Locusts of Power: Borders, Empire, and Environment in the Modern Middle East

Book Talks

Locusts of Power: Borders, Empire, and Environment in the Modern Middle East

Book talk by Professor Samuel Dolbee of Vanderbilt University, organized by the Richard Hovannisian Chair of Modern Armenian History at UCLA, the Armenian Genocide Research Program of the Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA and the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies (CNES).

Monday, October 2, 2023
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM (Pacific Time)
Bunche Hall, Room 10383
11282 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095
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In this original environmental history, Samuel Dolbee sheds new light on borders and state formation by following locusts and revealing how they shaped both the environment and people's imaginations from the late Ottoman Empire to the Second World War. Drawing on a wide range of archival research in multiple languages, Dolbee details environmental, political, and spatial transformations in the region's history by tracing the movements of locusts and their intimate relationship to people in motion, including Arab and Kurdish nomads, Armenian deportees, and Assyrian refugees, as well as states of the region. With locusts and moving people at center stage, surprising continuities and ruptures appear in the Jazira, the borderlands of today's Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Transcending approaches focused on the collapse of the Ottoman Empire or the creation of nation states, Dolbee provides a new perspective on the modern Middle East grounded in environmental change, state violence, and popular resistance.


Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies