Cultural split between "civilization" and Nature. Info request.

Joel Preston Smith (
4 Jun 1994 20:16:03 GMT

Dear Readers:

I am writing an essay (for a book about the natural history
of urban wildlife) which discusses the cultural dissociation
of Nature and urban settings. To put it more simply, I'm looking
for evidence (in the archeological, anthropological or histor-
ical record) that may illustrate the concept of Nature being
physically or esthetically driven from the urban landscape.
Does anyone know of source material which discusses or illustrates
the separation between Nature and the urban setting? I'm not
looking so much for the "tangible" evidence of separation--
the concrete meadows, the glass and steel forests--as I am
the origins of the *conceptual* separation between the two.

For example, there is some literature (I'm hoping to find
more) on destruction of mountain-oriented gods or godessess
in the ancient Middle East, and their replacement (in the
cultural fabric of that day) with the temple-oriented god
Yahweh. Some historians have suggested that this represents
a kind of "domestication" of reverance and worship--that
in focusing man's reverence for "creation" on the temple,
a kind of spiritual boundary was drawn around a man-made
structure, outside of which the world was considered
corrupt. Does anyone know of any other examples that
illustrate this conceptual division? Or for the attitude
that any animal which "co-habitates" with man (in urban
settings) can't be properly considered as wildlife?

While this issue is stongly "environmentally" oriented,
I believe that it may be best dealt with (from the
perspective of scholarship) by cultural anthropologists
and related fields of interest. That is why the question
is recorded here and not under alt.die.timber.companies
and the like. Forgive me if I'm over-stretching the traditional
boundaries of this newsgroup. Your help would be very
much appreciated. If you have information you'd like to
contribute, please respond direct to

Thanks, Joel Preston Smith