David Rothenberg

David Rothenberg is Professor of Philosophy at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and founder of the Terra Nova book series. His most recent books are Always the Mountains and Sudden Music: Improvisation, Art and Nature.

  • Writing the World

    Writing the World

    On Globalization

    David Rothenberg and Wandee J. Pryor

    Globalism as a global exchange of art and ideas: essays, memoirs, fiction, and poetry by writers including Arundhati Roy, Bill McKibben, and Naomi Klein.

    This collection of essays, memoirs, poems, stories, and artwork looks at globalization as a worldwide exchange of art and ideas. Writing the World focuses on the cultural realities of globalism—the opportunities it provides to learn from other cultures. This knowledge, argue David Rothenberg and Wandee Pryor in their introduction, can be power: "When all of us learn enough about our differences to respect the diversity that exists, we will be unable to pretend we are the same. We will never accept the old innocence and ignorance bred by oppression and exploitation." For the contributors to Writing the World, to dream of the global village is to see the world not as a vast market but as a place of shared values and linked wonder."It is time to listen to the many literate voices the world speaks," say Rothenberg and Pryor. The voices of Writing the World range from Arundhati Roy on the "colonization of knowledge" in her essay "The Ladies Have Feelings, So... Shall We Leave It to the Experts?" to Naomi Klein's meditation on fences, ownership, and property. They include Bill McKibben on women farmers in Bangladesh, Hannes Westberg's account of being shot by Swedish police at a demonstration, James Barilla on invading and indigenous plant species in "The Aliens in the Garden," and many other vivid, compelling, and provocative writings that celebrate—and illustrate—"the poetry of cultural contact." Artists and photographers whose work appears in the book include Adam Clayman, Jenny Matthews, Richard Robinson, and Arpita Singh.

  • Writing the Future

    Writing the Future

    Progress and Evolution

    David Rothenberg and Wandee J. Pryor

    Through essays, poetry, stories, and images, writers and artists offer their perceptions of how we fit into the world and where we might be headed.

    The theory of evolution connects us to the natural world, explaining how and why we are a part of nature. The idea of progress, on the other hand, projects a destination. "If nature can supply wonderfully elegant solutions to the problem of survival by trying out test models derived solely by chance, then surely it's possible for us to find our way forward," write David Rothenberg and Wandee Pryor, setting the terms of the discussion. But is society going somewhere in particular? Is nature improving? The stories, poems, essays, and artwork in Writing the Future examine the concepts of evolution and progress through a variety of artistic and scientific lenses and speculate on how these ideas can help us appreciate our place in the world.

    The first section of the book, "Science, Mustard, Moths," looks at evolution's founding concepts and personalities, and includes Theodore Roszak's challenge to a Darwinian orthodoxy, which he traces back to another pioneering theorist, Alfred Russel Wallace. The second section, "Steps from the Cave," focuses on human change, and features Ellen Dissanayake's unusual look at prehistoric cave paintings in France, poetry by John Canaday, and a richly layered short story by Floyd Skloot. The third section, "Places in Time," moves outward to examine the world evolving and includes a reminiscence by Leslie Van Gelder of growing up "in the church of Darwin" and Eva Salzman's account of an infinitely reverberating walk through a Long Island neighborhood. In the fourth section, "Getting to the Future," the writers consider different manifestations of progress: Katherine Creed Page examines a "future perfect" through reproductive technology, Kevin Warwick reports on linking his nervous system to a computer by means of a small electronic circuit implanted under his skin, and Joan Maloof meditates on our possible future "de-evolution"—an abdication of our dominating role and gradual return to nature—which brings the book full circle.

    • Hardcover $7.75
    • Paperback $32.00
  • Writing on Air

    Writing on Air

    David Rothenberg and Wandee J. Pryor

    Air in our everyday and imaginative lives, as portrayed by a wide range of writers, photographers, and artists.

    For centuries, humans have tried to master air. Sea captains rein it in with their sails, and pilots cut through it with their wings. We have machines to pump air into our lungs and computers to anticipate the movement of the winds. Air pervades everything we do and gives us life, yet it is impossible to capture. We can only evoke it through images, impressions, and feelings. This book offers a collage of such evocations expressed through prose, poetry, photography, and drawings.From aerial plankton to Navajo wind gods, from joyful singing to painful emphysema, from gentle breezes to violent storms, Writing on Air creates a fresh way of thinking about the role of air in our everyday lives. Included in the book are prose pieces by poet Hayden Carruth, paulo da costa, Kristjana Gunnars, filmmaker Werner Herzog, Howard Mansfield, Sarah Menin, and C. L. Rawlins; an excerpt from a play by Carl Djerassi and Roald Hoffmann on the discovery of oxygen; poems by Lori Anderson, Tonu Õnnepalu, Andrew Schelling, and Virgil Suárez; and art and photography by Manuel Acevedo, Stuart Allen, Marsha Cottrell, Susan Derges, the Korwa tribe of the Indian hills, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Tuula Närhinen, and the airborne dancers of Project Bandaloop.

    • Hardcover $29.95
    • Paperback $14.95
  • Writing on Water

    Writing on Water

    David Rothenberg and Marta Ulvaeus

    Water and its multifaceted relationship to humans, as portrayed by a wide range of writers and photographers.

    Water links all aspects of our existence. From the politics of watersheds to the romance of turtles climbing up from the sea to the beaches, from Leonardo da Vinci to Octavio Paz, from death at a hot spring to the practicalities of liquidation, the writings in this collection reflect on many aspects of the human encounter with water. The book contains some science, a few plans for managing and protecting water, and plenty of stories, poems, essays, and artwork. The writers include Bob Braine, Robert Grudin, Wilson Harris, George Keithley, David Morse, Octavio Paz, physicist Sidney Perkowitz, Eva Salzman, Ted Steinberg, and Peter Warshall, editor of Whole Earth magazine. Photographers include Cyril Christo, Adam David Clayman, Monique Crépault, Helen M. Ellis, Sally Gall, Margaret McCarthy, Kristin Ordahl, Jerry Uelsmann, and Marie Wilkinson. This is the second in a series of Terra Nova books from MIT Press, which aim to show that environmental issues are cultural and artistic as well as practical and political.

    • Hardcover $9.75
    • Paperback $4.75
  • Beneath the Surface

    Beneath the Surface

    Critical Essays in the Philosophy of Deep Ecology

    Eric Katz, Andrew Light, and David Rothenberg

    The philosophy of deep ecology originated in the 1970s with the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess and has since spread around the world. Its basic premises are a belief in the intrinsic value of nonhuman nature, a belief that ecological principles should dictate human actions and moral evaluations, an emphasis on noninterference into natural processes, and a critique of materialism and technological progress. This book approaches deep ecology as a philosophy, not as a political, social, or environmental movement. In part I, the authors compare deep ecology's philosophical ideas with other positions and debates in environmental philosophy and to other schools of thought such as social ecology, ecofeminism, and moral pluralism. In part II, they investigate the connections between deep ecology and other contemporary world views, such as continental philosophy, postmodernism, and non-Western philosophical traditions. The first anthology on deep ecology that is not primarily the work of the movement's followers, Beneath the Surface offers a rigorous assessment of deep ecology's strengths and weaknesses as a philosophical position.

    Contributors John Clark, Deane Curtin, Arran Gare, William Grey, Mathew Humphrey, Knut Jacobsen, Eric Katz, Andrew Light, Jonathan Maskit, Val Plumwood, David Rothenberg, Ariel Salleh, Bron Taylor, Michael Zimmerman

    • Hardcover $16.75
    • Paperback $7.75
  • The New Earth Reader

    The New Earth Reader

    The Best of Terra Nova

    David Rothenberg and Marta Ulvaeus

    The best of Terra Nova: offbeat informed literature from the culture of environmentalism.

    This is a collection of the best essays, stories, and interviews from Terra Nova, the cutting-edge literary journal. It explores the complex and multifarious ways humanity is loose in the natural world. Find out who really wrote the famous Chief Seattle speech. Read why Jaron Lanier wants to turn us all into giant squid so we can talk to one another without language. Rick Bass travels to the country with the most grizzly bears per square mile: Romania. Gary Nabhan dreams of raven stew. Val Plumwood is half-swallowed by a crocodile and lives to tell the tale and affirm her vegetarianism. Charles Bowden enters Tuna Country in Mexico and struggles to find his way back across the border. Ray Isle fights with a wild turkey; see who wins. And find out why filmmaker Errol Morris thinks that human dreamers are the most endangered species around.