Research from a uniquely humanist perspective has much to offer in interrogating the social and cultural ramifications of invasion ecologies. Written by a team of international scholars, Rethinking Invasion Ecologies from the Environmental Humanities allows us to rethink what has been a longstanding problem in global environmental history: the impact on national, regional or local ecologies of the deliberate or accidental introduction of foreign species, plant and animal.
Modern environmental approaches that treat nature with naive realism or mobilize it as a moral absolute, unaware or unwilling to accept that it is informed by specific cultural and temporal values, are doomed to fail. Instead Rethinking Invasion Ecologies from the Environmental Humanities shows that we need to understand the complex interactions of ecologies and societies in the past, present and future over the Anthropocene, in order to address problems of the global environmental crisis. The impossibility of securing national boundaries against accidental transfer; the development of wide-ranging gene manipulations; and the unpredictable climatic changes of our time have introduced new dimensions and hazards to this old issue.
At the same time the growth of national and racial discourses leveled against the immigration of foreign nationals has increasingly seeped into ecological writing in favor of nativism and against alien species. Guarding against the intrusion of such disguised prejudice has never been more crucial. Moreover, ahistorical assumptions about what is and is not 'native' also cause widespread confusion and prejudice.
Rethinking Invasion Ecologies from the Environmental Humanities takes a balanced view on these issues, showing positive and negative aspects of so-called 'ecological invasions', and demonstrating how humanistic methods and disciplines can be used to bring fresh clarity and perspective on this long vexed aspect of environmental thought and practice. Students and researchers in environmental studies, invasion ecology, conservation biology, environmental ethics, environmental history and environmental policy will welcome this major contribution to environmental humanities.
Part 1: Setting the Scene Introduction Jodi Frawley and Iain McCalman
1. Back Story: Migration, Assimilation and Invasion in the Nineteenth Century Harriet Ritvo
Part 2: Disrupting Exotic/Native Categories
2 No tears for Crocodiles Simon Pooley
3. Remaking wetlands: rice fields and ducks in the Murrumbidgee Emily O'Gorman
4.Natives and invasives in experiments in the rangelands Cameron Muir
Part 3: Imagining Otherwise
5. The Borders between Heaven and Hell: Environmental Threats and Possibilities in Utopias and Dystopias Peter Marks
6. Prickly Pears and Martian Weeds: Ecological Invasion Narratives in History and Fiction Christina Alt
7. Cane Toads: the shifting cultural taxonomy of an Australian icon Morgan Richards
8. Containing Australian Prickly Pear: tropes of population and race in the management of invasive species in Queensland 1925 Jodi Frawley
Part 4: New Perspectives in the History of Invasion Ecologies
9. Resilience in the Anthropocene: A global concept with local origins Libby Robin
10. Invasion ontologies: venom, visibility and the imagined histories of arthropods Peter Hobbins
11. Human Agency, 'invasion' and the adaptation of species in the making of new landscapes Eric Pawson
12. Fragmentary notes to a postcolonial critique of the Anthropocene Gilbert Caluya
Part 5: Technologies of Management
13. The Social Life of Weeds Lesley Head
14. Doing Right by Country: The Pastoral Industry and Prickle Bush Haripriya Rangan
15. Intercultural Weeds Management: Modernity, Indigenous Governance and Native Title in the Kimberley, Australia Jess Weir
"We know enough about the ecology of many invasive species to inform management that would make a huge difference. Around the world, the stumbling block is not so much the shortage of knowledge on what to do, it is ways of getting around the many complexities of the human dimensions of biological invasions. This book provides a crucial advance in this direction"
– David M. Richardson, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
"If Charles Elton's classic, The Ecology of Invasions, changed forever the way we thought about plants and animals, so too Frawley and McCalman's book is a major turning point. Rethinking Invasion Ecologies is a bold set of essays. Assimilation, migration, resilience, habitat, natives – all the conceptual ground that ecology, history and politics share is incisively explored. From crocodiles to humans, cane toads to prickly pears, in new worlds and old, this is environmental humanities at its sharpest."
– Alison Bashford, University of Cambridge, UK
"This exciting, timely and important collection illuminates the complex range of human values and actions that emerge from multi-disciplinary reflection. Often construed as relevant only to biologists, by adapting a cultural and historical perspective the innovative scholarship of Rethinking Invasion Biologies from the Environmental Humanities reframes and reconceptualises the entangled, contradictory and ambiguous relationships between people and unruly biota."
– Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa, South Africa
"This book demonstrates the value of the current turn to interdisciplinary approaches within a world transformed by colonial and postcolonial connections. Seeing human, plant and animal mobilities as thoroughly intertwined products of the Anthropocene, it innovatively bridges nature and culture and merges environmental, cultural and political histories."
– Alan Lester, University of Sussex, UK
"With pieces ranging from a biography of the concept of resilience to case studies of our reactions to cane toads, Latrodectus spiders, and salt-water crocodiles, this book argues the humanities have much to contribute to discussions of the Anthropocene. It makes a strong case, and its emphasis on Australia adds, for the rest of us, another voice to the dialogue. A fine collection on a fascinating and timely topic"
– Thomas R. Dunlap, Texas A&M University, USA