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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)by Christine Keiner
Synopses & Reviews
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
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History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General