After Extraction: A Partical Political Ecology of Central Illinois

March 10th, 2020

Combining creative nonfiction and montage-based images to depict a partial history of extractive land use in Central Illinois.

Field Guide 05

The once-dominant biome of tall grass prairie found in Central Illinois was maintained through the overlapping work of Indigenous peoples, grazing bison, weather-induced fires, and the underlying, deep effects of geological and climatic forces. Environmental historians tell us these grasslands were, in geologic terms, a relatively new and fragile, biome. Their near-complete destruction, including the lifeways through which they were constituted, only took about one hundred years. The Westward expansion of the settler-colonial nation state brought legal and mechanical technologies that turned the complex landscape before it into a simplified medium for extracting row crops and coal. This field guide combines creative non-fiction and montage-based images to depict a partial history of extractive land use in Central Illinois.