• Megan Black, "Interior Imperialism: Fossil Fuels, American Expansion, and Rebel Park Rangers," n+1, March 28, 2017.
• Timothy Nunan, "Global Interior: A Conversation with Megan Black about the US Interior Department in the American World Order," Toynbee Prize Foundation Global History Forum, March 16, 2017.
New article in Modern American History
Dr Black's new article, “Scene/Unseen: Mining for ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’’s Critique of American Capitalist Exploitation in Mexico” (2:1), discusses the film’s little-recognised but vibrant critique of American power and capitalist exploitation in twentieth-century Mexico. This analysis lies below the surface, buried in the subtext of the film’s onscreen action and hidden beneath layers of its production and censorship. Read it with open access here.
Second award for The Global Interior
Dr Megan Black's book, The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power received the George Perkins Marsh Prize for best book in environmental history in 2018. The prize is awarded by the American Society of Environmental Historians (ASEH) and hers was selected from 95 books also submitted. This is the second prize Dr Black has received for her debut book. Earlier this year, The Global Interior was the winner of the 2019 British Association for American Studies Book Prize.
Picture: Dr Black with ASEH president Professor Graeme Wynn (center), and prize committee chair Professor Ellen Griffith Spears (right)
The Global Interior wins book award
The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power (Harvard University Press, 2018) has won the annual British Association for American Studies (BAAS) prize for best book. The prize committee commented that this was an accomplished account of the US Interior Department’s support for extractive capitalism in the US and the wider world, offering a highly original analysis of how federal bureaucrats employed by the US Geological Survey, the Bureau of Mines, and other Interior agencies served the needs of the state, settler colonialism, and corporate capital on the expanding mineral frontier.
New piece in Modern American History blog
Dr Black contributed a post to the Cambridge Core “Modern American History” blog entitled "Appetite for Destruction? Making Sense of the Interior Department’s Request to Destroy Files" (5 November). The article discusses the US Department of Interior’s recent request to destroy an unspecified number of files, including those related to the management of natural resources – energy and minerals, fishing and wildlife, and national parks – and Native American affairs. The news of this plan was flagged by transparency agencies, and has prompted a debate among academics, archivists, and others concerned about the nature and potential impact of this request.
New book, The Global Interior
Dr Megan Black newest book, The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power, was released by Harvard University Press in October 2018. The Global Interior provides a detailed analysis of how, throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, the US Department of the Interior cultivated and exploited its image as an innocuous scientific-research and environmental-management organisation in order to drive and satisfy America's insatiable demand for raw materials. Interior continues to operate in indigenous lands by coal mining and oil leasing, it pushes the boundaries of territoriality through offshore drilling, and in the guise of sharing expertise with the underdeveloped world, it has led lithium surveys in Afghanistan, among other activities abroad. Indeed, Interior is more than global: the department now manages a satellite that prospects natural resources in outer space!
Dr Megan Black contributed to a BBC News article on "US economy under Trump: Is it the best in history?" on 19 October. The Reality Check team at the BBC decided to test the oft repeated claim by President Trump that the US economy is the best it’s ever been. The verdict? Yes, the economy has been doing well – but there have been periods when it was even stronger.
New Books Network podcast
In anticipation of the release of her first book later this month, The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power, Dr Megan Black has been featured on the New Books Network podcast (2 October) to discuss her research on the US Department of the Interior. The book explores the role of the US Department of the Interior, a government organ best known for managing domestic natural resources and operating national parks, in supporting and projecting American power. Listen to the podcast.