Benjamin Allen Stahnke, Ph.D., is a 2023 graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Alesia Maltz, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Jason Rhoades, PhD, Committee Member
  • Thomas Martin, PhD, Committee Member


border walls, imperial states, social metabolism, social kinetics, green history, climate change, marxism

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This dissertation study investigates the intricate and complicated interplay between the border walls of imperial states, environmental change, and dispossession. Employing a multidisciplinary approach rooted in Political Ecology, and drawing on the theoretical frameworks of Social Metabolism, Social Kinetics, and Green History, the study is built around an analysis of two historical examples: the Roman border walls in the north of England (Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall), and the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The research uncovers two overarching conclusions: firstly, imperial border walls serve as discriminatory structures, targeting and segregating Indigenous populations while asserting control over Indigenous geographies; secondly, the study demonstrates a strong correlation between border walls and climate dynamics. Additionally, the research highlights the temporal and contextual nature of imperial border walls, elucidating their significance with relation to the historical mode of production and metabolism of the state.


Benjamin Allen Stahnke

ORCID Scholar ID# 0009-0002-7789-4949