Environmental Infrastructure in African History offers a new approach for analyzing and narrating environmental change. Environmental change conventionally is understood as occurring in a linear fashion, moving from a state of more nature to a state of less nature and more culture. In this model, non-Western and pre-modern societies live off natural resources, whereas more modern societies rely on artifact, or nature that is transformed and domesticated through science and technology into culture. In contrast, Emmanuel Kreike argues that both non-Western and pre-modern societies inhabit a dynamic middle ground between nature and culture. He asserts that humans – in collaboration with plants, animals, and other animate and inanimate forces – create environmental infrastructure that constantly is remade and re-imagined in the face of ongoing processes of change.
1. The ends of nature and culture
2. Architects of nature
3. Dark earths: field and farm environmental infrastructure
4. Water and woodland harvesting: village environmental infrastructure
5. Browse and burn: bush savanna as environmental infrastructure
6. Valuing environmental infrastructure and the myth of natural resources management
7. Science and the failure to conquer nature: environing and the modern west
Emmanuel Kreike is Professor of History at Princeton University. He is the author of Deforestation and Reforestation in Namibia: The Global Consequences of Local Contradictions (2010) and Re-Creating Eden: Land Use, Environment, and Society in Southern Angola and Northern Namibia (2004). Professor Kreike has contributed chapters to several volumes, including The Nature of Cities (edited by Andrew C. Isenberg, 2006) and Social History and African Environments (edited by William Beinart and Joann McGregor, 2003). He serves on the Executive Committee of the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) and the Boaard of Princeton-in-Africa (PiAF).