Rethinking Invasion Ecologies from the Environmental Humanities: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Rethinking Invasion Ecologies from the Environmental Humanities

1st Edition

Edited by Jodi Frawley, Iain McCalman


288 pages

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Paperback: 9780415716574
pub: 2014-02-20
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Research from a humanist perspective has much to offer in interrogating the social and cultural ramifications of invasion ecologies. The impossibility of securing national boundaries against accidental transfer and the unpredictable climatic changes of our time have introduced new dimensions and hazards to this old issue. Written by a team of international scholars, this book allows us to rethink 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 naïve 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, this book 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. It demonstrates 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.


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

Table of Contents

Part 1 SETTING THE SCENE 1. Ecologies: the nature/culture challenge Part 2 INVASION AND THE ANTHROPOCENE 2. Back Story: Migration, Assimilation, and Invasion in the Nineteenth Century 3. Fragments for a Postcolonial Critique of the Anthropocene: Invasion Biology and Environmental Security 4. Resilience in the Anthropocene: A Biography 5. Landscapes of the Anthropocene: from dominion to dependence? Part 3 EVERDAY LIFE IN INVASION ECOLOGIES 6. Living in a weedy future: insights from the garden 7. Experiments in the rangelands: white bodies and native invaders 8. Thorny problems: Industrial pastoralism and managing ‘country’ in Northwest Queensland, Australia Part 4 ECOLOGICAL POLITICS OF IMAGINING OTHERWISE 9. Prickly Pears and Martian Weeds: Ecological Invasion Narratives in the History and Fiction 10. Cane Toads: Animality And Ecology In Mark Lewis’s Documentary Films 11. Wolvogs, Pigoons and Crakers—Invasion of the Bodysplices in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake Part 5 UNRULY NATIVES AND EXOTICS 12. Invasion ontologies: venom, visibility and the imagined histories of arthropods 13. Naturalising Australian Trees in South Africa: Climate, Exotics and Experimentation 14. Remaking wetlands: rice fields and ducks in the Murrumbidgee River region, NSW 15.Invasion of the crocodiles



About the Editors

Jodi Frawley is a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellow in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney, Australia.

Iain McCalman is a Professorial Research Fellow in History, University of Sydney. He is Co-Director of the new Sydney University Environment Institute, Australia.

About the Series

Routledge Environmental Humanities

From microplastics in the sea to hyper-trends such as global climate change, mega-extinction, and widening social disparities and displacement, we live on a planet undergoing tremendous flux and uncertainty. At the center of this transformation is human culture, both contributing to the state of the world and responding to planetary change. The Routledge Environmental Humanities Series seeks to engage with contemporary environmental challenges through the various lenses of the humanities and to explore foundational issues in environmental justice, multicultural environmentalism, ecofeminism, environmental psychology, environmental materialities and textualities, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, environmental communication and information management, multispecies relationships, and related topics. The series is premised on the notion that the arts, humanities, and social sciences, integrated with the natural sciences, are essential to comprehensive environmental studies.

The environmental humanities are a multidimensional discipline encompassing such fields as anthropology, history, literary and media studies, philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology, and women’s and gender studies; however, the Routledge Environmental Humanities is particularly eager to receive book proposals that explicitly cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, bringing the full force of multiple perspectives to illuminate vexing and profound environmental topics. We favor manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively and accessible style. Our readers include scholars and students from across the span of environmental studies disciplines and thoughtful citizens and policy makers interested in the human dimensions of environmental change.

Please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan (, to submit proposals.

Praise for A Cultural History of Climate Change (2016):

A Cultural History of Climate Change shows that the humanities are not simply a late-arriving appendage to Earth System science, to help in the work of translation. These essays offer distinctive insights into how and why humans reason and imagine their ‘weather-worlds’ (Ingold, 2010). We learn about the interpenetration of climate and culture and are prompted to think creatively about different ways in which the idea of climate change can be conceptualised and acted upon beyond merely ‘saving the planet’.

Professor Mike Hulme, King's College London, in Green Letters

Series Editors:

Professor Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA

Professor Joni Adamson, Arizona State University, USA

Professor YUKI Masami, Kanazawa University, Japan

Previous editors:

Professor Iain McCalman, University of Sydney Research Fellow in History; Director, Sydney University Environment Institute.

Professor Libby Robin, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra; Guest Professor of Environmental History, Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden.

Dr Paul Warde, Reader in Environmental History, University of Cambridge, UK

Editorial Board

Christina Alt, St Andrews University, UK, Alison Bashford, University of New South Wales, Australia, Peter Coates, University of Bristol, UK, Thom van Dooren, University of New South Wales, Australia, Georgina Endfield, Liverpool UK, Jodi Frawley, University of Western Australia, Andrea Gaynor, The University of Western Australia, Australia, Christina Gerhardt, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, USA,□Tom Lynch, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA, Jennifer Newell, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia , Simon Pooley, Imperial College London, UK, Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Ann Waltner, University of Minnesota, US, Jessica Weir, University of Western Sydney, Australia

International Advisory Board

William Beinart,University of Oxford, UK, Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa, Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA, Paul Holm, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Shen Hou, Renmin University of China, Beijing, Rob Nixon, Princeton University, USA, Pauline Phemister, Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK, Deborah Bird Rose, University of New South Wales, Australia, Sverker Sörlin, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, Helmuth Trischler, Deutsches Museum, Munich and Co-Director, Rachel Carson Centre, LMU Munich University, Germany, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, USA, Kirsten Wehner, University of London, UK

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Economic Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy