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“Invasive Species, Postcolonial and Critical Global Theory” (12/20/09 due) Crossroads in Cultural Studies (June 17-21, 2010)
full name / name of organization:
Chingling Wo/Sonoma State University, U.S. and Tsung-yi Huang/National Taiwan University, Taiwan
How do we understand the intersection of the environmentalist discourse on invasive species, post-colonial theorization of hybridity, and the tension between localization and global flow? This call-for-paper invites scholars working in environmental studies, critical global studies, post-colonialism, science studies, geography, and other relevant fields to generate critical analysis and develop a cultural studies project on invasive species such as apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata).
Apple snails (“Fu Shou Luo” as its Chinese name) originated from the Amazon. Since the 1980s, it has become invasive to many East Asian water systems (Japan, Vietnam, Philippine, Taiwan, mainland China, Indonesia, and Thailand). Since 2006, following a case of Beijing Fu Shou Luo food poisoning, many fisheries released apple snails (Fu Shou Luo) to native water ways. Thus, many rice irrigation systems in China have been infested with apple snails. While a new wave of apple snail infestation of local waterways begins, many websites are still listing apple snails for sales. This sober story generates its tragic-ness in its continual repetition in different parts of the world. It makes an interdisciplinary project aiming at spreading the words on Fu Shou Luo as one of the world’s 100 most invasive species an urgent one.
In its wake, this silent crisis calls attention to the danger of disciplinary expert knowledge’s uneven distribution as well as the ineffectiveness of existing popular frameworks on the issue. Popular narratives on environmental crises are often top-down and moralistic. They also do not produce desirable effects. A cultural studies project on apple snails would explore the intersection between stories people tell about apple snails, knowledge production, agriculture policies, and critical theory.
The project hopes to serve interdisciplinary dialogues and pave the way to actual policy changes. The project calls for using postcolonial and critical global theory to examine the issue; it will also re-examine these theories in light of the apple snail’s life; while other approaches will be thoroughly considered and encouraged. With the increasingly severe apple snail infestations in China, we strongly encourage scholars from China to submit a proposal. Scientists who specialize in apple snails and would like to have dialogue with scholars from other disciplines are also encouraged to participate. Other interested members of the scholarly community are very welcome as well.
Possible topics or directions (any innovative approaches are welcome)–
Paper proposals on these concrete aspects are also welcome:
With this call for interdisciplinary work, we hope to develop innovative ways to estimate economic and cultural costs, ways to help manage an ecological crisis, ways to articulate history of living together with alien species, and ways to understand naturalization and “cross-cultural” interactions (between people and people, and between people and other living beings).