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Red Coats and Wild Birds: How Military Ornithologists and Migrant Birds Shaped Empire
The University of North Carolina Press, January 2020
During the nineteenth century, Britain maintained a complex network of garrisons to manage its global empire. While these bases helped the British project power and secure trade routes, they served more than just a strategic purpose. During their tours abroad, many British officers engaged in formal and informal scientific research. In this ambitious history of ornithology and empire, Kirsten A. Greer tracks British officers as they moved around the world, just as migratory birds traversed borders from season to season.
Greer examines the lives, writings, and collections of a number of ornithologist-officers, arguing that the transnational encounters between military men and birds simultaneously shaped military strategy, ideas about race and masculinity, and conceptions of the British Empire. Collecting specimens and tracking migratory bird patterns enabled these men to map the British Empire and the world and therefore to exert imagined control over it. Through its examination of the influence of bird watching on military science and soldiers’ contributions to ornithology, Red Coats and Wild Birds remaps empire, nature, and scientific inquiry in the nineteenth-century world.
Latest posts by Kirsten Greer (see all)
- New Book – Red Coats and Wild Birds - March 27, 2020
- CFP AAG 2017: Interdisciplinary research on past environments - September 14, 2016
- CFP: The Environmental Histories of Ports and Ocean Trade - April 22, 2015
- Empire, Trees, and Climate in the British North Atlantic: Towards Critical Dendro-Provenancing - November 19, 2014
- HGSG Student Paper Award Competition - January 13, 2014
- Marine Zoogeographies in the North Atlantic: Connecting Canada to Bermuda - January 24, 2012
- Of Birds and Timber: Uncovering Trans-Atlantic Connections at Musquash, New Brunswick (Updated) - July 6, 2011
- Red Coats and Wild Birds - August 4, 2010
- Chimney Swifts Return to Queen’s University - April 9, 2010
- Transnational Ecologies in Malta - June 18, 2009