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  • Preface vii

    Introduction / Paul Greenough and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing 1

    Part I Scales, Logics, and Agents

    Tropical Knowledges

    The Natures of Culture: Environment and Race in the Colonial Tropics / Warwick Anderson 29

    Dividing Lines: Nature, Culture, and Commerce in Indonesia's Aru Islands, 1856-1997 / Charles Zerner 47

    A Move from Minor to Major: Competing Discourses of Nontimber Forest Products in India / Roger Jeffery and Nandini Sundar, with Abha Mishra, Neeraj Peter, and Pradeep J. Tharakan 79

    Rural Landscaping

    Forest Discourses in South and Southeast Asia: A Comparison with Global Discourses / Michael R. Dove 103

    Agrarian Allegory and Global Futures / Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing 124

    Foreign Trees: Lives and Landscapes in Rajasthan / Ann Grodzins Gold 170

    Part II Toward Livable Environments: Compromises and Campaigns

    States of Nature / States in Nature

    Pathogens, Pugmarks, and Political "Emergency": The 1970s South Asian Debate on Nature / Paul Greenough 201

    Territorializing Local Struggles for Resource Control; A Look at Environmnetal Discourses and Politics in Indonesia / Nancy Lee Peluso 231

    Scientific Forestry and Geneaologies of Development in Bengal / K. Sivaramakrishnan 253

    Uneasy Allies

    Tribal Politics and Discourses of Indian Environmentalism / Amita Baviskar 289

    Voices for the Borneo Rain Forest: Writing the History of an Environmental Campaign / J. Peter Brosius 319

    Practical Spirituality and Community Forests: Monks, Ritual, and Radical Conservatism in Thailand / Susan M. Darlington 347

    Bibliography 367

    Contributors 411

    Index 413
  • Paul Greenough

    Warwick Anderson

    Charles Zerner

    Roger Jeffrey

    Michael R. Dove

    Ann Grodzins Gold

    Nancy Lee Peluso

    K. Sivaramakrishnan

    Amita Baviskar

    J. Peter Brosius

    Susan M. Darlington

    Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

    Nandini Sundar

  • “[M]eticulously and thoroughly researched. . . . [C]ontribute[s] significantly to the understanding of environmental politics and history in the Asian continent.”

    “[A]n essential read for anyone wanting to better understand the impact both of ‘Foreign activists,’ the dilemmas facing indigenous hill tribes, and more importantly of aid donor countries in this vital area of our planet.”

    “As a whole, the book is well written and researched. Its strength is that it not only contains a large body of interesting research on environmental issues but that it extends beyond the research to successfully map out the history, context, problems, and future implications that surround contemporary natural resources issues in these regions. Consequently, the book may serve as a useful commentary in a variety of discourses – from anthropology to economics, to sociology, political science, and biology.”

    “Looking at environmental projects and mobilizations, Nature in the Global South provides the reader with an in-depth, multifaceted analysis of environmental projects, the scope of which is broader than earlier studies, conducted in a similar vein. The strength of the research lies in providing potential welfare improvements in South and Southeast Asia.”

    “The book offers insightful investigations into regional scholarship on environmental discourses and will be useful for activists and academics.”

    “This set of extraordinary case studies by authors from several countries and disciplines explores historically the politics of nature in particular local contexts through environmental projects, movements, and associated discourses. . . . The editors provide an unusually imaginative and provocative introduction that nicely integrates the main concerns of the anthology. . . .
    [R]efreshing and insightful. . . . This set of high-quality case studies contributes a relatively new perspective on human-environment interactions in the regions covered. . . . Published at the turn from the 20th century into the 21st, this book provides a convenient benchmark for a diagnosis of
    the political ecology of the past and a prognosis for its future in tropical Asia.”

    "[A] pathbreaking work because of its original and detailed explorations of environmental discourses in South and Southeast Asia. Scholars and advanced students both of the region and of modern environmentalism would do well to consult it. Because of the dearth of English language materials concerned at such a complex level with local Asian debates on environmental issues, libraries with major collections in South Asian and Southeast Asian studies, particularly India and Indonesia, should acquire this volume. It is also recommended for interested general readers, since the editors have ensured that they can engage with this volume’s intriguing environmental topics without confronting heavy, overly academic language."

    "[A]t heart, the authors have a good political line: that partisan scholarship to raise the interests of tribals, peasants and workers can go hand-in-hand with political activism. Together both can challenge the conclusion of development economics and 'global ecologism.' . . . [A] good index and a splendid bibliography."

    "[T]his collection of essays decidedly advances our understanding of how the tropics and its inhabitants have been conceptualized and transformed by colonial and postcolonial regimes, sometimes for the worse, and how uneasy alliances are being formed in the present between Northern and Southern, rural and urban, local and global allies and enemies."

    "[T]his volume provides a number of fresh insights into the study of nature in southern environments."

    "This book provides interesting accounts of the interactions between people and natural resources in South and Southeast Asia. It will be useful to anthropologists and sociologists. . . . I would recommend it as a starting point for economists embarking on interdisciplinary research in this area."

    "This is a stunning book. . . .[T]he breadth and depth of historical and ethnographic material brought together in one collection to show how the idea of nature governs relations not only between people and environment, but also the wider field of social and political relations, is quite unique. . . . [T]his is a book that environmental activists and the non-governmental organization community need to read to move forward from some of the impasses and increasingly tired critiques and counter-critiques that shape debate on environment and development."

    Reviews

  • “[M]eticulously and thoroughly researched. . . . [C]ontribute[s] significantly to the understanding of environmental politics and history in the Asian continent.”

    “[A]n essential read for anyone wanting to better understand the impact both of ‘Foreign activists,’ the dilemmas facing indigenous hill tribes, and more importantly of aid donor countries in this vital area of our planet.”

    “As a whole, the book is well written and researched. Its strength is that it not only contains a large body of interesting research on environmental issues but that it extends beyond the research to successfully map out the history, context, problems, and future implications that surround contemporary natural resources issues in these regions. Consequently, the book may serve as a useful commentary in a variety of discourses – from anthropology to economics, to sociology, political science, and biology.”

    “Looking at environmental projects and mobilizations, Nature in the Global South provides the reader with an in-depth, multifaceted analysis of environmental projects, the scope of which is broader than earlier studies, conducted in a similar vein. The strength of the research lies in providing potential welfare improvements in South and Southeast Asia.”

    “The book offers insightful investigations into regional scholarship on environmental discourses and will be useful for activists and academics.”

    “This set of extraordinary case studies by authors from several countries and disciplines explores historically the politics of nature in particular local contexts through environmental projects, movements, and associated discourses. . . . The editors provide an unusually imaginative and provocative introduction that nicely integrates the main concerns of the anthology. . . .
    [R]efreshing and insightful. . . . This set of high-quality case studies contributes a relatively new perspective on human-environment interactions in the regions covered. . . . Published at the turn from the 20th century into the 21st, this book provides a convenient benchmark for a diagnosis of
    the political ecology of the past and a prognosis for its future in tropical Asia.”

    "[A] pathbreaking work because of its original and detailed explorations of environmental discourses in South and Southeast Asia. Scholars and advanced students both of the region and of modern environmentalism would do well to consult it. Because of the dearth of English language materials concerned at such a complex level with local Asian debates on environmental issues, libraries with major collections in South Asian and Southeast Asian studies, particularly India and Indonesia, should acquire this volume. It is also recommended for interested general readers, since the editors have ensured that they can engage with this volume’s intriguing environmental topics without confronting heavy, overly academic language."

    "[A]t heart, the authors have a good political line: that partisan scholarship to raise the interests of tribals, peasants and workers can go hand-in-hand with political activism. Together both can challenge the conclusion of development economics and 'global ecologism.' . . . [A] good index and a splendid bibliography."

    "[T]his collection of essays decidedly advances our understanding of how the tropics and its inhabitants have been conceptualized and transformed by colonial and postcolonial regimes, sometimes for the worse, and how uneasy alliances are being formed in the present between Northern and Southern, rural and urban, local and global allies and enemies."

    "[T]his volume provides a number of fresh insights into the study of nature in southern environments."

    "This book provides interesting accounts of the interactions between people and natural resources in South and Southeast Asia. It will be useful to anthropologists and sociologists. . . . I would recommend it as a starting point for economists embarking on interdisciplinary research in this area."

    "This is a stunning book. . . .[T]he breadth and depth of historical and ethnographic material brought together in one collection to show how the idea of nature governs relations not only between people and environment, but also the wider field of social and political relations, is quite unique. . . . [T]his is a book that environmental activists and the non-governmental organization community need to read to move forward from some of the impasses and increasingly tired critiques and counter-critiques that shape debate on environment and development."

  • “Bringing together insights from cultural studies, critical anthropology, and environmental history, this collection provides a robust rethinking of regionalism in South and Southeast Asia. Nature in the Global South makes crucial contributions to the emerging interdisciplinary field of the cultural politics of environmental struggles, assembling an impressive array of acclaimed scholars.” — Donald S. Moore, coeditor of, Race, Nature, and the Politics of Difference

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  • Description

    A nuanced look at how nature has been culturally constructed in South and Southeast Asia, Nature in the Global South is a major contribution to understandings of the politics and ideologies of environmentalism and development in a postcolonial epoch. Among the many significant paradigms for understanding both the preservation and use of nature in these regions are biological classification, state forest management, tropical ecology, imperial water control, public health, and community-based conservation. Focusing on these and other ways that nature has been shaped and defined, this pathbreaking collection of essays describes projects of exploitation, administration, science, and community protest.

    With contributors based in anthropology, ecology, sociology, history, and environmental and policy studies, Nature in the Global South features some of the most innovative and influential work being done in the social studies of nature. While some of the essays look at how social and natural landscapes are created, maintained, and transformed by scientists, officials, monks, and farmers, others analyze specific campaigns to eradicate smallpox and save forests, waterways, and animal habitats. In case studies centered in the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, and South and Southeast Asia as a whole, contributors examine how the tropics, the jungle, tribes, and peasants are understood and transformed; how shifts in colonial ideas about the landscape led to extremely deleterious changes in rural well-being; and how uneasy environmental compromises are forged in the present among rural, urban, and global allies.

    Contributors:
    Warwick Anderson
    Amita Baviskar
    Peter Brosius
    Susan Darlington
    Michael R. Dove
    Ann Grodzins Gold
    Paul Greenough
    Roger Jeffery
    Nancy Peluso
    K. Sivaramakrishnan
    Nandini Sundar
    Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
    Charles Zerner

    About The Author(s)

    Paul Greenough is Professor in the Departments of History and Community and Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa. He is the author of Prosperity and Misery in Modern Bengal: The Famine of 19431944 and the editor of “Global Immunization and Culture: Compliance and Resistance in Large-Scale Public Health Campaigns,” a special issue of Social Science and Medicine.

    Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of In the Realm of the Diamond Queen: Marginality in an Out-of-the-Way Place and coeditor of Uncertain Terms: Negotiating Gender in American Culture.

Fall 2018
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