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Environing Empire: Nature, Infrastructure and the Making of German Southwest Africa

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Volume 23

Environment in History: International Perspectives

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Environing Empire

Nature, Infrastructure and the Making of German Southwest Africa

Martin Kalb

322 pages, 28 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-290-2 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (April 2022)

eISBN 978-1-80073-457-9 eBook

View CartYour country: United States - edit   Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub format Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“In this compelling portrait of how non-human actors—from ocean currents to arid interiors to naval shipworms—thwarted German colonial ambitions, Martin Kalb fills a significant gap in the scholarship about a country and a region of growing international interest to environmentalists and ecotourists.” • Thomas M. Lekan, University of Southern Carolina


Even leaving aside the vast death and suffering that it wrought on indigenous populations, German ambitions to transform Southwest Africa in the early part of the twentieth century were futile for most. For years colonists wrestled ocean waters, desert landscapes, and widespread aridity as they tried to reach inland in their effort of turning outwardly barren lands into a profitable settler colony. In his innovative environmental history, Martin Kalb outlines the development of the colony up to World War I, deconstructing the common settler narrative, all to reveal the importance of natural forces and the Kaisereich’s everyday violence.

Martin Kalb is an Associate Professor of History at Bridgewater College in Virginia. His research on the histories of everyday life (Alltagsgeschichte), youth, and environmental history has appeared in academic journals and edited volumes; his monograph Coming of Age: Constructing and Controlling Youth in Munich, 1942–1973 was published in 2016.

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present Environmental Studies (General)
Area: Africa


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