Global Population: History, Geopolitics, and Life on Earth

Global Population: History, Geopolitics, and Life on Earth

by Alison Bashford
     
 

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Concern about the size of the world's population did not begin with the Baby Boomers. Overpopulation as a conceptual problem originated after World War I and was understood as an issue with far-reaching ecological, agricultural, economic, and geopolitical consequences. This study traces the idea of a world population problem as it developed from the 1920s through

Overview

Concern about the size of the world's population did not begin with the Baby Boomers. Overpopulation as a conceptual problem originated after World War I and was understood as an issue with far-reaching ecological, agricultural, economic, and geopolitical consequences. This study traces the idea of a world population problem as it developed from the 1920s through the 1950s, long before the late-1960s notion of a postwar "population bomb." Drawing on international conference transcripts and oral testimony, the volume reconstructs the twentieth-century discourse on population as an international issue concerned with migration, colonial expansion, sovereignty, and globalization. It connects the genealogy of population discourse to the rise of economically and demographically defined global regions, the characterization of "civilizations" with different standards of living, global attitudes toward "development," and first- and third-world designations.

Editorial Reviews

Dipesh Chakrabarty
With this engaging, wide-ranging, and impressively researched book, which tracks the global history of the 'world population problem'—including fascinating forays into debates on eugenics, birth control, colonization, soil, food, agriculture, and the carrying capacity of the earth—Bashford joins a very select group of historians who have recently taken the familiar narratives of world history in an entirely new direction: toward the historical origins of modern 'planetary consciousness.' A timely and brilliant piece of work.

David Armitage
The earth, and population, and death—for much of the twentieth century, those were the facts when it came to brass tacks, as Alison Bashford convincingly shows in this wide-ranging, ground-breaking study. Global Population brings together geopolitics and eugenics, feminism and Malthusianism, ecology and economics in surprising and often counterintuitive combinations. The result is a major contribution to global intellectual history.

CHOICE
This is the most fascinating and informative history on global population that this reviewer has ever read. Bashford's very impressive work will be of most interest to advance graduate students and faculty... Highly recommended.

Times Higher Education
Alison Bashford's Global Population: History, Geopolitics and Life on Earth is one of the most wide-ranging works of intellectual history I've read in a long time.

American Historical Review
This book is an original intellectual history of eugenic thought… This work commands respect for its sweep and its range, identifying authoritarian elements in ecology and even some libertarian tendencies in eugenics. Here is the best history we have of the emergence of demographic transition theory…

The Journal of The History of Medicine and Allied Science
This book offers a novel and incisive analysis that forces us to rethink the political and intellectual histories of birth control, population control, and eugenics. It also promises to energize historical debates about conceptions of "the global."

Environmental History
An exciting, important, and often brilliant study... Due to its important argument... as well as its astonishing breadth, Global Population will undoubtedly and deservedly find a wide audience among historians of demography, ecology, and diplomacy.

Australian Journal of Politics and History
A detailed and nuanced history of population debates... Impressive.

Journal of Modern History - Tom Robertson
[A] thought-provoking and innovative new history.

Bulletin of the History of Medicine - Geoffrey McNicoll
Global Population, both in its fine-grain reconstruction of lively and still-resonant past debates and in its larger-scale argument about origins and influence, is a notable essay in intellectual history.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231519526
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
02/11/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
512
File size:
22 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

What People are saying about this

Simon Szreter
Alison Bashford's achievement in Global Population is that she has successfully found an insightful key-code that unlocks the interconnections over the past century or more of many themes expressed in a wide diversity of disciplinary fields addressed to problems of population policy.

Meet the Author

Alison Bashford is professor of history at the University of Sidney and coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics.

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