About Me

October 2018

Welcome! I am an environmental historian, someone who studies the relationships and entanglements between humans and natural systems, with a regional specialization in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.  My research focuses on the ways that historic human interventions such as public works construction as well as destructive actions such as war have not only reshaped landscapes but also produced legacies that often continue to play into  international, environmental and development politics today. My first book, Quagmire: Nation-Building and Nature in the Mekong Delta, focuses on hydro-engineering and its association with politics of colonialism and post-colonial struggles in Vietnam. My second, newly published book Footprints of War focuses more squarely on how certain landscapes become militarized and the long-term legacies of these spaces in shaping later conflicts as well as challenging post-war development.  Besides these book projects, my essays have applied these approaches to related issues such as chemical weapons histories and cleanups, international river basin management, and military base transfers. My work also draws heavily from use of historic maps and aerial photography, and I integrate this into many of my studies. I am currently working on two projects, an introductory history of Southeast Asia and a new research project that follows flows of people, plants, animals, materials and machinery across the Pacific, from California to Vietnam and points in between to show how the economies and ecologies of the Pacific Rim have become deeply interconnected with similar landscape problems and similar challenges to achieving equitable and environmentally sustainable economies.

This blog exists primarily as a means to share research and post  recent news for anyone interested in following it. Over the next several months I am adding posts featuring background archival materials, maps, and an extensive collection of photos associated with Footprints.  Eventually I plan to add older materials associated with Quagmire on the Mekong Delta, too. Please email if you have any questions or comments.

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