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Ecofeminist Books

Ecofeminism is growing by leaps and bounds. As its popularity increases, look for more and more books that are straight-up ecofeminist. What the field could really use, though, is some exciting, new literature targeted towards the grassroots constituency.

The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution
Carolyn Merchant, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981.
This groundbreaking ecofeminist work outlines the shift from women-identified cultures—thousands of centuries old and based on harmony with nature—to the relatively recent creation of male-dominated rational/hierarchical systems of thought. Merchant documents the deliberate use of misogynist strategies by European scientists such as Bacon and Descartes to dominant and control nature. She presents a convincing framework for understanding modern technological neuroses.
Ecofeminism and the Sacred
Carol Adams, ed., New York: The Continuum Publishing Company, 1993.
This one-of-a-kind collection of essays looks at the spiritual side of ecofeminist issues. The book's vibrant multiculturalism is one of its most compelling features. Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Native American spirituality, "afrocentric ecowomanism", and shamanism are all represented.
Ecofeminism: Women, Animals, Nature
Greta Gaard, ed., Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.
This stimulating collection of essays is must reading for serious ecofeminist thinkers. Even though most of the authors are academics, Gaard, a committed activist, makes sure theory does not upstage action. The book's strong emphasis on animal rights underscores the contention of many ecofeminists that speciesism is an integral part of liberation politics.
Ecofeminist Literary Criticism: Theory, Interpretation, Pedagogy
Greta Gaard and Patrick Murphey, eds., Urbana and Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1998.
Ecofeminism continues to spread its wings and impact other disciplines. This anthology examines the work of Octavia Butler, Terry Tempest Williams, Ursula LeGuin, Ana Castillo, and Linda Hogan, among others. It goes without saying that the essay, "Grass-Roots Ecofeminism: Activating Utopia" by Cathleen and Colleen McGuire is especially worth reading!
Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism
Judith Plant, ed., Philadelphia: New Society, 1989.
Plant, a bioregional activist, has collected a series of essays with a grassroots emphasis that speak to budding ecofeminists. The forward is by the late Green Party member Petra Kelly. Other contributors include Joanna Macy, Ursula LeGuin, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Dolores LaChapelle, Anne Cameron, Vandana Shiva, Ynestra King, Marti Kheel, Starhawk, and Susan Griffin.
Hypatia, a Journal of Feminist Philosophy
Special Spring 1991 issue on "Ecological Feminism."
This collection of ecofeminist essays is well worth reading, but bear in mind it is very intellectual, abstruse, and written primarily by and for the Ph.D. crowd. Also, typical for the academy, it totally lacks a women’s spirituality perspective, Contact Journals Manager, IU Press, 10th & Morton Streets, Bloomington, IN 47405.
Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective
Marti Kheel, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., 2008
A Berkeley scholar, Marti Kheel has been an influential feminist contributor to intellectual discussions of animal rights and environmentalism for many years. Nature Ethics argues that masculine interpretations of nature are so abstract that empathy and care for individual beings is lost. Kheel proposes an ecofeminist construct that can heal the divisions between disparate movements and philosophies such as feminism, animal advocay, environmental ethics, and holistic health.
Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism
Irene Diamond and Gloria Feman Orenstein, ed., San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1990.
This multicultural collection of essays was one of the first anthologies on ecofeminism available. It's a very accessible introduction to deeper levels of ecofeminist thinking. The contributors include Starhawk, Paula Gunn Allen, Susan Griffin, Marti Kheel, Ynestra King, Vandana Shiva, Michael Zimmerman, Riane Eisler, Carolyn Merchant, Cynthia Hamilton, and Charlene Spretnak.
Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development
Vandana Shiva, London: Zed Press, 1988.
Shiva presents the links between colonialism, oppression of women, and the destruction of the environment. Based in New Delhi, she feels economic progress, or "maldevelopment," marginalizes and exploits both nature and women. She urges Western science to listen to the wisdom of all women in order to learn about harmony, diversity, and sustainability.