Governing the “Wasteland”: Ecology and Shifting Political Subjectivities in Colonial Bengal


Looks at the changing governance practices towards agro-ecological resources and the political response that it received from the agrarian community in colonial eastern Bengal. Tracing this history offers an ecological understanding of the dynamics of political subjectivity, as well as revealing the emergence of ecological deterioration in the region. The British colonial government initially saw this region as a wasteland and made legislation that rewarded peasant production, which generated revenue. By the turn of the century, however, modernized, “scientific” administrators replaced the peasants, resulting in substantial environmental changes.