Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Upcoming book from Dean Bavington

Dean Bavington is an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in Environmental History at Nipissing University. I expect his first book, from University of British Columbia Press in May, to have a big impact on resource debates.

Here's the publisher's blurb:

Managed Annihilation: An Unnatural History of the Newfoundland Cod Collapse
Dean L.Y. Bavington

The Newfoundland and Labrador cod fishery was once the most successful commercial ground fishery in the world. When it collapsed in 1992, fishermen, scholars, and scientists pointed to failures in management such as uncontrolled harvesting as likely culprits. Managed Annihilation makes the case that the idea of natural resource management itself was the problem. The collapse occurred when the fisheries were state managed and still, nearly two decades later, there is no recovery in sight. Although the collapse raised doubts among policy-makers about their ability to understand, predict, and control nature, their ultimate goal of control through management has not wavered – it has simply been transferred from wild fish to fishermen and farmed cod.

Unlike other efforts to make sense of the tragedy of the commons of the northern cod fishery and its halting recovery, Bavington calls into question the very premise of management and managerial ecology and offers a critical explanation that seeks to uncover alternatives obscured by this dominant way of relating to nature.
– Bonnie McCay, Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers University

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

James Murton speaks this Friday, 2:30 pm

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Political hunting:"Fabulous beasts can only be slain by fabulous humans."

At the Kalamazoo Medieval Congress I snatched up at a very reasonable price the single display copy of Thomas T. Alllsen's The Royal Hunt in Eurasian History.

My interest was simple. I had noticed in my recent teaching of ancient history that monarchs of nearly every culture we touched on were routinely depicted as mighty hunters. I got into the habit of telling my students "here is so-and-so as Gilgamesh," referring to one of the earliest examples of such depiction. Similarly, in teaching world history I was fascinated by all the pictures left by North Indian and Central Asian monarchs of their hunting exploits and what looked like huge picnics.

I finally had some time today to look at Allsen's book and I'm glad bought it. It is an elegantly written, wide-ranging exploration of how hunting, a practical and high prestige activity through most of history, has also served as a symbol of royal control over nature, and the strength and accomplishment of monarchs. I look forward to having a chance to read it thoroughly.

The environmental historian joining our department in the fall, Dean Bavington, has worked on fishing as hunting versus fishing as modern managed economic activity. I wonder if he'd like to have this book in our collection when he gets here?

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