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The environmental history of war and militarization in Modern France
Author: Chris Pearson

This book traces the creation, maintenance, and contestation of the militarized environments from the establishment of France's first large-scale and permanent army camp on the Champagne plains in 1857, to military environmentalism in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In doing so, it focuses on the evolving and profoundly historical relationship between war, militarization, and the environment. The book treats militarized environments as simultaneously material and cultural sites that have been partially or fully mobilized to achieve military aims. It focuses on the environmental history of sites in rural and metropolitan France that the French and other militaries have directly mobilized to prepare for, and to wage, war. They include such sites as army camps, weapons testing facilities, and air bases, as well as battlefields and other combat zones, but not maritime militarized environments, which arguably deserve their own book. First World War cemeteries and the memorial landscapes of the D-Day beaches remain places of international importance and serve as reminders of the transnational character of many French militarized environments. And although the book focuses on the environmental history of militaraization within metropolitan France, it speaks to issues that mark militarized environments across the globe, such as civilian displacement, anti-base protests, and military environmentalism. By focusing on the French case, the author aims to encourage reflection and discussion on the global issue of military control and use of the environment.

Abstract only
Chris Pearson

the Champagne plains in 1857, to military environmentalism in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In doing so, I aim to shed light on the evolving and profoundly historical relationship between war, militarization, and the environment. Defining militarized environments I treat militarized environments as simultaneously material and cultural sites that have been partially or fully mobilized to achieve military aims.3 Using a broad definition and thinking globally, militarized environments 1 Mobilizing nature might encompass military food supply chains

in Mobilizing nature
Chris Pearson

his supporters heralded the camp as a vector of modernization and improvement, linking it with the Second Empire’s wider plans to develop France’s territory. It stood between tradition and modernity; the Second Empire portrayed it simultaneously as a link to France’s imperial past and a means to its modernization. But local farmers and critical observers challenged the designation of the Champagne plains as wastelands and opposed the creation of the militarized environment. Far from being an unproblematic showcase of France’s imperial glory, Châlons Camp was a

in Mobilizing nature
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Bernhard Zeller, Charles West, Francesca Tinti, Marco Stoffella, Nicolas Schroeder, Carine van Rhijn, Steffen Patzold, Thomas Kohl, Wendy Davies, and Miriam Czock

the Vosges; 1,493 m for the Black Forest) or low (626 m for the Odenwald). With the exception of the lower valleys, their soils and relief are generally not suited to arable production. Similar environmental conditions prevail in the Ardennes. This extensive upland massif lies between the Lorraine and Champagne plains to the south and the Meuse valley to the north. The central Ardennes have a gentle relief and stretches of relatively fertile soil; however, the outskirts of the massif have deeply carved valleys and abrupt rocky slopes. The highest areas are the

in Neighbours and strangers
Chris Pearson

Marne département had seen heavy fighting from September 1914 onwards and front lines had stretched across the Champagne plains from the north of Reims to the Argonne forest. Only 19,960 ha of farmland survived the war intact (out of a total agricultural area of 185,220 ha) and the war affected 50,000 ha of woodland. In all, the state placed 23,300 ha of the département within the red zone after the war. The most 144 Demilitarization and remilitarization (1918–40) obliterated area lay to the north of the town of Suippes where combat had razed seven villages, wiped

in Mobilizing nature