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 but creative interest in modern world history.
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. 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, open-access book Footprints of War focuses on how certain landscapes become militarized and the long-term legacies of these spaces in later conflicts and 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 environmental history of Southeast Asia and a study of cities and shorelines, especially the deeply storied riverfront and canals of Saigon!
This blog exists primarily as a means to share my research in one handy place and on occasion to post news for anyone interested in following my work. For cartography nerds, I will also add posts now and then, or by request, featuring archival materials, georeferenced maps, and other materials associated with Footprints. Please email me if you have any questions or comments.
- Mangrove and Megacity: The Watery Origins of Ho Chi Minh City
- After the Fall – Lessons from Vietnam – a Q&A with UCR Media
- Base Closures, Redux…
- Student Blogs and the Pandemic
- Finding Historical Imagery – A Quick Approach