Knockout Narratives Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    The Powell's Playlist | January 5, 2015

    Tim Johnston: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Songs for Not Sleeping by Tim Johnston

    I once told a medical-profession-type lady that I didn't sleep well, that I awoke all through the night and was awake for hours. "What do you do... Continue »

Qualifying orders ship free.
New Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
25 Remote Warehouse US History- 20th Century

This title in other editions

Other titles in the Environmental History and the American South series:

The Oyster Question: Scientists, Watermen, and the Maryland Chesapeake Bay Since 1880 (Environmental History and the American South)


The Oyster Question: Scientists, Watermen, and the Maryland Chesapeake Bay Since 1880 (Environmental History and the American South) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In The Oyster Question, Christine Keiner applies perspectives of environmental, agricultural, political, and social history to examine the decline of Marylands iconic Chesapeake Bay oyster industry.

Oystermen have held on to traditional ways of life, and some continue to use preindustrial methods, tonging oysters by hand from small boats. Others use more intensive tools, and thus it is commonly believed that a lack of regulation enabled oystermen to exploit the bay to the point of ruin.

But Keiner offers an opposing view in which state officials, scientists, and oystermen created a regulated commons that sustained tidewater communities for decades. Not until the 1980s did a confluence of natural and unnatural disasters weaken the bays resilience enough to endanger the oyster resource. Keiner examines conflicts that pitted scientists in favor of privatization against watermen who used their power in the statehouse to stave off the forces of rural change. Her study breaks new ground regarding the evolution of environmental politics at the state rather than the federal level.

The Oyster Question concludes with the impassioned ongoing debate over introducing nonnative oysters to the Chesapeake Bay and how that proposal might affect the struggling watermen and their identity as the last hunter-gatherers of the industrialized world.

About the Author

Christine Keiner teaches environmental studies and the history of science at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Foreword, by Paul S. Sutter


Introduction: Culture Wars and the Maryland Oyster

Chapter 1. Chesapeake Bay: Protein Factory, Working Landscape

Chapter 2. Culture Shock: Progressive Era Science, Tidewater Tradition, and the Oyster Privatization Debate

Chapter 3. State Farming under the Chesapeake: Interwar Oyster Conservation, Science, and Politics

Chapter 4. Postwar Pressures: The Improbable Persistence of the Oyster Commons

Chapter 5. Brave New Bay: Bridging Ecology and Economics via Native versus Nonnative Oysters

Epilogue: Toward a Protein Factory Farm



Product Details

Keiner, Christine
University of Georgia Press
Oyster fisheries - Maryland - Management -
Oyster fisheries
United States - 20th Century
Historical geography
United States - State & Local - Middle Atlantic
Modern - 20th Century
US History - 20th Century
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Environmental History and the American South
Publication Date:
14 b&w photos, 2 maps
9 x 6 x 0.93 in 1.48 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Birds » Birdwatching
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Birds » General
Science and Mathematics » Ornithology » General Ornithology and Birding

The Oyster Question: Scientists, Watermen, and the Maryland Chesapeake Bay Since 1880 (Environmental History and the American South) New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$55.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages University of Georgia Press - English 9780820326986 Reviews:
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at