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Vincent Bijman MA

PhD candidate

Area(s) of interest: Environmental History, Global History, Societies

Invasive species. The science, management and representation of animal introductions in the context of 20th century globalization

Part of the NWO VICI project ‘Moving Animals: A History of Science, Media and Policy in the Twentieth Century’
Promotor(es):  Prof. Raf De Bont, Dr Jens Lachmund
Started project: 01-03-2020.

The intensification of global connections during the twentieth century led to a substantial increase of animal mobility. Some of these migrations (often as the unintended consequence of human activity) were regarded as problematic ecological invasions, because of the perceived ecological or societal impact of animal movement. These invasions led to a response by a variety of involved actors: (colonial) policy makers, scientists, conservationists, local interest groups and the media. This project studies the history of animal invasions as a constructed problem, which comes to the fore in changing discourses of animal management, studies and representation. The project will focus on three particular case studies – a mammal, a bird and a fish, which will show how the three discourses intersect. The current tentative cases are the Canada goose, the Indian mongoose and the Nile perch. All three cases were well studied by ecologists, led to involvement of policy makers and let to (public) controversies. The project will draw from extensive historical source analysis, a close reading and studies of archival sources, serial sources, audio-visual material and semi-structured interviews. This will lead to new insights in the construction of the modern notion of the invasive animal and the underlying values on animal movement through nature and culture.