1 Lowe, “Viral Clouds.”
2 Kirksey, Shapiro, and Brodine, “Hope in Blasted Landscapes.”
3 Emergence equates with entstehung, the moment of arising, in a classic
essay: Foucault, “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” 148–52.
4 The Clements-Gleason controversy has itself been the subject of much
historiographical debate. Geoffrey Bowker recounts the debate to suggest
ecosystems belong to a “class of things which it is hard to classify” (Memory
Practices in the Sciences, 144–45). Comparing their work to the plotlines of
modernist and postmodernist fiction, Debra Journet suggests, “Although
Gleason’s and Clements’s theories were not necessarily influenced by fic-
tion, they parallel it in remarkable ways. . . . Notions of coherence, direc-
tion, and progress—or
of their opposites—become part of the way groups
of people make sense of reality” (“Ecological Theories as Cultural Narra-
tives,” 467). Christopher Eliot, a philosopher, suggests that the difference
between Clements and Gleason lies “in methodology, not metaphysics”
(“Method and Metaphysics in Clements’s and Gleason’s Ecological Explana-
tions,” 86). Clements, Research Methods in Ecology, 282, 302; Clements, Plant
Succession, 30; Clements, “Nature and the Structure of the Climax,” 254;
Gleason, “The Individualistic Concept of Plant Association,” 16, 7.
5 The lasting value of Tansley’s 1935 paper “comes not in his concluding litany
of terminology (most of which is now altered or abandoned),” conclude Joe
Mascaro and colleagues, “but in his flashes of uncertainty about nature”
(“Origins of the Novel Ecosystems Concept,” 45–47). These uncertainties
relate to the instability of the “biotic communities” described by earlier
researchers like Clements. “Many ecologists hold that all vegetation is
always changing,” to quote from Tansley’s original 1935 paper. “It may be
so: we do not know enough either to affirm or to deny so sweeping a state-
ment.” Tansley also understood that the nonbiotic environment, the physi-
cal factors controlling the climate, were also in flux. Interestingly, Tansley
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