2019-2020 Symposium

Global Environmental Borderlands in the Age of Empire

A joint symposium co-sponsored by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at SMU and Stanford University, co-organized by Johan Elverskog (SMU) and Ali Yaycioglu (Stanford)

The symposium and the resulting volume mark an opportunity to (re)consider the environmental contexts of borderlands and frontiers of different political orders, particularly pluralistic imperial regimes, roughly between the 15th and 19th centuries. While examining how environmentality was negotiated by human actors of bordering (or overlapping) political regimes, we also intend to explore possibilities that go beyond the binaries between nature and culture, and environmental and political orders.

Participants include:

Robert Batchelor (Georgia Southern University), Ocean Currents as Borderlands: The Case of the Western Pacific
David Bello (Washington & Lee University), Qing Imperial Pastoralism in Trans-Grassland Practice
Isa Blumi (Stockholm University), Defining Empire: The Commodification of Borderland Nature in Albania and Yemen
Purnima Dhavan (University of Washington), Crafting a New Paradise: Imperial Power and Sufi Mediation in Mughal Kashmir
Blake Earle (Texas A&M - Galveston), Fisheries and Environmental Administration along the Fringes of Empire: The United States and Great Britain in the North Atlantic
Jarrod Hore (Macquarie University), Underworlds and Borderlands: Colonial Geology in the Pacific World
Ryan Jones (University of Oregon), Whales, Russians, Tungus, and Americans: The Sea of Okhotsk’s Living Oceanic Borderland
Martin Kalb (Bridgewater College), Namibia’s Beaches as a Colonial Environmental Borderland
Nathaniel Millett (Saint Louis University), Native People and the Caribbean Environment: c. 1550-1850
Ruth Morgan (Monash University), Camels in the Australian Desert: A More than Human History of Water and Settler Colonialism
Kathryn Olivarius (Stanford University), Immunocapitalism: Epidemiology and Empire in the American South

The symposium will occur in two stages and in two places. The scholars will first meet in the fall of 2019 at SMU’s campus in Taos, NM, where there will be a private workshop for participants. They will then gather to workshop again and hold a public symposium at Stanford in the spring of 2020. Each Clements Center symposium follows a similar model and each has resulted in a book published by a prominent academic press. 

Images: The Earth Scything Its Way Across the Landscape, courtesy of Melike Köylüo─člu; Japanese Botanical, courtesy of Wikimedia