January 17, 2018

Gallery Editor’s Note, October 2015

by Finis Dunaway

In this issue’s Gallery essay, Bob Reinhardt considers a diverse set of images produced in conjunction with the global campaign to eradicate smallpox. Focusing on three images that circulated in Nigeria during the late 1960s, Reinhardt shows how national and international health authorities promoted the vaccination program through the strategic use of magazine and poster illustrations. According to Reinhardt, these images celebrated humanity’s technological triumph over the deadly disease and effaced global power dynamics by presenting local people involved in a universal campaign to defeat smallpox. His essay complements this issue’s Forum on technology, ecology, and human health since 1850 by demonstrating how visual analysis can complicate historical interpretations of disease, technology, and health.

I have

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been a fan of the Gallery section ever since Kathryn Morse and Adam Rome launched this unique feature of the journal twelve years ago. I am delighted to serve as the new Gallery editor and want to thank Lisa Brady, Neil Maher, and Cindy Ott for their enormous assistance and advice during this transition period. I hope to build on the excellent work of my predecessors by treating the Gallery section as a creative and capacious forum. I look forward to working with authors who want to probe the myriad ways that images can enrich and enliven our field.

Bob Reinhardt’s “Smallpox Denaturalized, Demonized, and Eradicable” >>

Gallery Editor’s Note on Oxford Journals >>

Chesterfield Inlet, 1949, and the Ecology of Epidemic Polio

Fig5Piper-550 by Liza Piper

Environmental historians have yet to engage with the history of polio. This article uses a 1949 outbreak that occurred during the global height of polio epidemics but in an unexpected place, Chesterfield Inlet in the Canadian Arctic, to examine the influence of Arctic environments on midcentury biomedical research into poliomyelitis. This influence arose in part because of the historical role of such environments and their indigenous inhabitants as laboratories and research subjects, respectively. This influence also reflected the ongoing importance of environmental etiologies to the study of polio, specifically through the significance of epidemiological and immunological research. The article explores the role of environment in the transmission and perception of the disease in Chesterfield Inlet, as well as the research into climate, food, and immunity that arose out of the epidemic. The Chesterfield Inlet outbreak reveals the significance of the historical colonization of Arctic peoples and environments in shaping the course of the epidemic and the medical knowledge that was created in response to it. The outbreak also demonstrates the ecological perspective shaping an understanding of immunity to polioviruses and encouraging the development of a vaccine.

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Constructing State Power: Internal and External Frontiers in Colonial North India, 1850s–1900s

Fig2Haines-550 By Daniel Haines

This article places environmental history for the first time at the center of British India’s borderlands with a particular focus on the province of Sindh. Northern, or Upper, Sindh, defined by its proximity to mountainous tribal Balochistan, was an “external frontier,” whereas southeastern

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Sindh, located well within British India’s territorial boundaries, was an “internal frontier” where aridity and scarcity of population meant that there was little to support a strong state presence. Colonial policy on both frontiers used irrigation canals to effect environmental change and to establish stronger state control in areas where officials thought it insufficient. In southeastern Sindh, canal construction was a broader and deeper modernizing project than it was in the northern part of the province. These two contrasting frontier policies aimed to produce very different geographies of state space. A close investigation of canal policy written between 1850 and 1900 shows a clear aim to create a discursive and material distinction between Sindh as the interior of the empire and Balochistan as exterior. Analyzing a frontier’s inward or outward orientation helps us understand how frontier policy is developed and executed.

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The Shoemaker’s Circus: Grizzly Adams and Nineteenth-Century Animal Entertainment

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by Jon T Coleman

Grizzly Adams rose to fame in partnership with bears. A wilderness celebrity, he actually grew up in Massachusetts, where he trained as a shoemaker. Shoemaking taught him how to instruct others including wild animals. His management ethos emerged from a nineteenth-century household manufacturing system coming undone by industrial capitalism. This article delves into Adams’s shoemaking background to recover the entwined histories of industrial discipline and wild animal training. Grizzly Adams

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trained bears like human apprentices and apprentices like bears. They all belonged to his working family. Adams manipulated the social behavior of grizzly bears to bring a dying patriarchal labor tradition back to life. Immature animals followed his commands, but he struggled to control full-grown bears, a failure that led to the demise of his family and the end of his act.

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Gallery Editor’s Note, July 2015

By Neil M. Maher and Cindy Ott

With all the new modeling technologies and advances in the meteorological sciences, it is still hard to get a handle on the weather. We often rely on our common everyday experiences as much as our apps or the nightly news to predict what’s coming, and we turn to poets and artists for a deeper appreciation of weather’s impact on our lives. In this issue’s Gallery, historian Catherine T. Dunlop takes us back to nineteenth-century France in her analysis of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings of the Mistral, the forceful, unpredictable winds of Provence. Her analysis of paintings by Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh points to the ways artistic expression, philosophy, and the natural sciences infuse each

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other and together shape people’s understandings and relationships with the natural world.

This Gallery marks the end of our tenure as Gallery and Graphics editors. We are extremely grateful to Environmental History editors, the rest of the editorial staff, the Oxford University Press, and the journal’s editorial board for their insight and support of both our work and the Gallery section of the journal. It was a real privilege to serve them and the authors whose work has inspired us. We feel very fortunate to hand over the helm to the talented Finis Dunaway, one of the most influential environmental historians of visual culture.

Catherine T. Dunlop’s “Looking at the Wind: Paintings of the Mistral in Fin-de-Siècle France” >>

Gallery Editor’s Note on Oxford Journals >>

Gallery: Looking at the Wind: Paintings of the Mistral in Fin-de-Siècle France

DunlopFig1crop-550By Catherine Tatiana Dunlop

Catherine Tatiana Dunlop is assistant professor of modern European history at Montana State University, Bozeman. Her work explores the connections between visual culture, geography, and environmental history. She is the author, most recently, of Cartophilia: Maps and the Search for Identity in the French-German Borderland (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015). This article draws from her new book research on the cultural and environmental history of the Mistral in nineteenth-century France.

On the days when a cold northwesterly wind called the Mistral sweeps across Provence, the typically warm and tranquil region in the south of France undergoes a dramatic transformation. Wheat fields begin to swirl like ocean waves, cypress trees tilt violently from side to side, and the peaceful Mediterranean waters become frothy and tempestuous. So powerful is this regional French wind that locals

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have called it a curse “equal to the seven plagues of Egypt.”1 Originally named after the Latin word for “master,” the Mistral can blow for forty-five days at a time and reach speeds of 100 kilometers per hour.2 Yet for all of its power to shape, and even dominate, the lives of people in Provence, the Mistral has remained an elusive topic of historical inquiry. By most accounts, the Mistral has existed apart from historical change, a peculiar aspect of the timeless physical setting in which the history of southern France unfolded.3 But what if we decided to take the Mistral’s role in history more seriously? What connections might we find between the “master” of Provence and the transformation of French society over time?

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Tigers—Real and Imagined—in Korea’s Physical and Cultural Landscape

SkabelundFig4-550 by Joseph Seeley and Aaron Skabelund

Historically, people in Korea have valued tigers more as symbols than actual living beings. Premodern Koreans gave various cultural meanings to the tiger—including trickster, divine messenger, and protector. Yet violence characterized most actual encounters between tigers and humans. Various Korean dynasties, most significantly the Chos?n (1392–1910), pursued wild tigers as threats and as sources of valuable fur. Human population growth, agricultural expansion, and overhunting placed significant pressure on them by the late nineteenth century. During the period of Japanese colonial rule over Korea (1910–45), nationalists reimagined tigers as symbols of resistance to imperial

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rule. Traditional attitudes toward wild tigers changed little, however, as continued hunting and habitat destruction led to their disappearance by the mid-twentieth century. But even in their absence, tigers’ cultural mystique continued. The tiger’s disappearance encouraged a feeling of closeness and affinity for the animal rather than diminishing their symbolic importance. Tiger nostalgia has led some to consider bringing them back, but the tiger remains a symbol with more importance as a cultural idea than a living animal.

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Making Sea Cucumbers Out of Whales’ Teeth: Nantucket Castaways and Encounters of Value in Nineteenth-Century Fiji

Fig4Melillo-550 by Edward D. Melillo

This article explores the social biographies of sea cucumbers and whales’ teeth, challenging a prevalent tendency among scholars to endow objects with abstract essences. It focuses on encounters of value in which the meanings of material possessions fluctuated across cultural and ethnic boundaries. Such moments of contradiction and coalescence had profound environmental and social consequences and suggest new ways that environmental historians might understand the roles of cultural arbitrage and expropriation in the making of the world system. To illustrate these crucial issues, this article discusses the experiences of David

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Whippy and William Cary, two Nantucket castaways in nineteenth-century Fiji, and it investigates long-term connections that emerged among Nantucket, Fiji, and the broader ecosystems and cultures of the Pacific Ocean region during the 1800s. Both men were involved in the export of sea cucumbers (genus Holothuria) from Fiji to China and the importation of sperm whales’ teeth to Fiji from various parts of the Pacific. The histories of these two commodities offer potent testimonials about cultural and ecological changes during the nineteenth century.

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Environmental Consequences of the Peace: The Great War, Dammed Lakes, and Hydraulic History in the Eastern Alps

Fig4Landry-550 by Marc Landry

This article examines hydropower development in early twentieth-century Bavaria to suggest the importance of peace settlements in the environmental history of war. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Alpine lake Walchensee became the center of plans to transform the Alpine lake into a reservoir. At this time, engineers across the Alps recommended converting high-altitude lakes into reservoirs. The new infrastructure would deepen the hydroelectric transition in the Alps, enabling the substitution of hydro for coal and expanding water power’s role in the electricity supply. Despite the Bavarian state’s determination to take advantage of the Walchensee’s energy storage capabilities, societal and political opposition brought the project to a standstill on the eve of the First

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World War. The pressure of total war subsequently convinced Bavarians to move forward; however, crises accompanying the peace settlement of Versailles—above all Germany’s loss of coal reserves due to territorial changes—ensured that Bavaria finally broke ground on the facility in the postwar period. The Walchensee reservoir did fulfill some of its energy promises, but only at the price of dramatic environmental change. The new landscape of energy storage disrupted ecological and human communities alike. Only in the post–World War II period did Bavarians consider revising aspects of this environmental legacy of Versailles.

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Mapping Permafrost Country: Creating an Environmental Object in the Soviet Union, 1920s–1940s

ChuFigure3-550 by Pey-Yi Chu

Permafrost appears in contemporary discussions about climate change as a natural object whose thawing threatens to accelerate global warming. How did “permafrost” emerge from the phenomenon of frozen earth? This article analyzes the origins of permafrost as a concept in the Soviet Union. In the 1930s, a scientist named Mikhail Sumgin advanced a term, definition, and geographic understanding of permafrost that became standardized in the USSR and subsequently abroad. Sumgin combined a name suggesting longevity with a technical definition oriented to short-term conditions. He also represented frozen earth as a cohesive physical geographic space that he called “the region of permafrost.” Although

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these ideas were contested, they suited the revolutionary moment in Russian and Soviet history. The notion of permafrost country highlighted the importance of an emerging discipline for Stalinist industrialization. Descriptions of the dynamism of permafrost country also cast permafrost as an object in relief. This article argues that permafrost is neither a neutral descriptor of frozen earth nor a self-evident environmental object. Frozen earth was transformed into permafrost in a process inseparable from scientists claiming expertise and communicating their work against the background of socialist revolution.

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