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Global PopulationHistory, Geopolitics, and Life on Earth$
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Alison Bashford

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231147668

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231147668.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 19 October 2019

Soil and Food

Soil and Food

Agriculture and the Fertility of the Earth

(p.181) 7 Soil and Food
Global Population

Alison Bashford

Columbia University Press

This chapter concerns the politicizing forces of food and agriculture, as well as their impact on global nutrition and thus, population. Consider the soil—the primary foundation of agriculture and land cultivation—at once ubiquitous and mundane, the soil symbolizes land and territory and fertility, and the significance of its functions with regards to population growth and the old ideals of colonial expansion, among other things, cannot be overlooked. Population theorists of the mid-nineteenth century grappled with the importance of soil and its economic and political weight, and the agricultural sciences were inevitably joined to discussions regarding population (or, more specifically, overpopulation). While primarily a geopolitical concern, this preoccupation with soil would eventually yield the biopolitical implications to be discussed in the following chapters.

Keywords:   food, agriculture, population, nutrition, soil, territory, fertility, mid-nineteenth century, agricultural sciences, overpopulation

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