Monthly Archives: January 2018

Reflections Upon Sovereignty, Economy, and the Global History of Natural Resources

By Natasha Pesaran (Columbia) On 18 and 19 December 2017, Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge hosted a conference on “Sovereignty, Economy, and the Global Histories of Natural Resources.” Organized by Tehila Sasson of Emory University, winner of the 2017 International Research Awards in Global History, the conference brought together scholars from diverse fields to discuss the global history of natural resources from multiple vantage points. Rather than focusing on a single natural resource or geographic region, the conference aimed to take a holistic approach and the papers as a whole transcended the global north and south divide and drew upon a number of different methods, archives, and theoretical frameworks. A central aim of the conference was to explore the ways in which a concern with natural resources might offer new ways of writing histories of empire and decolonization. This theme was taken up directly in Angelo Matteo Caglioti’s paper, which demonstrated how a focus on natural resources could lead to re-interpretation of the history of Italian colonialism. In particular, Caglioti argued that imperial competition between Britain and Italy over water resources, specifically the Lake Tana dam project, shed explanatory light on Italy’s decision to invade Ethiopia in 1935. […]