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The Life of a Pest tracks the work practices of scientists in Mexico as they study flora and fauna at scales ranging from microscopic to ecosystemic. Amid concerns about climate change, infectious disease outbreaks, and biotechnology, scientific research in Mexico has expanded its focus to go beyond threats to human life to include threats to animal, plant, and microbial worlds. Emily Wanderer outlines how concerns about biosecurity are leading scientists to identify populations and life-forms as worth saving or as "pests" in need of elimination. Moving from high security labs where scientists study infectious diseases, to offices where ecologists regulate the use of genetically modified organisms, to remote islands where conservationists eradicate invasive species, Wanderer explores how biopolitical research informs, and is informed by, concepts of nation.
Emily Wanderer is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh.