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Back to nature?

Thompson, Charis (2006) Back to nature? Isis, 97 (3). pp. 505-512. ISSN 0021-1753

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Identification Number: 10.1086/508080


Rereading Carolyn Merchant’s The Death of Nature a quarter century after its publication and from the perspective of its contribution to feminist theory is a rewarding process. Merchant’s book has garnered a sustained readership as a foundational text of ecofeminism. Simultaneously, however, ecofeminism itself has been sidelined within feminist theory because of critiques that it is marred by ethnocentrism and by an essentialist identification of women with nature. Rereading Merchant leads to three conclusions. First, Merchant explicitly repudiates ethnocentrism and essentialism, developing instead an archival methodology that grounds the universalizing claims of modern science in time and place, text and ideology. Second, the central claim of ecofeminism—that the domination of women and of nature have shared roots in the logic of science and capitalism—remains a powerful thesis. Third, ecofeminism brought together antimilitarist feminists and others whose voices are underrepresented in contemporary academic feminism. Combining the critiques of recent third‐wave feminisms with a reevaluation of ecofeminism would greatly strengthen the field.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2006 University of Chicago Press
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2013 15:31
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2024 18:12

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