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Double book launch: Conflict, borders, and the nature state

  • April 30, 2021
  • 10:00 AM (EDT)

In this roundtable Frederico Freitas (NC State, Raleigh) and Wilko Hardenberg (MPIWG, Berlin) meet to launch their recent books on the history of, respectively, the national parks on the Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Argentina and the Gran Paradiso National Park in Italy. They will be joined by Matthew Kelly (Northumbria U., Newcastle-upon-Tyne) to discuss the place of the state in conservation history, especially in settings characterized by intense political conflict and authoritarian rule.

Hardenberg’s A Monastery for the Ibex: Conservation, State, and Conflict on the Gran Paradiso, 1919-1949 (University of Pittsburgh Press 2021) is the first history of the early years of one of Italy’s oldest parks, on the Gran Paradiso massif near the French border. The book merges the history of conservation with that of the region’s social and environmental context and that of the Fascist regime to produce a multifaceted narrative about the park as an institution, iconic animals as the matter of propaganda, conservation as a space of conflict, and the competing interests of local communities and different state agencies.

In Nationalizing Nature: Iguazu Falls and National Parks at the Brazil-Argentina Border (Cambridge University Press 2021) Freitas uncovers how Brazil and Argentina used parks to nationalize borderlands and promote internal migration. By tracking almost one hundred years of national park history in Latin America’s largest countries, the book highlights the role of conservation policy in promoting national programs of frontier development and border control.

The event will take place on Zoom. To register and receive the link please drop a line to

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