On Friday 3 December 2021 Megan Black held the Roosevelt Lecture in Environmental Studies/NASA Conference Keynote. This lecture is the first in the Roosevelt Lecture in Environmental Studies series.
Megan Black is Associate Professor of History at MIT. You can find more information about Megan Black here.
Megan Black is the author of The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power and her lecture was based on this book. Black described how the US Department of the Interior took a lot of liberties in its scope. Through actions like the extraction of mineral wealth from places that the US had a colonial history in the Department of the Interior became an imperialist institution. Every time the US Empire expanded the Department of the Interior was an important beneficiary of the newfound land. Black discussed how this would extend from the frontier to the Caribbean, Hawaii and eventually space.
After the incredibly interesting lecture Megan Black opened up the floor for a Q&A, and there were plenty of questions to answer. For example, one of the questions was whether the new Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who is a native American, could change the destructive policies that had been in place during her period as Secretary. Megan Black believed that the institution needed a lot more time to change, but was cautiously optimistic that Haaland might be able to start changing the department slowly but surely.
We thank Megan Black for her incredibly interesting lecture. You can watch a recording of the lecture here.