By Peter Coates
Occasionally accidentally and infrequently on objective, people have transported crops and animals to new habitats all over the world. Arriving in ever-increasing numbers to American soil, fresh invaders have competed with, preyed on, hybridized with, and carried illnesses to local species, reworking our ecosystems and growing nervousness between environmentalists and most of the people. yet is American nervousness over this drawback of ecological identification a contemporary phenomenon? Charting moving attitudes to alien species because the 1850s, Peter Coates brings to gentle the wealthy cultural and ancient features of this tale by way of situating the background of immigrant wildlife in the wider context of human immigration. via an illuminating sequence of specific invasions, together with the English sparrow and the eucalyptus tree, what he unearths is that we have got continuously perceived crops and animals on the subject of ourselves and the polities to which we belong. atmosphere the saga of human kinfolk with the surroundings within the huge context of clinical, social, and cultural background, this thought-provoking ebook demonstrates how profoundly notions of nationality and debates over race and immigration have formed American understandings of the flora and fauna.
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Extra info for American Perceptions of Immigrant and Invasive Species: Strangers on the Land
86 The “Today” program, BBC Radio’s flagship morning news broadcast, regularly reports heated controversy over the alleged misdeeds of species like the American gray squirrel, American mink, American ruddy duck, Argentine ant, and Spanish bluebell (as well as plans to protect the natives they beleaguer). K. qxd 26 9/25/2006 2:57 PM Page 26 Strangers and Natives organization on Britain’s landscape conservation scene suggests that it may be acquiring greater purchase), the juxtaposition of native and nonnative species is far from alien to British conservation debates.
The wolfmetaphor,” he explains, “organizes our view of man” by transferring the received qualities of the “subsidiary” subject (the wolf) to the “principal” subject (man). Within Western thought, the wolf analogy has almost invariably been applied to people for defamatory purposes. But whether Wgurative uses of language carry pejorative, positive, or essentially neutral meanings usually depends on context and user. Black explains: “There are . . many contexts (including nearly all the interesting ones) where the meaning of a metaphorical expression has to be reconstructed from the speaker’s intentions (and other clues) because the broad rules of standard usage are too general to supply the information needed.
Qxd 20 9/25/2006 2:57 PM Page 20 Strangers and Natives Europeans. The bee’s characteristics they sought to communicate, however, had to do with menace, not promise. The dangers associated with bees and wasps also dominated metaphorical applications when nativists wanted to bad-mouth non-Nordic immigrants. Playing on deep-seated antipathy to stinging insects, they applied traditional allusions to “hordes” of rapidly multiplying insects to unsavory immigrants. In an influential work of pseudoscientiWc racial theory (from 1916), a leading wildlife conservationist, Madison Grant, reported of his hometown, New York City, that Anglo-Saxons were “literally driven off the streets .
American Perceptions of Immigrant and Invasive Species: Strangers on the Land by Peter Coates