Tag Archives | Brett Clark (listed first)

Darwin’s Worms and the Skin of the Earth: An Introduction to Charles Darwin’s The Formation of Vegetable Mould, Through the Action of Worms, With Observations on their Habits

Charles Darwin’s discovery of the theory of evolution by natural selection is unquestionably one of the most profound scientific achievements in history. Darwin was heavily influenced by the great geologist Charles Lyell, who developed uniformitarianism, the methodological and substantive doctrine that sought to explain all geological formations as the result of the accumulation of small […]

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Florence Kelley and the Struggle Against the Degradation of Life: An Introduction to a Selection from Modern Industry

Florence Kelley illuminated how degraded environments stemmed from the social relations and operations of industrial capitalism. As a social reformer, she worked to document the various dangers that workers confronted. She presented how laborers were exposed to noxious gases, toxic substances, and poisonous chemicals and dyes. Dangerous materials, such as arsenic, were introduced into the […]

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Land, the Color Line and the Quest of the Silver Fleece: An Introduction to W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk and The Quest of the Silver Fleece

Manning Marable (1999) writes that William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) “was without question the most influential black intellectual in American history” (p. v). Even more, he was a citizen of the world, gaining an international stature rarely achieved (Gates, 1989, p. xii). This year is the centennial of The Souls of Black Folk (Du […]

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Helen Keller and the Touch of Nature: An Introduction to Keller’s The World I live In

Mark Twain asserted that Helen Keller (1880-1968) was immortal—fellow to Caesar, Homer, and Shakespeare—and would “be as famous a thousand years from now as she is to-day” (Twain, 1924, Vol. 2, p. 297). Elementary school teachers have told the story of Keller’s childhood for more than a hundred years, whereas her activist and intellectual developments […]

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George Perkins Marsh and the Transformation of the Earth: An Introduction to Marsh’s Man and Nature

George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882) stated that his book, Man and Nature, was “a little volume showing the whereas [Carl] Ritter and [Arnold] Guyot think that the earth made man, man in fact made earth” (as cited in Lowenthal, 2000, p. 267). With this position, Marsh inverted a dominant theoretical transformation— both destruction and revitalization— of […]

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Henry Salt, Socialist Animal Rights Advocate: An Introduction to Salt’s ‘A Lover of Animals

Henry S. Salt (1851-1939) remains largely unknown today, despite his central role in social and humanitarian movements throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Salt is briefly mentioned in passing when discussing the history of animal rights activism, but serious consideration of his philosophical position has not been conducted. General interpretations of Salt often […]

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