Miles Powell is an environmental historian with a special interest in topics that highlight linkages between issues of sustainability, and race, class, and gender inequities.
Miles Powell received his BA and MA from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, where he researched the environmental history of Native herring fisheries in British Columbia. Miles completed doctoral studies at the University of California-Davis, developing fields in environmental history, American history, and world history. Upon arriving at NTU, he began using local archives to study Singapore’s environmental history, focusing especially on interactions between colonial era settlers and Malayan tigers. His first book, Vanishing America: Species Extinction, Racial Peril, and U.S. Conservation’s Troubled First Century, uses discourses of extinction to explore connections between racial attitudes and environmental thought in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century America. In so doing it places the environment squarely within the history of American race relations.
Miles Powell’s currently researching the global environmental history of human interactions with sharks in the twentieth century. This work examines how human diets and sport fisheries have driven the decline of shark populations, producing cascading trophic collapses. This project also exposes the material and social consequences of changes in popular perceptions of sharks from “mindless killing machines” to integral components of ecosystems.
Vanishing America: Species Extinction, Racial Peril, and U.S. Conservation’s Troubled First Century (Harvard University Press, 2016).
‘People in Peril, Environments at Risk: Coolies, Tigers, and Colonial Singapore’s Ecology of Poverty,’ Environment and History (Forthcoming).
‘“Pestered with Inhabitants”: Aldo Leopold, William Vogt, and More Trouble with Wilderness,’ Pacific Historical Review, 84 (2), (May, 2015), pp.195-226