How Do Humans and Locusts Make Space in an Early Modern Chinese Grain Field?


David Bello explores the fraught struggle between humans and locusts for occupancy of the agricultural niches created by farmers during China’s Qing dynasty. He shows how, thanks to a congenial climate and well-established irrigation system, the imperial administration was able to maintain control of its land and citizens through agriculture. However, the human construction of grain fields produced not only cereals, but locusts too, which thrived in the ideal conditions that farmers had unintentionally created.