Tuesday, April 30, 2019,
Miller Library / 014

In the 1930s, Imperial Japan expanded into the Mongol territories of Northeast China, where nomadic herders lived on the steppe. Japanese planners, however, did not see seasonal migration as a rational use of resources, but rather, the root of overgrazing and degradation. As a result, they sought to eliminate nomadic features of herding. Japanese experimental farms began disseminating alien grasses and hybrid animals from Australia and North America whose intensive care demanded sedentary patterns of livelihood, undercutting nomadic practice over time. While the steppe would continue to look like the steppe, the resultant scientific stock-farming would also refigure an underlying ecology of transhumance into one of sedentary extraction for the Japanese empire.

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