The essays collected in Cultivating the Colonies demonstrate how the relationship between colonial power and nature reveals the nature of power. Each essay explores how colonial governments translated ideas about the management of exotic nature and foreign people into practice, and how they literally "got their hands dirty" in the business of empire.
The eleven essays include studies of animal husbandry in the Philippines, farming in Indochina, and indigenous medicine in India. They are global in scope, ranging from the Russian North to Mozambique, examining the consequences of colonialism on nature, including its impact on animals, fisheries, farmlands, medical practices, and even the diets of indigenous people.
Cultivating the Colonies establishes beyond all possible doubt the importance of the environment as a locus for studying the power of the colonial state.
Christina Folke Ax is currently working at the University of Iceland. She has published articles in the Scandinavian Journal of History and in Nordic Perspectives on Encountering Foreignness.
Niels Brimnes is an associate professor of history at Aarhus University in Denmark. He is the author of Constructing the Colonial Encounter: Right and Left Hand Castes in Early Colonial South India.
Niklas Thode Jensen is a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of History and Civilization at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. His forthcoming book is titled For the Health of the Enslaved: Slaves, Medicine and Power in the Danish West Indies, 1803-1848.
Karen Oslund is an assistant professor of world history at Towson University in Maryland. Her publications include Iceland Imagined: Nature, Culture, and Storytelling in the North Atlantic and a coedited volume with David L. Hoyt, The Study of Language and the Politics of Community in Global Context,1740-1940.