Feral Animals in the American South: An Evolutionary History

Feral Animals in the American South: An Evolutionary History

by Abraham H. Gibson


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The relationship between humans and domestic animals has changed in dramatic ways over the ages, and those transitions have had profound consequences for all parties involved. As societies evolve, the selective pressures that shape domestic populations also change. Some animals retain close relationships with humans, but many do not. Those who establish residency in the wild, free from direct human control, are technically neither domestic nor wild: they are feral. If we really want to understand humanity's complex relationship with domestic animals, then we cannot simply ignore the ones who went feral. This is especially true in the American South, where social and cultural norms have facilitated and sustained large populations of feral animals for hundreds of years. Feral Animals in the American South retells southern history from this new perspective of feral animals.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781316610091
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 09/13/2018
Series: Studies in Environment and History
Pages: 245
Product dimensions: 5.94(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Abraham H. Gibson is a Fellow in Residence at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine. He also teaches in the Department of History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania. He has published extensively and has earned fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.

Table of Contents

1. The trouble with ferality: domestication as coevolution and the nature of broken symbioses; 2. Making and breaking acquaintances: the origins of wildness, domestication, and ferality in prehistoric Eurasia; 3. When ferality reigned: establishing an open range in the colonial South; 4. Nascent domestication initiatives and their effects on ferality: claiming dominion in the antebellum South; 5. Anthropogenic improvement and assaults on ferality: divergent fates in the industrializing South; 6. Everything in its right place: wild, domestic, and feral populations in the modern South; Epilogue: cultivating ferality in the Anthropocene.

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