I am an environmental historian, someone who studies relationships and entanglements between humans and the natural world, with a regional specialization in Vietnam and Southeast Asia but creative interests locally in Southern California and globally in modern world environmental history.
My academic research focuses on the ways that historic human interventions such as public works projects and wars have reshaped landscapes, reconfigured environmental relationships and produced new social relations. My first book, Quagmire: Nation-Building and Nature in the Mekong Delta, focuses on hydro-engineering, colonialism and nationalism in a bitterly contested wetlands frontier of Vietnam. My second book Footprints of War explores militarized landscapes in Vietnam and reflects on the environmental dimensions of military occupation and conflict as well as long-term legacies for post-war economic development.
Besides these book projects, I apply similar approaches to a host of issues including chemical weapons histories and cleanups, international river basin management, and military base transfers.
My creative work is focused on related issues of environmental history including some forays into public history projects in Southern California and creative projects elsewhere. In this work I often draw on photographs, historic maps, oral histories and field research to support exhibits and collaborative publications.
I am currently working on two book projects, an environmental history of Southeast Asia and a book about Saigon and sinking urban waterfronts in Southeast Asia. I continue also to write a popular and global 20th Century history of the Anthropocene.
This blog exists solely as a means for me to share my research without social media filters or comments. I post from time to time, often with long gaps in between. The purpose of the site is to provide me a place to publicly log my research, writing and work. You are welcome to “follow” me but please respect normal rules of human decency and simply email if you have any questions or comments.
- Reflections: Yogyakarta, Indonesia — 13.Sept.2023
- 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