An unconventional history of Philadelphia that operates at the threshold of cultural and environmental studies, A Greene Country Towne expands the meaning of community beyond people to encompass nonhuman beings, things, and forces.
Reimagining Philadelphia as a vibrant, constantly evolving system of multiple constituents and agencies, this collection contends that the city of Philadelphia, far from being either a discretely human entity or an inanimate object, instead must be understood as a system made up of beings, things, and matter that have interacted dynamically over time—a fact powerfully captured in art and literature since the seventeenth century.
By examining a diverse range of creative objects—from Native American artifacts, early stoves, and literary works to public parks, photographs, and paintings—through the lens of new materialism, A Greene Country Towne expands our definition of community and asks us to consider an urban environmental history in which humans are not the only protagonists. In showing how this dynamic has been represented by three centuries of Philadelphia artists, writers, architects, and planners, this work encourages us to envision our own environments in a new, more ecologically encompassing light.
In addition to the editors, contributors to this volume are Maria Farland, Nate Gabriel, Andrea Hansen, Scott Hicks, Michael Dean Mackintosh, Amy E. Menzer, Stephen Nepa, John Ott, Sue Ann Prince, and Mary I. Unger.