Skip to content

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist
Environment, Power, and Injustice

Environment, Power, and Injustice
A South African History

$35.99 (C)

Part of Studies in Environment and History

  • Date Published: June 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521010702

$ 35.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • 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
    Read more

    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 is a valuable contribution to the growing literature on environmental history in southern Africa." African Studies Review

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521010702
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 21 b/w illus. 6 maps 3 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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:
    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

  • 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.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.