Pastoralism and French Environmental Policy in the Mediterranean


For most of human history, the Mediterranean was home to a significant number of pastoralists, who herded livestock along seasonal migratory routes. Today, traces of this pastoralist presence have all but disappeared. Dr. Andrea Duffy's book Nomad's Land: Pastoralism and French Environmental Policy in the 19th-Century Mediterranean World (University of Nebraska Press, 2019) seeks to answer the question - what caused the decline and retreat of Mediterranean pastoralism? Dr. Duffy explores the development of a French environmental policy which was centered around forestry and afforestation, and led to the targeting and demonization of pastoralists not only in France but throughout the Mediterranean world. In this episode, Dr. Duffy joins me to talk about pastoralism in 19th-century France, Algeria, and Anatolia, nomadism vs. transhumance, environmentalism past and present, and the legacies of pastoralism around the Mediterranean today.

Music in this episode: Desert City by Kevin MacLeod. License.

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Maggie Freeman

Maggie Freeman is a PhD candidate in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East.

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