The Meaning of Moving Sand: Towards a Dust Bowl Mythology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


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.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-379
Number of pages31
JournalGlobal Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015