By Peter Coates
Occasionally unintentionally and occasionally on goal, people have transported crops and animals to new habitats worldwide. Arriving in ever-increasing numbers to American soil, contemporary 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 anxiousness over this quandary of ecological identification a contemporary phenomenon? Charting transferring attitudes to alien species because the 1850s, Peter Coates brings to mild the wealthy cultural and ancient elements of this tale via situating the heritage 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've got regularly perceived vegetation and animals relating to ourselves and the polities to which we belong. atmosphere the saga of human relatives with the surroundings within the wide context of clinical, social, and cultural historical past, this thought-provoking e-book 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
66 Human undesirables were not just compared to pathogens. They were often blamed for maladies. “They no longer come, like the hordes of old, on horseback, fantastically dressed in skins, brandishing spears,” remarked Cornelia James Cannon in 1923. 68 And, as we shall see, this host of negatively naturalizing images was complemented by a welter of anthropomorphic metaphors that unfavorably humanized undesirable faunal and floral immigrants. Metaphors that naturalize people and humanize animals and plants are equally pervasive today.
59 Metaphors are commonly used to naturalize humans and humanize nonhuman nature. ” The “current platitudes” tied to particular animals emphasize certain traits that can be readily suggested through the connection. “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.
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. ”74 Since the 1840s, anxious and frustrated Americans have identiWed a host of threats, internal and external, to the well-being of their values and the nation itself, among them popery (1840s); Jews, alcohol, exposed female ankles, salacious movies (1910s and 1920s); the Soviet Union’s “evil empire,” “environmental extremists” (1980s); and, most recently, the “axis of evil” (Iraq, Iran, and North Korea).
American Perceptions of Immigrant and Invasive Species: Strangers on the Land by Peter Coates