Global Population: History, Geopolitics, and Life on Earth

Paperback | October 25, 2016

byAlison Bashford

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Concern about the size of the world's population did not begin with the "population bomb" in 1968. It arose in the aftermath of World War I and was understood as an issue with far-reaching ecological, agricultural, economic, and geopolitical consequences. The world population problem concerned the fertility of soil as much as the fertility of women, always involving both "earth" and "life."

Global Population traces the idea of a world population problem as it evolved from the 1920s through the 1960s. The growth and distribution of the human population over the planet's surface came deeply to shape the characterization of "civilizations" with different standards of living. It forged the very ideas of development, demographically defined three worlds, and, for some, an aspirational "one world."

Drawing on international conference transcripts and personal and organizational archives, this book reconstructs the twentieth-century population problem in terms of migration, colonial expansion, globalization, and world food plans. Population was a problem in which international relations and intimate relations were one. Global Population ultimately shows how a geopolitical problem about sovereignty over land morphed into a biopolitical solution, entailing sovereignty over one's person.

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Concern about the size of the world's population did not begin with the "population bomb" in 1968. It arose in the aftermath of World War I and was understood as an issue with far-reaching ecological, agricultural, economic, and geopolitical consequences. The world population problem concerned the fertility of soil as much as the fert...

Alison Bashford is a historian whose many books connect imperial and world history with medical and environmental histories. She is the Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, University of Cambridge, and has taught at Harvard University, the Australian National University, and, for many years, at the University of Sy...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:October 25, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231147678

ISBN - 13:9780231147675

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: Life and EarthPart I. The Long Nineteenth Century1. Confined in Room: A Spatial History of Malthusianism Part II. The Politics of Earth, 1920s and 1930s2. War and Peace: Population, Territory, and Living Space3. Density: Universes with Definite Limits4. Migration: World Population and the Global Color Line5. Waste Lands: Sovereignty and the Anticolonial History of World PopulationPart III. The Politics of Life, 1920s and 1930s6. Life on Earth: Ecology and the Cosmopolitics of Population7. Soil and Food: Agriculture and the Fertility of the Earth8. Sex: The Geopolitics of Birth Control 9. The Species: Human Difference and Global EugenicsPart IV. Between One World and Three Worlds, 1940s to 196810. Food and Freedom: A New World of Plenty?11. Life and Death: The Biopolitical Solution to a Geopolitical Problem12. Universal Rights? Population Control and the Powers of Reproductive FreedomConclusion: The Population Bomb in the Space AgeNotesArchival CollectionsIndex

Editorial Reviews

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.