Whether romantic or tragic, accounts of the dramatic events surrounding the North American Dust Bowl of the “dirty thirties” unearthed anxieties buried deep in America’s ecological imagination. Moreover, the images of a landscape of fear remain embedded in the national consciousness today. In vivid form, the aesthetic of suffering captured in Dorothea Lange’s photographs and Woody Guthrie’s folk songs created the myths and memories of the Depression generation.
Dust Bowl, USA is a critical examination of the stories that grew out of the Dust Bowl experience. Across the nation, newspapers, magazines, books, films, and songs produced imagery of blight for local and mass audiences. As new technology, irrigation innovations, and conservation programs were introduced on a wide scale during the 1930s, the saga of the frontier continued to unfold through accounts of dust, drought, and desertification.
In piercing the myths brought forth in legends, lore, allegories, and anecdotes, Brad Lookingbill provides a revelatory insight into the history of the cultural narratives that have come to define an era.
Brad D. Lookingbill is an assistant professor of history and director of the honors program at Columbia College in Missouri. He has published articles, encyclopedia entries, and book reviews on the American West and environmental history. More info →
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For two and a half years (1937-1939), Captain John Seymour Letcher commanded a company of the U.S. Embassy Marine Guard in Peking. During that time, he wrote a series of letters to his parents in Virginia describing the life of a Westerner in the former imperial city. During that same time, China was invaded by Japan.Captain Letcher describes the flavor of life in pre-Communist China—the food, servants, cold Peking winters and torrid summers, hunting, and excursions to the major tourist sites.B
The motto “Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution” was part of the logo of the Second International Congress of Eugenics, held in 1921. However, by the 1930s, the disturbing legacy of this motto had started to reveal itself in the construction of national identities in countries throughout the world. Popular Eugenics is a fascinating look at how such tendencies emerged within the rhetoric, ideology, and visual aesthetics of U.S.
Inventing Global Ecology grapples with how we should understand the development of global ecology in the twentieth century. Using India as the case study, Professor Michael Lewis considers the development of conservation policies and conservation sciences since the end of World War II and the role of United States scientists, ideas, and institutions in this process.
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