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date: 19 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Decolonization transformed political geographies; in many ways, it made the world in which we live. But the constraints and possibilities of physical geography were not as readily disregarded. This chapter considers the comparable and connected histories of the world’s desert environments in the era of decolonization. It explains how decolonization and the Cold War took a distinct path in the arid world, asks whether we’ve given enough weight to the place of arid regions in these wider histories and reflects on how, in many ways, these regions still resist being folded into the national stories of imperialism’s successor states.

Keywords: Desert, global history, decolonization, British Empire, French Empire, Middle East, Fertile Crescent, Sahara, Sahel, modernization, Arabia, Cold War

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