, and artwork in Writing the Future examine the concepts of evolution and progress through a variety of artistic and scientific lenses and speculate on how these ideas can help us appreciate our place in the world.

The first section of the book, "Science, Mustard, Moths," looks at evolution's founding concepts and personalities, and includes Theodore Roszak's challenge to a Darwinian orthodoxy, which he traces back to another pioneering theorist, Alfred Russel Wallace. The second section, "Steps from the Cave," focuses on human change, and features Ellen Dissanayake's unusual look at prehistoric cave paintings in France, poetry by John Canaday, and a richly layered short story by Floyd Skloot. The third section, "Places in Time," moves outward to examine the world evolving and includes a reminiscence by Leslie Van Gelder of growing up "in the church of Darwin" and Eva Salzman's account of an infinitely reverberating walk through a Long Island neighborhood. In the fourth section, "Getting to the Future," the writers consider different manifestations of progress: Katherine Creed Page examines a "future perfect" through reproductive technology, Kevin Warwick reports on linking his nervous system to a computer by means of a small electronic circuit implanted under his skin, and Joan Maloof meditates on our possible future "de-evolution"—an abdication of our dominating role and gradual return to nature—which brings the book full circle.

Water links all aspects of our existence. From the politics of watersheds to the romance of turtles climbing up from the sea to the beaches, from Leonardo da Vinci to Octavio Paz, from death at a hot spring to the practicalities of liquidation, the writings in this collection reflect on many aspects of the human encounter with water.

The book contains some science, a few plans for managing and protecting water, and plenty of stories, poems, essays, and artwork. The writers include Bob Braine Robert Grudin, Wilson Harris, George Keithley, David Morse, Octavio Paz, physicist Sidney Perkowitz, Eva Salzman, Ted Steinberg, and Peter Warshall, editor of Whole Earth magazine. Photographers include Cyril Christo, Adam David Clayman, Monique Crépault, Helen M. Ellis, Sally Gall, Margaret McCarthy, Kristin Ordahl, Jerry Uelsmann, and Marie Wilkinson.

This is the second in a series of Terra Nova books from MIT Press, which aim to show that environmental issues are cultural and artistic as well as practical and political.

Critical Essays in the Philosophy of Deep Ecology

The philosophy of deep ecology originated in the 1970s with the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess and has since spread around the world. Its basic premises are a belief in the intrinsic value of nonhuman nature, a belief that ecological principles should dictate human actions and moral evaluations, an emphasis on noninterference into natural processes, and a critique of materialism and technological progress.

This book approaches deep ecology as a philosophy, not as a political, social, or environmental movement. In part I, the authors compare deep ecology's philosophical ideas with other positions and debates in environmental philosophy and to other schools of thought such as social ecology, ecofeminism, and moral pluralism. In part II, they investigate the connections between deep ecology and other contemporary world views, such as continental philosophy, postmodernism, and non-Western philosophical traditions. The first anthology on deep ecology that is not primarily the work of the movement's followers, Beneath the Surface offers a rigorous assessment of deep ecology's strengths and weaknesses as a philosophical position.

Contributors:
John Clark, Deane Curtin, Arran Gare, William Grey, Mathew Humphrey, Knut Jacobsen, Eric Katz, Andrew Light, Jonathan Maskit, Val Plumwood, David Rothenberg, Ariel Salleh, Bron Taylor, Michael Zimmerman.