When I was young some of my best literature was natural history, and then ecological texts. I think if my dad had watched my reading habits closely, he would have discovered and fostered it. Though he had several huge book shelves and a storeroom of books from which I drew for daily sustenance particular during the long breaks from school, it was enough for him that I had picked up a strong reading cultural. For most African parents in the seventies and eighties, es. teachers, that was perhaps enough. It’s not too long ago that literacy took root in Africa. Actually, the first schools in my part of Cameroon were in the third half of the 19th century, and sending children to school was quite an ominous affair – it was tantamount to loss, or something that only uncaring parents, would do to their child. I had to navigate my way between natural history and literature, and then discovered anthropology at university through reading. Taking up Anthropology much later in South Africa, while teaching French, was a kind of an escape from the everyday classroom space, which gave me a window to appreciating more deeply the diverse ecologies and land, water, desert, and marinescapes in South Africa. I thought a program in Environmental Anthropology would foster my interests, until I gradually came to realize the role of politics (something I never thought of) in it all. Then it occurred to me that my real interest was perhaps biology and biophysical landscapes e.g. the lay of a delta, how tides function, etc. Some people enjoy (cultural) politics, I don’t. For me it’s just a game of shenanigans. And i don’t want to be the kid prying into the theater, asking how what why when where? It’s a study of transient and ever changing and endless processes. Enough of my ranting:)
From Immanence Blog
“What books, published over the last ten years, have contributed most cogently and profoundly to our thinking about the relationship between culture and nature, ecology and society? (That’s to name just two of the dualisms this blog regularly throws into question.) Who have been the most important ecocultural theorists so far this century? And which are the most important publishers in this area?
Below is a highly subjective “top 10″ (sort of) of the books that have most influenced my own thinking on these issues. It aims for a certain representativeness, a balance between the rigorously theoretical and the theorized-applied, the established names and the new, and between the many fields and styles of thinking I’m aiming to encompass on such a list…