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Martin Kalb
Bridgewater College (Bridgewater, VA 22812-1599)
Nature and the Making of German Southwest Africa, 1885-1915

Research and writing leading to publication of an environmental history of German Southwest Africa (1884-1915).

My book project is an environmental history of empires, in this case, of German Southwest Africa (1884-1915). I contend that taking environmental factors into account further complicates existing understandings of German colonial fantasies. Germany dreamed of a model colony, envisioned as a profitable agricultural settler society. Realities on the ground, however, threatened such visions of empire, and repeatedly hindered German efforts in the region. The most important challenges were tied to issues of land accessibility and water scarcity. Massive investments into harbor structures, irrigation, and other imperial infrastructures soon shaped broader policies, especially following the 1904 Herero and Nama Uprising. Unintended consequences and overall failures, combined with the employment of everyday violence of the colonial state to achieve its fantasies, eventually transformed nature and people but also shaped the imperial imaginations of German colonialists. [Edited by staff]

Project fields:
African History; European History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2019 – 6/30/2019