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Greg Bankoff

Professor Greg Bankoff

Greg Bankoff is a non-western historian with interests in the role of disasters in human societies, resources and risk management, the environmental consequences of modern conflict, human-animal relations, and the development of colonial science. Though his particular geographical focus is on Southeast Asia and on the maritime nature of Spain’s empire in the Pacific, he has increasingly become more of a global historian in recent years.

Greg is currently working on some new ideas related to climate change around the central question of why we don’t take the steps to ameliorate or minimise climate change when we know what to do, which was the theme of his contribution to the debate on Geo-engineering: Pipe Dream or Reality? in March 2010.

Greg Bankoff says:

Thinking like an environmental historian means considering not simply what happened between peoples in the past but also about how different peoples related to the inanimate and animate world around them: the earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods and droughts that regularly affected communities; the buildings, forts, ships, roads, fields and forests, what they were made of and how they were used; and the livestock, game and pets that men and women worked alongside, hunted and shared their homes with. In my work, I always try to adopt an inter-disciplinary approach that combines the social with the natural sciences, theoretical insights with historical perspectives. I find that it is working at the intersections of these enquiries that produce the most exciting research.

In particular, disasters are set to become a major new field of historical studies, receiving increasing popular and governmental attention that corresponds to their escalating magnitude and frequency. One only has to think of the impact and concern that events like the recent Indian Ocean Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina engendered to appreciate this point fully. Yet little work of an historical nature has so far been done in this area both in assessing the true extent of past events and their consequences but equally, and perhaps more importantly, in determining what role they have played in the development of human societies over time.


A History of Natural Resources in Asia: The Wealth of Nature
Edited by Greg Bankoff and Peter Boomgaard Breeds of Empire: The Invention of the Horse in 
Southeast Asia and Southern Africa 1500-1950 
by Greg Bankoff, Sandra Swart, Peter Boomgaard, 
William Gervase Clarence-Smith, Bernice de Jong Boers and Dhiravat Na Pombejra Cultures of Disaster: Society and Natural Hazards in the Philippines
by Greg Bankoff Mapping Vulnerability: Disasters, Development and People
Edited by Greg Bankoff, Georg Frerks and Dorothea Hilhorst

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Greg Bankoff, ‘First Impressions: Diarists, Scientists, Imperialists and the Management of the Environment in the American Pacific, 1899-1902’, Journal of Pacific History , 44(3), 2009, pp.261-280.

Greg Bankoff and Dorothea Hilhorst, ‘The Politics of Risk in the Philippines: Comparing State and NGO Perceptions of Disaster Management’, Disasters, 33(4), 2009, pp. 686-704.

Greg Bankoff, ‘Breaking New Ground? Gifford Pinchot and the Birth of “Empire Forestry” in the Philippines, 1900-1905’, Environment and History, 15(3), 2009, pp.369-393.

Greg Bankoff, ‘A Month in the Life of José Salud, Forester in the Spanish Philippines, July 1882,’ Global Environment, 3, 2009, pp.8-47.

Greg Bankoff, ‘Living with Risk, Coping with Disasters: Hazard as a Frequent Life Experience in the Philippines,’ Education About Asia, 12(2), 2007, pp. 26-29

Greg Bankoff, ‘Fire and Quake in the Construction of Old Manila’, Medieval History Journal , 10(1/2), 2007, pp.411-427

Greg Bankoff, ‘Bodies on the Beach: Domesticates and Disasters in the Spanish Philippines 1750-1898’, Environment and History, 13(3), 2007, pp.285-306

Greg Bankoff, ‘The Dangers of Going It Alone: Social Capital and the Origins of Community Resilience in the Philippines’, Continuity and Change , 22(2), 2007, pp.327-355

Greg Bankoff, ‘One Island Too Many: Reappraising the Extent of Deforestation in the Philippines Prior to 1946’, Journal of Historical Geography , 33(2), 2007, pp.314-334

Greg Bankoff, ‘Winds of Colonisation: The Meteorological Contours of Spain's Imperium in the Pacific, 1521-1898’, Environment and History, 1, 2006, pp.65-88

Greg Bankoff, ‘“These Brothers of Ours”: Poblete’s Obreros and the Road to Baguio 1903-1905’, Journal of Social History, , 38(4), 2005, pp.1047-1072

Greg Bankoff, ‘Wants, Wages and Workers: Laboring in the American Philippines, 1899-1908’, Pacific Historical Review, 74(1), 2005, pp.59-86.

Greg Bankoff, ‘Bestia Incognita: The Horse and Its History in the Philippines 1880-1930’, Anthrozoös, 17(1), 2004, pp.3-25

Greg Bankoff, ‘In the Eye of the Storm: The Social Construction of the Forces of Nature and the Climatic and Seismic Construction of God in the Philippines’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 35(1), 2004, pp.91-111

Greg Bankoff, ‘“Regions of Risk”: Western Discourses on Terrorism and the Significance of Islam’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 26(6), 2003, pp.411-426

Greg Bankoff, ‘Constructing Vulnerability: The Historical, Natural and Social Generation of Flooding in Metro Manila’, Disasters, 27(3), 2003, pp.224-238

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Useful Links books by Greg Bankoff

Greg Bankoff, Department of History, University of Hull

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