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Ecological Imperialism in a European Context: The Incidental Landscapes of War in Napoleonic Italy

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Abstract:

At the turn of the 19th century French armies established a level of control over the Italian peninsula that had not been exercised by a single power since the days of the Roman Empire. In the course of these campaigns, Napoleon confronted a diverse series of “incidental landscapes of war,” ranging from the mosquito-infested rice canals of Lombardy to the snow-capped mountains of Naples. This paper examines the landscapes of Italy before, during, and after the Napoleonic military campaigns, in order to better understand the occupation of the Italian peninsula as an example of “ecological imperialism.” Although this concept has generally been applied to European interactions with the environment and landscape of other continents, the case of Napoleonic Italy demonstrates that ecological imperialism was also practiced on a large scale within Europe at the start of the modern era. As they expanded French control across the Alps, Napoleon’s armies expected and found many landscapes that were similar to those they left behind in France. Nonetheless, over the course of Napoleonic rule it became clear that the environments of France and Italy were different enough to cause profound difficulties for the French occupation. The Napoleonic state responded to these challenges with a “high modernist” effort to mold the environment of Italy to better suit their interests, creating new “landscapes of occupation” ranging from mountain tunnels to acclimatization gardens. A closer examination of “incidental landscapes of war” that emerged from the French occupation of Italy at the start of the 19th century thus reveals the growing ambition of the modern state to transform nature to better suit its interests, as well as the significant limits human capacity to manipulate the environment that remained in place even at the start of the modern era.
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Name: ASEH Annual Conference
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http://aseh.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1170750_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Horan, Joseph. "Ecological Imperialism in a European Context: The Incidental Landscapes of War in Napoleonic Italy" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1170750_index.html>

APA Citation:

Horan, J. "Ecological Imperialism in a European Context: The Incidental Landscapes of War in Napoleonic Italy" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1170750_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: At the turn of the 19th century French armies established a level of control over the Italian peninsula that had not been exercised by a single power since the days of the Roman Empire. In the course of these campaigns, Napoleon confronted a diverse series of “incidental landscapes of war,” ranging from the mosquito-infested rice canals of Lombardy to the snow-capped mountains of Naples. This paper examines the landscapes of Italy before, during, and after the Napoleonic military campaigns, in order to better understand the occupation of the Italian peninsula as an example of “ecological imperialism.” Although this concept has generally been applied to European interactions with the environment and landscape of other continents, the case of Napoleonic Italy demonstrates that ecological imperialism was also practiced on a large scale within Europe at the start of the modern era. As they expanded French control across the Alps, Napoleon’s armies expected and found many landscapes that were similar to those they left behind in France. Nonetheless, over the course of Napoleonic rule it became clear that the environments of France and Italy were different enough to cause profound difficulties for the French occupation. The Napoleonic state responded to these challenges with a “high modernist” effort to mold the environment of Italy to better suit their interests, creating new “landscapes of occupation” ranging from mountain tunnels to acclimatization gardens. A closer examination of “incidental landscapes of war” that emerged from the French occupation of Italy at the start of the 19th century thus reveals the growing ambition of the modern state to transform nature to better suit its interests, as well as the significant limits human capacity to manipulate the environment that remained in place even at the start of the modern era.


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