Global Population: History, Geopolitics, and Life on Earth

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Columbia University Press, Feb 11, 2014 - History - 512 pages
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Concern about the size of the world’s population did not begin with the Baby Boomers. Overpopulation as a conceptual problem originated after World War I and was understood as an issue with far-reaching ecological, agricultural, economic, and geopolitical consequences. This study traces the idea of a world population problem as it developed from the 1920s through the 1950s, long before the late-1960s notion of a postwar “population bomb.” Drawing on international conference transcripts, the volume reconstructs the twentieth-century discourse on population as an international issue concerned with migration, colonial expansion, sovereignty, and globalization. It connects the genealogy of population discourse to the rise of economically and demographically defined global regions, the characterization of “civilizations” with different standards of living, global attitudes toward “development,” and first- and third-world designations.
 

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Contents

Life and Earth
1
The Long Nineteenth Century
27
A Spatial History of Malthusianism
29
The Politics of Earth 1920s and 1930s
53
Population Territory and Living Space
55
Iniverses with Definite Limits
81
World Population and the Global Color Line
107
Sovereignty and the Anticolonial History of World Population
133
The Geoplitics of Birth Control
211
Human Difference and Global Eugenics
239
Part IV Between One World and Three Worlds 1940s to 1968
265
A New World of Plenty?
267
The Biopolitical Solution to a Geopolitical Problem
305
12 Universal Rights? Population Control and the Powers of Reproductive Freedom
328
The Population Bomb in the Space Age
355
Notes
365

The Politics of Life 1920s and 1930s
155
Ecology and the Cosmopolitics of Population
157
Agriculture and the Fertility of the Earth
181
Archival Collections
445
Index
447
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About the author (2014)

Alison Bashford is professor of history at the University of Sidney and coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics.

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