The Bartlett Faculty Climate Curriculum Working Group

The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution

The book is an examination of the Scientific Revolution that shows how the mechanistic world view of modern science has sanctioned the exploitation of nature, unrestrained commercial expansion, and a new socioeconomic order that subordinates women.

The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution

A pioneering work in ecofeminist thought

The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution by Carolyn Merchant, initially published in 1980, stands as a pioneering work in ecofeminist thought. Merchant, an American philosopher and historian of science, examines the emergence of the mechanistic worldview during the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century and its repercussions on the environment and women’s status.

The book explores how the transition from viewing the Earth as a living organism to a mechanical entity justified the exploitation of nature and the subjugation of women. By analysing historical shifts in attitudes towards science and technology, Merchant reveals how the perception of nature as inert particles paved the way for its exploitation and the marginalisation of women.

“The Death of Nature” contributes significantly to the development of ecofeminism by highlighting the interconnectedness of gender, ecology, and science. It has had a profound impact on environmental history, philosophy, and feminist studies, shedding light on the historical linkages between the feminisation of nature and the subordination of women. Through its exploration of these themes, Merchant’s work remains a crucial text in understanding the complex intersections of gender, ecology, and power. 

The working group serves as a collaborative platform for staff, students, and professional services staff from the 13 institutes and departments within the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment. Participation in the group is voluntary, with a focus on gathering recommendations for resources that explore the intersectional and multidisciplinary aspects of the climate emergency and social justice. Despite the global nature of the climate crisis, its social repercussions disproportionately affect marginalized communities, highlighting the urgent need for action. The list of recommended references is continuously expanding through collective efforts. Bartlett Alternative acknowledges and appreciates the Working Group’s ongoing dedication in promoting the sharing of diverse works and resources, by amplifying underrepresented voices, narratives, and agendas.


This reference was recommended by the Bartlett Climate Curriculum Working Group.


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