Jonathan Galka, Harvard University; Anthony Medrano, Yale-NUS College;
Across critical studies of science, ecological dichotomies between native and alien species have been thoroughly denaturalized. Historians and anthropologists of science have parsed how categories of invasive, alien, exogenous, and introduced, map onto humans, nonhuman organisms, and multispecies assemblages to delineate nature-in-place, and nature-out-of-place. 'Aliens,' it now goes, are best construed not as a category maintained in opposition to 'natives,' but rather as one end of a continuum that unfolds in historical time and in situated contexts. Species in motion interact with new environments, political projects, and cultural values to produce emergent ecologies. In turn, biological invasion along alien/native lines and its related idioms have been potent sites for rethinking the interplay between nature and globalizing infrastructures, commodity chains, settler colonialism, and indigenous and other resistance. This panel suggests that the Pacific inherits a particularly dense world of aliens becoming natives, and natives becoming aliens.
It asks: when species move and meet, what do these encounters look like? How do these encounters and their edge effects shape ways of belonging? How can we learn from nonhuman species that travel, spread, and settle? And while aliens and natives embody different kinds of knowledge practices and ecological pasts, how might their stories of becoming and belonging offer insights for living in the times and places of a 'Patchy Anthropocene'? We invite contributions that consider these themes from not only the social studies of science, but also from ecological and other sciences, and from others engaged in the work of knowing non-native species.