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Governing the Wild

Governing the Wild: Ecotours of Power

Stephanie Rutherford
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Governing the Wild
    Book Description:

    Take four emblematic American scenes: the Hall of Biodiversity at the American Museum of Natural History; Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park; an ecotour of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks; the film An Inconvenient Truth. Stephanie Rutherford shows how these sites are all manifestations of green governmentality, each seeking to define and regulate our understanding, experience, and treatment of nature.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7846-4
    Subjects: Environmental Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. INTRODUCTION: Governing Nature
    (pp. ix-xxvi)

    In the Hall of Biodiversity at the American Museum of Natural History in New York is a glass case embedded in the floor of the exhibit called “The Crisis Zone.” Housed within this case is a number of extinct or endangered animal specimens, the most notable among them being a giant Bengal tiger. Its eyes are alert, round, steady; it regards the viewer almost in surprise at the encounter. Its gaze draws the viewer in, inviting a connection—a mutual recognition of the other and understanding that its wild cousins are under threat. This is charismatic megafauna at its best,...

  4. CHAPTER 1 Ordering Nature at the American Museum of Natural History
    (pp. 1-42)

    When you enter the American Museum of Natural History in New York from the 77th Street entrance, you encounter a profoundly striking diorama depicting the Dutch colonization of New Amsterdam (now Manhattan). A group of men are foregrounded, two Indigenous and two European. The Europeans, one brandishing a rifle and the other with a hand outstretched, invite the Indigenous men (smaller in size) to approach in supplication and bestow the corn and jewelry they carry, presumably in the form of a gift to the newly minted American settlers. The Indigenous men are shown wearing loincloths and feathers—the quintessential body...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Wild That Never Was
    (pp. 43-88)

    In 1992 Michael Sorkin published a picture of the sky over Disney World in his edited volume entitledVariations on a Theme Park: The The New American City and the End of Public Space. He did so to illustrate that the sky was the only thing that could be pictured without violating the copyright that the Disney Corporation has placed on the park. To Sorkin, Disney World serves as an example of the “contraction of the space of freedom” (1992, 207) that has become commonplace in American cities like New York and Los Angeles. For my purposes, it has meant...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Wolves, Bison, and Bears, Oh My! Defining Nature at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
    (pp. 89-138)

    In October 2006, I embarked on an ecotour to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in Wyoming: a seven-day excursion into “yesteryear’s frontier.” On the last day, I sat in the van that had transported our ecotour all over the two national parks, pondering our trip. I gazed out the window, half listening to our guide explain the impact of brucellosis, an infectious disease that induces spontaneous abortion in both livestock and “wild” creatures like bison. It has been a remarkable trip, I thought, filled with spectacular mountain vistas, quaint towns, and a picnic in the snow, as well as...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Science and Storytelling: Al Gore and the Climate Debate
    (pp. 139-182)

    In the last few years, it seemed there was the potential for consensus, or at least uneasy quiet, in the climate change debate. After decades of vacillation, obfuscation, and the production of uncertainty around this issue, particularly in the United States, the mounting scientific evidence appeared to have opened a political window of sorts, bending the weight of public and political opinion toward the understanding that climate change was an issue that required action. Even staunch “deniers” like George W. Bush were required to recognize anthropogenic global warming as fact. Indeed, both U.S. presidential candidates in 2008 recognized climate change...

  8. CONCLUSION: Being Otherwise
    (pp. 183-204)

    These days it is a tricky business to critique efforts at environmental regulation. Given the predictions of climate change, biodiversity loss, and species extinction, it seems impolitic to challenge programs that appear to ameliorate human effects on the world. In many respects, those of us—myself included—who are environmentally minded find ourselves ensconced in somewhat of a George W. Bush binary: “you are either with us, or against us.” As a friend often reminds me, Greenpeace, however problematic, is not BP. Thus, a hazard in my project is that one can be placed alongside those who would deny the...

  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 205-206)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 207-212)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 213-230)
  12. Index
    (pp. 231-250)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 251-251)