American Perceptions of Immigrant and Invasive Species: Strangers on the Land

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University of California Press, 2007 - Nature - 266 pages
2 Reviews
Sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose, humans have transported plants and animals to new habitats around the world. Arriving in ever-increasing numbers to American soil, recent invaders have competed with, preyed on, hybridized with, and carried diseases to native species, transforming our ecosystems and creating anxiety among environmentalists and the general public. But is American anxiety over this crisis of ecological identity a recent phenomenon? Charting shifting attitudes to alien species since the 1850s, Peter Coates brings to light the rich cultural and historical aspects of this story by situating the history of immigrant flora and fauna within the wider context of human immigration. Through an illuminating series of particular invasions, including the English sparrow and the eucalyptus tree, what he finds is that we have always perceived plants and animals in relation to ourselves and the polities to which we belong. Setting the saga of human relations with the environment in the broad context of scientific, social, and cultural history, this thought-provoking book demonstrates how profoundly notions of nationality and debates over race and immigration have shaped American understandings of the natural world.
 

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Review: American Perceptions of Immigrant and Invasive Species: Strangers on the Land

User Review  - Steve - Goodreads

The book's structure, focusing at length on a few particular but varied case studies, gives a useful sense of how issues and attitudes changed in real time. A more comprehensive approach, one that ... Read full review

Review: American Perceptions of Immigrant and Invasive Species: Strangers on the Land

User Review  - Scott - Goodreads

Smashing! The thesis links human xenophobia to the perceptions of invasive plants and animals. Read full review

Contents

1 Strangers and Natives
1
2 The Avian Conquest of a Continent
28
3 Plants Insects and Other Strangers to the Soil
71
4 Arboreal Immigrants
112
5 The Nature of Alien Nation
151
NOTES
191
INDEX
249
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Peter Coates is Reader in American and Environmental History in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Bristol, UK. Among his books is "Nature: Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times "(UC Press).

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