Consider the Qing Locust

David A. Bello


This article examines a 1761 locust eradication operation involving both Mongol and Han personnel, within a larger context of issues related to mutually conditioning relations between people, plants and animals. Such locusts outbreaks, as products of complex environmental relations still not fully understood, could provide unexpected opportunities for intense trans-Great Wall cooperation and bonding among groups often rhetorically and analytically separated by idioms of steppe and sown. Environmental interdependencies that emerge from these incidents may form the analytical basis for empire as a ‘multi-environmental,’ rather than as an anthropocentric multi-ethnic, construct in which ecological factors play a constructive role that is often inadvertent or unacknowledged.

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