About this collection

The common myna (Acridotheres tristis), native to South and Southeast Asia, was introduced to Hawai’i in 1865 as biological pest control. Today, these birds have come to be regarded as pests that endanger and compete with endemic bird populations.

We cannot see them with the naked eye, yet their presence can decide over our life or death. We loath living next to them, yet it was often us who made this proximity possible. We try to describe, control, or exterminate them, yet our efforts often speak more about ourselves than about our would-be enemies. Diseases and pests, these obscure and unwanted agents, shape our lives and environments in unexpected and profound ways. One of the outcomes of the 2016 ESEH summer school “The Undesirable: How Parasites, Diseases, and Pests Shape Our Environments”, this collection explores historical perceptions and management of diseases and pests as well as broader environmental, political, and ethical implications of pest and disease control. “Diseases and Pests in History” is open to new contributions.

The collection is curated by Pavla Šimková (Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society) and Patrick Kupper (Institute for History and European Ethnology, University of Innsbruck).

Information on how to contribute.

15 results
An Environmental History of Tobacco Pests and Diseases in Southern Rhodesia, 1893–1940.
Doro, Elijah Arcadia, Summer 2019, no. 31
Tuberculosis in Echuca, and the Therapeutic Migration to Southeastern Australia (1889–1908)
Le Get, Rebecca Arcadia, Autumn 2018, no. 29
Rabbits on the Edge: The Belonging of Pests in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Bell, Sarah J. Arcadia, Spring 2018, no. 7
The Ecology of Yellow Fever in Antebellum New Orleans: Sugar, Water Control, and Urban Development
Willoughby, Urmi Engineer Arcadia, Spring 2018, no. 1
What Is Yellow Fever? Disease and Causation in Environmental History
Sutter, Paul Arcadia, Autumn 2017, no. 31
American Cockroaches, Racism, and the Ecology of the Slave Ship
Garcia, Lindsay Arcadia, Autumn 2017, no. 29
Marshlands, Sanitation Policies, and Epidemic Fevers in Late-Eighteenth-Century Barcelona (1783–1786)
Pometti, Kevin Arcadia, Autumn 2017, no. 28
A Question of Origins: Skeletal Evidence in the History of Venereal Syphilis
Lockau, Laura Arcadia, Summer 2017, no. 27
Prevention or Poisoning? Dilemmas in Urban Rat Control
Jarzebowska, Gabriela Arcadia, Summer 2017, no. 24
The Good, the Bad, and the Ague: Defining Healthful Airs in Early Modern England
Meredith, Tayler Arcadia, Summer 2017, no. 12
“Hit them hard and hit them well.” Possums, Pollution, and the Past in Aotearoa/New Zealand
Fischer, Jeannine-Madeleine Arcadia, Spring 2017, no. 10
Entomology and Empire: Settler Colonial Science and the Campaign for Hawaiian Annexation
Kessler, Lawrence H. Arcadia, Spring 2017, no. 8
The Overrated Effect of Cholera and Typhoid Fever on Sanitary Reform: The Case of Linz
Pichler-Baumgartner, Luisa Arcadia, Spring 2017, no. 6
Mumps in the Post-Secondary Environment: Targeted Advertising in the 2007–2008 Alberta Mumps Vaccination Campaign
Stark, Robert Arcadia, Spring 2017, no. 4
Treating the “Undesirable”: Venereal Patients in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914–1918
Bogaert, Kandace Arcadia, Spring 2017, no. 2