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Research Seminar: Jessica Wang

January 23, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Jessica Wang is Associate Professor of U.S. History at the University of British Columbia and the author of American Science in an Age of Anxiety: Scientists, Anticommunism, and the Cold War. Her research explores fundamental questions about the relationship between knowledge and power, political imagination and possibility, and the dynamics of international and global phenomena at the local and national levels. She has examined these themes in essay-length works about the history of cold war science, science and liberal democratic political theory in the mid-twentieth century, social science and New Deal political economy, urban politics and American political development, and internationalism and U.S. foreign relations. Her forthcoming book, Mad Dogs and Other New Yorkers: Rabies, Medicine, and Society in an American Metropolis, 1840-1920, will be published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in the second half of 2019. Wang’s current research focuses on tropical agriculture and American empire in the early twentieth century, and on inter-imperial collusion and U.S. power in the pre-World War I decades.

The paper to be discussed:
“Animals, Governance, and American Globalism: Biological Management and Territorial Rule in Early Twentieth-Century Hawai’i.”

A pre-circulated paper will be available.  For access to the paper, please contact Mark Solovey mark.solovey@utoronto.ca.

In the early decades of U.S. rule in the Territory of Hawaii, the territorial government’s Board of Commissioners of Agriculture and Forestry devoted close attention to species introductions and invasive species. Biological control of insect pests through the deliberate introduction of insect parasites, debates over bird admissions whether for insect control or beautification, and efforts to deal with problematic livestock populations, particularly goats and their threat to create denuded landscapes, all signaled the importance of animals as objects of colonial governance that had powerful implications for the territory’s economic viability, as well as the ecosystem itself. The worldwide flows of species, as well as the inter-imperial relationships of scientific experts who sought to contain them, were central to the trans-Pacific and other trans-oceanic networks that linked the American empire to a global imperial order during the early decades of the twentieth century.

Coffee, tea, cookies, and sandwiches will be available.


January 23, 2019
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


IHPST Common Room
VC 303, Victoria College