Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, Columbia University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2014
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Columbia University
The Insect Wars: Biological Invasions and Agricultural Disasters in the French Enlightenment

My dissertation examines the heterogeneous scientific and administrative networks that were formed in ancien régime France and its colonies in order to manage environments affected by biological invasions of insect pests. A study of eighteenth-century responses to eruptions of invasive insect populations provides an optic for understanding how state power was increasingly oriented towards managing natural resources and exerting control over environments through the deployment of technical, scientific and administrative expertise. The state's capacity to respond to agricultural disasters depended on the formation and coordination of long-distance communication networks within which natural knowledge was produced and technical solutions debated, disseminated and implemented. Thus, my dissertation aims to show how both natural knowledge and state power were co-produced through the circulation of observations, materials, specimens and techniques between localities within France and its colonial possessions in the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and North America.