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A silenced spring? Exploring Africa’s ‘Rachel Carson moment’: A socio-environmental history of the pesticides in tobacco production in Southern Rhodesia, 1945–80

Doro, Elijah; Swart, Sandra

Description

Rachel Carson’s impact on the modern environmental movement is widely debated, but her ‘African moment’ has only received cursory historiographical attention. Environmental historians have not yet unpacked how her ideas have been appropriated, applied and contested in the continent, beyond the recent pejorative description of Carson as a ‘killer of Africans’. This paper uses the lens of political ecology and environmental history, drawing mainly primary sources from the National Archives of...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorDoro, Elijah
dc.contributor.authorSwart, Sandra
dc.date.accessioned2020-04-13T02:44:43Z
dc.date.available2020-04-13T02:44:43Z
dc.identifier.issn22053204
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/202889
dc.description.abstractRachel Carson’s impact on the modern environmental movement is widely debated, but her ‘African moment’ has only received cursory historiographical attention. Environmental historians have not yet unpacked how her ideas have been appropriated, applied and contested in the continent, beyond the recent pejorative description of Carson as a ‘killer of Africans’. This paper uses the lens of political ecology and environmental history, drawing mainly primary sources from the National Archives of Zimbabwe, to interrogate the use of pesticides in tobacco farming in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from 1945 to 1980, and their effects on the human body, the body politic and the natural environment. It traces the growth of pesticide use beginning with the end of the Second World War, which saw a turning point in the global pesticides’ regime as crop chemicals such as DDT became widespread. It explores the problems that arose with the use of these pesticides and connects this narrative with the various global debates on ‘environmentalism’ that arose in the 1960s, and how this impacted on the evolution of legislation and policies to curtail pesticide use in tobacco production in Southern Rhodesia. In doing so, the paper constructs a contextual reading of Silent Spring within Southern Rhodesia and argues that despite the neglect of Carson within the tradition of African environmental historiography, her ideas significantly shaped the emergence and growth of modern environmentalism within the continent.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherANU Press
dc.rightsAuthor/s retain copyright
dc.rights.urihttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
dc.sourceInternational Review of Environmental History
dc.titleA silenced spring? Exploring Africa’s ‘Rachel Carson moment’: A socio-environmental history of the pesticides in tobacco production in Southern Rhodesia, 1945–80
dc.typeJournal article
local.identifier.citationvolume5
dc.date.issued2019-11
local.publisher.urlhttps://press.anu.edu.au/
local.type.statusMetadata only
local.bibliographicCitation.issue2
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage5
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage39
local.identifier.doi10.22459/IREH.05.02.2019.01
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access via publisher website
dc.rights.licenseCreative Commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND; creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
CollectionsANU Press (1965-Present)

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