By Peter Coates
Occasionally by chance and occasionally on objective, people have transported crops and animals to new habitats world wide. Arriving in ever-increasing numbers to American soil, contemporary invaders have competed with, preyed on, hybridized with, and carried illnesses to local species, remodeling our ecosystems and growing anxiousness between environmentalists and most of the people. yet is American anxiousness over this quandary of ecological id a up to date phenomenon? Charting transferring attitudes to alien species because the 1850s, Peter Coates brings to mild the wealthy cultural and historic facets of this tale by means of situating the historical past of immigrant natural world 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 vegetation and animals in terms of ourselves and the polities to which we belong. surroundings the saga of human family with the surroundings within the extensive context of medical, social, and cultural heritage, this thought-provoking ebook demonstrates how profoundly notions of nationality and debates over race and immigration have formed American understandings of the wildlife.
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Extra info for American Perceptions of Immigrant and Invasive Species: Strangers on the Land
I also revisit the notion of exceptionalism that often dominates discussion of the impact of nonnative species on host ecosystems and American responses to them. The American histories of the eucalyptus and English sparrow are not the only ones that supplement their homeland stories. The eucalyptus was also transplanted to Algeria, Brazil, India, Italy, South Africa, and Spain. The sparrow was added to the fauna of other colonies of white settlement such as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, where initial hopes were also soon challenged and eventually overwhelmed by perceptions of menace.
73 Yet this popular synonym for nonnative does not fully explain this book’s subtitle. My inspiration comes primarily from John Higham’s seminal study of hostility toward immigrants, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of Nativism in American History, 1860s to 1920s. In a new preface to the second edition, Higham touches on the themes of immigrant promise and immigrant menace by emphasizing the perennial tension in American society and culture between the desire for openness and flexibility and the demand for stability and security.
33 Writing at a time when he was secretary of Harvard University (effectively President Charles W. Eliot’s right-hand man) and a member of Nuttall, Bolles’s invective also expressed the close relationship between notions of human and avian Wtness and belonging that was characteristic of AngloAmerican thinking at the time: City-bred man without knowledge of lake and forest, mountain and ocean, is an inferior product of the race; but disagreeable as he is, the city-bred bird is worse. The English sparrow .