Dust Bowls of Empire Imperialism, Environmental Politics, and the Injustice of "Green" Capitalism Hannah Holleman

Yale Agrarian Studies Series
Publication date:
08 Jan 2019
Yale University Press
256 pages: 210 x 140 x 22mm
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A profound reinterpretation of the Dust Bowl on the U.S. southern plains and its relevance for today

The 1930s witnessed a harrowing social and ecological disaster, defined by the severe nexus of drought, erosion, and economic depression that ravaged the U.S. southern plains. Known as the Dust Bowl, this crisis has become a major referent of the climate change era, and has long served as a warning of the dire consequences of unchecked environmental despoliation.
Through innovative research and a fresh theoretical lens, Hannah Holleman reexamines the global socioecological and economic forces of settler colonialism and imperialism precipitating this disaster, explaining critical antecedents to the acceleration of ecological degradation in our time. Holleman draws lessons from this period that point a way forward for environmental politics as we confront the growing global crises of climate change, freshwater scarcity, extreme energy, and soil degradation.

Hannah Holleman is assistant professor of sociology at Amherst College, where she works in the areas of social theory, environmental sociology, environmental studies, political economy, and social movements.

“Holleman brings not only a passion for justice, but also a Marxian perspective to her subject in lucid, jargon-free prose that will be accessible to all audiences.” —Steve Knight, Marx and Philosophy

Listed on Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles List for 2019

“Hannah Holleman makes the links between the past and present so starkly clear that it is impossible not to share the book’s conclusions regarding the necessity of both significant social change and a completely new approach to global environmental policy and politics.”—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

“In Dust Bowls of Empire, Hannah Holleman brilliantly examines the links between global social processes and regional ecological outcomes. The result is an original and thought-provoking analysis of an iconic event in U.S. environmental history.”—Stefano B. Longo, North Carolina State University

“In an age of climate change and an escalating global land rush, Hannah Holleman shows with superb clarity how social domination leads to eco-imperialism and environmental degradation, and why the route to saving the planet must lie through social justice.”—Fred Pearce, author of The Land Grabbers: The New Fight over Who Owns the Earth

“A rigorous analysis of the logics of capitalism, which generates the destruction of agrarian land. A capital-friendly green policy is therefore an oxymoron. ‘Green’ demands moving out of capitalism.”—Samir Amin, author of Modern Imperialism, Monopoly Finance Capital, and Marx's Law of Value

"A clear and insightful analysis of the role of capitalism and colonialism in causing the U.S. Dust Bowl of the 1930s and destroying farmland around the world today. Essential reading for ecology activists."—Ian Angus, author of Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System