What is a mountain? Seems like a simple question, right? But if we take the question seriously, the answers turn out to be complicated, wide ranging, and fascinating. In The Mountain, geographers Bernard Debarbieux and Gilles Rudaz trace the origins of the very concept of a mountain, showing how it is t a mere geographic feature, but ultimately an idea, one that has evolved over time, influenced by changes in political climates and cultural attitudes. To truly understand mountains, they argue, we must view them t only as material realities but as social constructs, ones that can mean radically different things to different people in different settings. From the Enlightenment to the very present days, and thanks to a huge variety of case studies picked up in all the continents, the authors show us how our ideas of and about mountains have changed with the times and how a huge range of policies, from border delineation to forestry as well as nature protection and social policies, have been shaped according to them. A rich hybrid analysis of geography, history, culture, and politics, the book promises to forever change the way we look at mountains.
Bernard Debarbieux is professor of geography and regional planning at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Gilles Rudaz is a senior lecturer and associate researcher of geography at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and a scientific collaborator at the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment. Jane Marie Todd has translated some seventy books, including Writing, Law, and Kingship in Old Babylonian Mesopotamia, also published by the University of Chicago Press.