In this highly original environmental history, Samuel Dolbee sheds new light on borders and state formation by following locusts and revealing how they shaped both the environment and people's imaginations from the late Ottoman Empire to the Second World War. Drawing on a wide range of archival research in multiple languages, Dolbee details environmental, political, and spatial transformations in the region's history by tracing the movements of locusts and their intimate relationship to people in motion, including Arab and Kurdish nomads, Armenian deportees, and Assyrian refugees, as well as states of the region. With locusts and moving people at center stage, surprising continuities and ruptures appear in the Jazira, the borderlands of today's Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Transcending approaches focused on the collapse of the Ottoman Empire or the creation of nation states, Dolbee provides a new perspective on the modern Middle East grounded in environmental change, state violence, and popular resistance.
Book Talk with Samuel Dolbee: Locusts of Power: Borders, Empire and Environment in the Modern Middle East
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Samuel Dolbee is an Assistant Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. Dolbee is an environmental historian of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East, with interests in agriculture, disease, and science. He teaches courses in the Department of History and as part of the Climate Studies major. He received his PhD from New York University in 2017. He was a lecturer on History & Literature at Harvard University before joining Vanderbilt University.
Karl Appuhn will serve as the discussant. Appuhn is an Associate Professor of History And Italian at New York University. He is the author of A Forest on the Sea: Environmental Expertise in Renaissance Venice (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009). His areas of research includes environmental history, history of science, technology, and medicine, history of animals, Mediterranean history, Italian Renaissance.
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