Santiago Gorostiza, “’There Are the Pyrenees!’ Fortifying the Nation in Francoist Spain,” Environmental History 23:4 (October 2018), 797-823.

From the abstract:

Literature on war and the environment has examined a wide range of militarized landscapes, but massive fortification systems such as the Maginot or Siegfried lines, which are symbols of a military trend in vogue during the interwar period, have largely been ignored. These military walls interwove natural and national values and constituted massive landscape interventions, aimed at reinforcing political borders, embedded in—and relying upon—geographical features. This article examines a late example of this trend: the fortification of the Pyrenees border that the Spanish dictatorship carried out during the 1940s. Particularly after the liberation of France in 1944, the Francoist regime engaged in a serious effort to build a fortification system in the Pyrenees, fearing a potential invasion; by the early 1950s, several thousands of bunkers formed what became the Pyrenees Line. … The militarization of the Pyrenees shows how walls, fences, and other forms of fortification can be a fertile ground for environmental history to explore the mix of culture and nature as well as the political implications of the concept of natural borders.

New publications august

After lots of hard work and a long wait, several crucial resources for our project are finally out in publication.

David Bello, Across Forest, Steppe, and Mountain: Environment, Identity, and Empire in Qing China’s Borderlands (Cambridge University Press, 2016). This is a major addition to the steadily advancing literature on the environmental history of China and its vast and varying border regions, by a leading China specialist at Washington and Lee University.

John Agbonifo, Environment and Conflict: The Place and Logic of Collective Action in the Niger Delta (Routledge, 2018).  The collision between the global petroleum industry, Nigeria’s government and military, and the ethnic peoples of the Niger Delta, has been a notorious example of social and environmental degradation.  This is an impressive study by a leading Nigerian historian.

Jason W. Smith, To Master the Boundless Sea: The U.S. Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire (University of North Carolina Press, 2018).  The work of a military / environmental historian at Southern Connecticut State University, this is a substantial addition to the literature on the ecological dimensions of imperialism and military power.

Sam White, The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounter with North America (Harvard University Press, 2017), and Dagomar Degroot, The Frigid Golden Age: Climate Change, the Little Ice Age, and the Dutch Republic, 1560-1720 (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Two path-breaking works on the seventeenth century by leading climate historians, these books probe the imperial Dutch and British navies in the Age of Conquest, in the setting of environmental history.

Simo Laakkonen, Richard Tucker, and Timo Vuorisalo, eds., The Long Shadows: A Global Environmental History of the Second World War (Oregon State University Press, 2017).  With essays by seventeen scholars in Europe and North America, including chapters on Asia, Africa and Latin America, this is the first broadly based environmental history of the world-engulfing cataclysm.

Richard P. Tucker, Tait Keller, J.R. McNeill, and Martin Schmid,eds., Environmental Histories of the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 2018). The work of fourteen scholars on four continents, this new collection complements The Long Shadows and two other multi-author volumes on the environmental history of the Second World War, which are forthcoming in 2019.

The environmental history of Korea has generally been neglected until recently.  Warfare has repeatedly plagued the peninsula’s history, and we have been waiting for studies of environmental consequences of Korea’s wars to appear.  We welcome the May 2018 issue of the Journal of Asian Studies, which has an impressive set of essays covering more than four centuries of its history.  This is a major addition to the growing literature on war and environment in Asia.


Journal of Asian Studies, May 2018: War and Environment in Korean History

Introduction to a Forum on War and Environment on the Korean Peninsula, 1598–1965


Postwar Pines: The Military and the Expansion of State Forests in Post-Imjin Korea, 1598–1684


Sowing War, Reaping Peace: United Nations Resource Development Programs in the Republic of Korea, 1950–1953


The Reshaping of Landscapes: Systems of Mediation, War, and Slow Violence


Wartime Forestry and the “Low Temperature Lifestyle” in Late Colonial Korea, 1937–1945


Woods and Warfare in Korea and the World: A View from China


Extreme Civil War

Matthew M. Stith, Extreme Civil War: Guerrilla Warfare, Environment, and Race on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier (Louisiana State University Press, 2016)

This is an important contribution to the growing literature on the environmental dimensions of the American Civil War. In this study of the western frontier Stith joins the scholars who are providing the richest environmental perspectives that we yet have on any modern industrial war, as that campaign opened the way to environmental conquest of the western United States and then across the Pacific.