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A Not-So-New World


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Table of Contents

Introduction. The View from Champlain's Gardens
Chapter 1. Discovering a Not-So-New World
Chapter 2. Communicating Cultivation
Chapter 3. Cultivating Soils and Souls
Chapter 4. The Limits of Cultivation
Chapter 5. The Science of Novelty
Chapter 6. How New Was New France?
Conclusion. Cultivating New Relationships

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Exploring the moment in which settlers, missionaries, merchants, and administrators believed in their ability to shape the environment to better resemble the country they left behind, A Not-So-New World reveals that French colonial ambitions were fueled by a vision of an ecologically sustainable empire.

About the Author

Christopher M. Parsons teaches history at Northeastern University.


[A] call to action that makes important interventions, not only into the history of science, environmental history, and the history of global knowledge exchange, but also into contemporary debates surrounding the entanglements of environment and politics. The book is richly researched and will no doubt become standard reading for anyone interested in the exigency of indigenous ecological knowledge or the importance of environment for the justification, implementation, and practice of European colonization in the early modern period. * Agricultural History Review *
[A]n engaging and informative study . . . Parsons's careful research into the more nuanced aspects of 'ecological imperialism' provides an important new perspective on the environmental history of European expansion. * Environmental History *
Christopher M. Parsons tells a new and highly original story about how various people involved in the French colonization of North America understood the landscape of the New World and how these changing understandings affected and shaped the larger project of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French colonialism. * Robert Morrissey, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign *
Christopher M. Parsons's detailed account of the exchange of botanical information between New France and its metropolis sheds new light on the development of environmental knowledge about the colony, understood in an appropriately broad geographical framework. * Colin Coates, York University *
Re-examining the texts of French settlers and missionaries in what's now Canada, Parsons challenges our assumptions about the environmental history of North America, and charts new routes toward a global history of early modern science. * Nicholas Dew, McGill University *

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