Martin Kalb, "Environing Empire: Nature, Infrastructure and the Making of German Southwest Africa" (Berghahn, 2022)


German ambitions to transform Southwest Africa in the early part of the twentieth century were futile and resulted in the widespread death and suffering of indigenous populations. For years colonists wrestled ocean waters, desert landscapes, and widespread aridity as they tried to reach inland in their effort to turn outwardly barren lands into a profitable settler colony. In Environing Empire: Nature, Infrastructure and the Making of German Southwest Africa (Berghahn Books, 2022), Martin Kalb outlines the development of the colony up to World War I, deconstructing the common settler narrative, all to reveal the importance of natural forces and the Kaiserreich’s everyday violence.

Martin Kalb is an Associate Professor of History at Bridgewater College in Virginia.

Eric Grube is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Boston College. He also received his PhD from Boston College in the summer of 2022. He studies modern German and Austrian history, with a special interest in right-wing paramilitary organizations across interwar Bavaria and Austria.

"Casualties of War? Refining the Civilian-Military Dichotomy in World War I", Madison Historical Review, 2019

"Racist Limitations on Violence: The Nazi Occupation of Denmark", Essays in History, 2017.

Your Host

Eric Grube

Eric Grube is a Doctoral Candidate in German and Austrian history at Boston College.

View Profile