Unsettled Frontiers: Why States Colonize and Why They Stop
Colonization -- understood as the coercive displacement of indigenous peoples by settlers -- has been a defining aspect of global history over the past millennium. But why have some indigenous peoples over this period been colonized by settlers and others have not? Why did even canonical settler states like the United States, Canada, or Australia cease colonizing frontier lands in the early 20th century? And why do states ideologically committed to decolonization like Indonesia, Morocco or China continue to settle frontier lands like West Papua, the Western Sahara, or Xinjiang?
This book draws on wide-ranging and original demographic data from Australia, Indonesia, China, and the former USSR to understand the political dynamics underlying the practice of settler colonialism. It shows how states, under certain conditions, manipulate the direction of migration to secure control over valuable and threatened frontiers. But it also shows how, as they grow richer and cities in the core increasingly become magnets for migrants, states lose the power to colonize indigenous peoples. By sharpening a material conflict of interest between states and settlers, economic development decisively shifts the demographic balance of power back in favour of indigenous peoples.
A component of this project was recently published in International Organization. For more, please see Research.