HoW: History on Wednesday seminar series – 27 March
Niccolò Pianciola | Lingnan University, Hong Kong
“The Aral Sea Fisheries and the Environmental History of Settler Colonialism in Central Asia, 1873-1917”
The presentation addresses the managing of Aral Sea fisheries by the Tsarist administration, and the making of a colonial frontier inhabited by exiled Ural Cossack, Qaraqalpaq, Qazaq, Russian, and Ukrainian fishermen. By comparing the different power relations between Cossacks and the local population on the Ural River and in the Aral Sea region, it shows how they shaped fisheries management regulations and their effectiveness. It also investigates the conditions of production of scientific knowledge on the Aral Sea ecosystem and what role it played in governance decision-making. By drafting a series of fishing regulations and by examining the balance between humans and aquatic animals, scientists oriented the Tsarist government’s decisions on how to manage both the fisheries and the populations that exploited them.
Niccolò Pianciola is Associate Professor of History at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. His research focuses on the social and environmental history of Tsarist and Soviet Asia. His first book focused on the relations between immigrant Slavic peasants in Central Asia, local pastoralists (Kazakhs and Kyrgyz) and the state from the late Tsarist Empire to Stalinism. The resulting monograph, Stalinismo di frontiera. Colonizzazione agricola, sterminio dei nomadi e costruzione statale in Asia Centrale (1905-1936), investigates the historical background of the great famine in Kazakhstan in 1931-33, one of the worst man-made catastrophes of the twentieth century. After dealing with peasant immigration in the Kazakh steppe during late Tsarism,the revolt of 1916 in Central Asia, early Soviet decolonization policies, and Stalinist “revolution from above”, it highlights the causes and patterns of development of the famine. The book is based on extensive research in provincial, republican and central archives in Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and outlines the ambiguous policies of neocolonization and decolonization of the early Soviet state in Central Asia. Dr. Pianciola also studied the policies of forced population transfers during periods of war, revolution and competitive state-building in the twentieth century. He recently published a co-authored book on the topic covering East-Central Europe, the Balkans, Anatolia, the Caucasus and Soviet Asia (1850s-1950s), with A. Ferrara, entitled, L’età delle migrazioni forzate. Esodi e deportazioni in Europa (1853-1953) [The Age of Forced Migrations.] Bologna: Il Mulino, 2012,
The Department of History hosts a lively departmental research seminar series. Everyone is welcome to attend.
HoW will be held in the Woolley Common Room
Woolley Building A22
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The Department of History is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI)