Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Nature General

Red Coats and Wild Birds

How Military Ornithologists and Migrant Birds Shaped Empire

by (author) Kirsten A. Greer

Publisher
The University of North Carolina Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2020
Category
General, Great Britain, General
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9781469649825
    Publish Date
    Jan 2020
    List Price
    $121.95
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781469649832
    Publish Date
    Jan 2020
    List Price
    $40.95

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Description

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.

About the author

Kirsten A. Greer is associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Histories and Geographies at Nipissing University.

Kirsten A. Greer's profile page

Editorial Reviews

A powerful affirmation for the value of 'critical historical geography' (p.107), and how such work demonstrates the need to deconstruct the colonial imaginaries that continue to circulate within natural history and conservation debates today.--Journal of Historical Geography

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. . . . [this] impressively informative and groundbreaking history . . . is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college and university library British Military History collections and supplemental curriculum studies.--Midwest Book Review