Nomad's Land


Nomad's Land

Pastoralism and French Environmental Policy in the Nineteenth-Century Mediterranean World

Andrea E. Duffy

France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization Series

336 pages
3 photographs, 2 illustrations, 1 map, 2 tables, 2 graphs, index


December 2019


$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

December 2019


$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

December 2019


$55.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

2020 Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Award

During the nineteenth century, the development and codification of forest science in France were closely linked to Provence’s time-honored tradition of mobile pastoralism, which formed a major part of the economy. At the beginning of the century, pastoralism also featured prominently in the economies and social traditions of North Africa and southwestern Anatolia until French forest agents implemented ideas and practices for forest management in these areas aimed largely at regulating and marginalizing Mediterranean mobile pastoral traditions. These practices changed not only landscapes but also the social order of these three Mediterranean societies and the nature of French colonial administration.

In Nomad’s Land Andrea E. Duffy investigates the relationship between Mediterranean mobile pastoralism and nineteenth-century French forestry through case studies in Provence, French colonial Algeria, and Ottoman Anatolia. By restricting the use of shared spaces, foresters helped bring the populations of Provence and Algeria under the control of the state, and French scientific forestry became a medium for state initiatives to sedentarize mobile pastoral groups in Anatolia. Locals responded through petitions, arson, violence, compromise, and adaptation. Duffy shows that French efforts to promote scientific forestry both internally and abroad were intimately tied to empire building and paralleled the solidification of Western narratives condemning the pastoral tradition, leading to sometimes tragic outcomes for both the environment and pastoralists. 

Author Bio

Andrea E. Duffy is the director of international studies and an assistant professor at Colorado State University.



"As politically oriented environmental history, Nomad’s Land reconstructs the broad field within which French forestry policy developed and was applied, showing thereby how conservationism both fueled, and was dependent upon, shifting power relationships at the state and local levels."—Patrick Young, Journal of Modern History

"Duffy provides a concise and thought-provoking assessment of the decline of Mediterranean pastoralism in the modern era. She ably introduces the generalist to the regional history of French forest administration. For scholars of the modern Mediterranean, Nomad’s Land will serve as a culmination of recent developments in several subfields of environmental history, offering them an important opportunity to take stock, to reflect further on important transnational connections, and to chart new paths forward for national and regional histories."—Jackson R. Perry, Agricultural History

"[Nomad's Land] can serve as a textbook for lecturers and as a reference book for researchers of social and environmental history, rural history, Mediterranean history, French colonialism, Ottoman history and history of pastoralism."—Onur Inal, Nomadic Peoples

“In this succinct and lucidly written book, Andrea Duffy shows how French ideas about forests provided ammunition for sustained campaigns against herders, sheep, goats, and the pastoralist way of life in Mediterranean France, colonial Algeria, and Ottoman Anatolia. An insightful and delightful addition to Mediterranean environmental history.”—J. R. McNeill, professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Department of History at Georgetown University and author of Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620–1914

Table of Contents

List of Figures    
Introduction: The Nomad and the Sea    

Part 1: People, Place, and Perceptions
1. Land of the Golden Fleece: Mediterranean Pastoralism in a Wider Society    
2. Black Sheep: The Intellectual Roots of Mediterranean Environmental Policy    
3. Counting Sheep: Pastoralism and the Construction of French Scientific Forestry    

Part 2: Growth and Transformation
4. The Forest for the Trees: The Application of French Scientific Forestry around the Mediterranean    
5. Against the Grain: The Transformation of Land Use and Property    
6. Nature’s Scapegoats: Pastoralists and Natural Disasters    
7. Sheep to the Slaughter: Mediterranean Pastoralism and Forestry at the Turn of the Twentieth Century    

Conclusion: Planting Politics    


2020 Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Award

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