Right in this moment when global change takes on a clearer and more threatening appearance, there seems to be an echo between the becoming of the Earth and the coming-back of earth – or land. Pay attention to capitals! This is not about the Earth with a capital E, the singular planet, the large blue marble, but about a lower case version of earth, the humble, stained material that is the stuff of labour. It is about the land that one shares or conquers, the soil that one measures, the place from where one comes, that one leaves, that one harks back to. Land is coming back from the remote confines of history that was once thought to be its rightful place, its significations pruned down as they had been by modernity's sharp edges. We thought that we had been forever freed from the ties wrought by land. And still, before our eyes, these ties animate our sciences, our imaginaries, our life choices, our political futures again. Land is coming back. What does that say about ourselves? What does such a comeback make thinkable? And how does one come back to land?
This issue of Tracés approaches land as a conceptual object, as a power issue, and as the site of many agencies and political possibilities. Ten contributions (translation, note, dialogue and original papers) from several disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences (geography, history, philosophy, anthropology) each shed light on a different side of the comeback of land, reinstating land as a major contemporary concern.