The Death of Nature - what little I read of it (merely excerpts for Prof. Barad's course) - was an interesting book, and I wouldn't mind going back to read it (or at least parts of it) again, if I can find the time.

The author of that work was quite correct in her analysis of Bacon and the "Enlightenment" - its views of nature, and so forth. The Enlightenment treated nature as an object to be mastered, to be tamed. This is not surprising for several reasons. In a world-view in which the individual plays such an important role, it is only, um, natural, for nature to be an other. Let us not forget that the Enlightenment was a primarily cosmopolitan, and hence urban, movement - insofar as nature and the city were opposites, the domination of nature seems like a reasonably consequence (although not necessarily a ncessary consequence) - establishing causality and purpose is different that establishing correlation.

Insofar as the Enlightenment coincided with economic expansion, often driven by the need for coal, wood, etc., it is easy to see how nature became merely a tool of man. To what extent these events are related by more than merely coincidence of time is another matter.

Some would argue that the Enlightenment and the domination of Nature is a gendered process, for with the Enlightenment we have the vision of the Man, and with Nature we have "Mother Nature" - hence, the domination of nature by man is the domination of the feminine by the masculine. So far, so good. Perhaps.

Perhaps not.

Why is it "mother" nature? We have both the terms "Motherland" and "Fatherland" - land - the earth, the country, the whatever - can be both masculine and feminine. France was definitely feminine it seems, if one observes paintings from around the French Revolution. Or, the Statue of Liberty - is it a sign of the nation? Or merely an allegory of Liberty.

Metaphors and allegories aside, nature is not feminine. Mankind is not masculine, and although for the sake of a cultural/historical analysis it is quite useful to treat these constructs as more than illusion, when we discuss now and what our utopian vision may be - our concept of progress, or our plans for improving the now, we must set these childish notions aside.