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Biglari, Mattin and Muojama, Olisa Godson (2023) 'Global Histories of Environment and Labour in Asia and Africa.' In: O'Gorman, Emily, San Martín, William, Carey, Mark and Swart, Sandra, (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Environmental History. London: Routledge, pp. 247-260.

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Abstract

Since the 1990s, historians have explored the relationship between environment and labour in Europe, North America, and Latin America. Only since the 2010s, however, has there been a growing body of similar scholarship concerning Asia and Africa. This chapter surveys this burgeoning field to highlight the similarities and differences between Global North and South, while also offering conceptual and methodological suggestions. First, the chapter reviews how colonialism and colonial modernity have shaped labour and environment through several themes: alienation, knowledge, health, subjectivity, and resistance. Next, it considers how energy history is a particularly productive space to think about how labour and environment are tied together but separated in effect, requiring multiscalar analysis. The final section offers a case study to illustrate these themes in the history of the Nigerian oil industry. The chapter offers the conclusion that the timing of the colonial and postcolonial periods makes labour and environment of special relevance to these regions, distinct from histories of Europe and the Americas. It also highlights plurality across multiple spaces and questions the applicability of Euro-Atlantic concepts. By foregrounding languages and epistemologies of these regions, there is great scope to change existing knowledge of how labouring bodies relate to the world.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies
ISBN: 9781032003597
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the chapter accepted for publication in: O'Gorman, Emily, San Martín, William, Carey, Mark and Swart, Sandra, (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Environmental History. London: Routledge, pp. 247-260. Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003189350-21
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2023 19:08
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/40281

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