American Perceptions of Immigrant and Invasive Species: by Peter Coates

By Peter Coates

Occasionally unintentionally and infrequently on objective, 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 ailments to local species, reworking our ecosystems and developing anxiousness between environmentalists and most people. yet is American anxiousness over this challenge 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 old facets of this tale through 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 have 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 large context of medical, social, and cultural heritage, this thought-provoking booklet demonstrates how profoundly notions of nationality and debates over race and immigration have formed American understandings of the wildlife.

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The applicability of this observation to my second period of study is not, however, so clear-cut. My case for material discontinuity despite the appearance of rhetorical continuity—a central concern of the Wnal chapter— draws on the notion of the “faded metaphor,” a term coined in 1885 by German linguist Philip Wegener. 72 Once that context changes, however, the color is drained out of those metaphors that naturalize people and humanize animals and plants. ”73 Yet this popular synonym for nonnative does not fully explain this book’s subtitle.

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.

With parks, squares, and avenues effectively shadeless and surrendered to the worm, summer in the city became unbearable. With harassed citizens begging for relief, public-spirited individuals, civic bodies, and municipal authorities merrily recruited English sparrows. qxd 36 9/25/2006 2:57 PM Page 36 The Avian Conquest of a Continent spring of 1852. Eugene Schieffelin, a prominent Wgure in Manhattan society, whose immigrant grandfather had made a bundle in the wholesale pharmaceutical business, took over the initiative.

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