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The Meaning of Moving Sand. Towards a Dust Bowl Mythology

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This article sketches the outlines of a Dust Bowl mythology as a necessary precondition for future engagement with the event. It analyses the wide array of narratives that have come forth since the 1930s and makes a point of highlighting their connection to worldviews and interests. In addition to written narratives, the article includes images, social practices, and institutional traditions such as the soil conservation bureaucracy as a part of the legacy of cultural memories. It seeks to show how different groups and generations have interpreted the Dust Bowl in widely divergent ways and provides outlines of a new Dust Bowl historiography that brings grand narratives into a dialogue with experiences on the ground.
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Keywords: Dust Bowl; Hugh Bennett; Soil Conservation Service; United States; soil erosion

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2015

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  • The half-yearly journal Global Environment: A Journal of History and Natural and Social Sciences acts as a forum and echo chamber for ongoing studies on the environment and world history, with special focus on modern and contemporary topics. Our intent is to gather and stimulate scholarship that, despite a diversity of approaches and themes, shares an environmental perspective on world history in its various facets, including economic development, social relations, production government, and international relations.
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