The Windy State: Dust Storms and a Political Meteorology of Contemporary China


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation explores state demand to control dust storms in northern China since 2000. The control of dust storms made new objects politically consequential: the wind, the root systems of plants, grazing economies, and the respiratory systems of people exposed to suspended dust. Such an environmental politics challenges and transforms what can count as political. From the stabilization of dunes and the remaking of grazing economies in China’s frontier regions, to a pulmonary politics of breathing and exposure in Beijing and beyond, it traces out multiple moments in the windy geography of dust storms to re-stage political concepts in their exposure to environment. It argues that environmental issues demand a rethinking of the humanist assumptions of contemporary political thought.