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Environmental History and Its Focus on the Role of Nature

Gao Guorong (Institute of World History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, 100006)  
For a long time, the role of nature has always been ignored in historical research, due to the influence of mechanical outlook about nature as well as environmental determinism, and little understanding of the ecoligical value of nature. Since the late 19th century, many efforts has been made to historicize the natural environments, and the ultimate and successful results could be reflected by the rise of environmental history in the postwar years. The study of environmental history might broaden the scope of historical study, enrich our understanding of the past, and provide new dimension and approach to historical research. It might also provide new interpretations to many significant events and theories in the historical field.
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