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Environment, Power, and Injustice

Environment, Power, and Injustice
A South African History

$34.99 (Z)

Part of Studies in Environment and History

  • Date Published: June 2003
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521010702

$34.99 (Z)
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  • This book presents the socio-environmental history of black people around Kuruman, on the edge of the Kalahari in South Africa. Considering successive periods--Tswana agropastoral chiefdoms before colonial contact, the Cape frontier, British colonial rule, Apartheid, and the homeland of Bophuthatswana in the 1980s--Environment, Power and Injustice shows how the human relationship with the environment corresponded to differences of class, gender, and race. While exploring biological, geological, and climatological forces in history, this book argues that the challenges of existence in a semidesert arose more from human injustice than from deficiencies in the natural environment. In fact, powerful people drew strength from and exercised their power over others through the environment. At the same time, the natural world provided marginal peoples with some relief from human injustice. Nancy J. Jacobs is Assistant Professor in the Department of Africana Studies and the Department of History at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. She is a recipient of the Alice Hamilton article prize from the American Society for Environmental History.

    • A unique exploration of the environmental dynamic in the history of rural black South Africans
    • Explores environmental history from racial, class and gender perspectives
    • Covers Southern African history from precolonial times to segregation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Jacobs is the first historian of the region to mesh the human and natural worlds successfully into a seamless socio-environmental analysis that illuminates historical issues as diverse as weather patterns and river flows, agricultural practice, equity, traditional leadership and modern politics. This is achieved with great insight, and provides a fresh perspective on rural South Africa." Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa

    "Nancy Jacobs's book, firmly based on deep research in the documents, aerial photographs, and personal interviews, is unideological, nuanced, and scientifically as well as morally informed. It is indispensable for the student of South African environmental history." Alfred W. Crosby, author of Throwing Fire and The Measure of Reality

    "Nancy Jacobs's book is an important and innovative one. On the one hand it is a local history of the Kuruman area from precolonial times to late apartheid. On the other hand it originally provides an intersection between environmental and social history, with an additional focus on race. It invites comparison with Colin Murray's Black Mountain, though it covers a far longer time period, and deals with a wider range of issues. It links up problems in new ways, and provides a fresh look at the processes of rural change in South Africa. It is knowledgeable, and offers many original and sometimes controversial interpretations. It makes a stunning book for South African historians, and will be of more general interest to environmental and social historians, as well as those concerned with contemporary land reform." Martin Legassick, University of the Western Cape

    "Opportunities change, local expertise may decline, but the environment still persists with its attendant value. So should this book. It offers a fresh chronological outlook for this region and speaks to issues of state discourse, land, and common livelihood...it is a valuable contribution to the growing literature on environmental history in southern Africa." African Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521010702
    • length: 322 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.428kg
    • contains: 21 b/w illus. 6 maps 3 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Preface
    1. Approaching Kuruman
    2. Goat people and fish people on the agro-pastoral frontier, c. 1750–1830
    3. Intensification and social innovation on the cape frontier:
    1820s–1885
    4. Colonial annexation: land alienation and environmental administration
    5. Environmental trauma, colonial rule and the failure of extensive food production, 1895–1903
    6. The environmental history of a 'labor reservoir', 1903–1970s
    7. Apportioning water, dividing land: segregation, 1910–1977
    8. Betterment and the Bophuthatswana donkey massacre: the environmental rights of tribal subjects
    9. Retrospectives on socio-environmental history and socio-environmental justice
    Appendices.

  • Author

    Nancy J. Jacobs, Brown University, Rhode Island
    Nancy J. Jacobs is Assistant Professor in the Department of African Studies and the Department of History at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA. She is a recipient of the Alice Hamilton article prize from the American Society for Environmental History.

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