Five emus to the king of Siam : environment and empire / edited by Hellen Tiffin.

Amsterdam ; New York : Rodopi, 2007.
Cross/Cultures 92.
Cross/cultures, 0924-1426 ; 92
1 online resource (289 p.)
Imperialism -- Environmental aspects.
Colonies -- Environmental conditions.
Imperialism in literature.
Postcolonialism in literature.
Electronic books.
Western exploitation of other peoples is inseparable from attitudes and practices relating to other species and the extra-human environment generally. Colonial depredations turn on such terms as ‘human’, ‘savage’, ‘civilised’, ‘natural’, ‘progressive’, and on the legitimacies governing apprehension and control of space and landscape. Environmental impacts were reinforced, in patterns of unequal ‘exchange’, by the transport of animals, plants and peoples throughout the European empires, instigating widespread ecosystem change under unequal power regimes (a harbinger of today’s ‘globalization’). This book considers these imperial ‘exchanges’ and charts some contemporary legacies of those inequitable imports and exports, transportations and transmutations. Sheep farming in Australia, transforming the land as it dispossessed the native inhabitants, became a symbol of (new, white) nationhood. The transportation of plants (and animals) into and across the Pacific, even where benign or nostalgic, had widespread environmental effects, despite the hopes of the acclimatisation societies involved, and, by extension, of missionary societies “planting the seeds of Christianity.” In the Caribbean, plantation slavery pushed back the “jungle” (itself an imported word) and erased the indigenous occupants – one example of the righteous, biblically justified cultivation of the wilderness. In Australia, artistic depictions of landscape, often driven by romantic and ‘gothic’ aesthetics, encoded contradictory settler mindsets, and literary representations of colonial Kenya mask the erasure of ecosystems. Chapters on the early twentieth century (in Canada, Kenya, and Queensland) indicate increased awareness of the value of species-preservation, conservation, and disease control. The tension between traditional and ‘Euroscientific’ attitudes towards conservation is revealed in attitudes towards control of the Ganges, while the urge to resource exploitation has produced critical disequilibrium in Papua New Guinea. Broader concerns centering on ecotourism and ecocriticism are treated in further essays summarising how the dominant West has alienated ‘nature’ from human beings through commodification in the service of capitalist ‘progress’.
Preliminary Material
Empire’s Proxy: Sheep and the Colonial Environment / Leigh Dale
Representations of Landscape and Nature in Anthony Trollope’s The West Indies and the Spanish Main and James Anthony Froude’s The English in the West Indies / Claudia Brandenstein
Polluted River or Goddess and Saviour?: The Ganga in the Discourses of Modernity and Hinduism / Meenakshi Sharma
Ecotourism: A Colonial Legacy? / Helen Gilbert
Colonial Nature-Inscription: On Haunted Landscapes / Andrew Mccann
“Transported Landscapes”: Reflections on Empire and Environment in the Pacific / Ruth Blair
The “I” in Beaver: Sympathetic Identification and Self-Representation in Grey Owl’s Pilgrims of the Wild / Carrie Dawson
The Sandline Mercenaries Affair: Postcoloniality, Globalization and the Nation-State / Robert Dixon
Planting the Seeds of Christianity: Ecological Reform in Nineteenth-Century Polynesian London Missionary Society Stations / Anna Johnston
Five Emus to the King of Siam: Acclimatization and Colonialism / Chris Tiffin
“Back to the World”: Reading Ecocriticism in a Postcolonial Context / Susie O’Brien
Views from Van Diemen’s Land: Space, Place and the Colonial Settler Subject in John Glover’s Landscapes / Catherine Howell
Colonial Cordon Sanitaire: Fixing the Boundaries of the Disease Environment / Jo Robertson
“The Animals Are Innocent”: Latter-Day Women Travellers in Africa / Gillian Whitlock
Description based upon print version of record.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Tiffin, Helen.
Publisher Number:
10.1163/9789401204743 DOI
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