Forests without Birds: Ecology and Health on the Rubber Plantations of French Colonial Vietnam, 1890-1954


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


History of Science


This dissertation examines the social and environmental consequences of the introduction of rubber into the political economy of French colonial Vietnam. Colonialism, the environment, and scientific knowledge played key roles in the emergence of the rubber industry during the twentieth century. This dissertation analyzes the business of rubber, workers’ experiences of plantation life, and the region’s natural and social landscapes in order to discuss worker health and environmental transformations. Rubber plantations were not only places of brutal working conditions, but also experimental sites where knowledge was generated, tested, and implemented and where conceptions of human rights were debated and reworked, often violently.