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A History of the Water Hyacinth in Africa: The Flower of Life and Death from 1800 to the Present (Hardback)
  • A History of the Water Hyacinth in Africa: The Flower of Life and Death from 1800 to the Present (Hardback)
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A History of the Water Hyacinth in Africa: The Flower of Life and Death from 1800 to the Present (Hardback)

(author)
£75.00
Hardback 336 Pages / Published: 17/11/2017
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Humans and animals are not the only creatures that migrate. Plants also do. This book is a comprehensive and analytical account of the migration of an Old World plant, water hyacinth (also known to botanists as Eichhornia Crassipes) from the Amazon Basin and surrounding areas to Africa through human agency from about 1800 to the present. As an integrative work, which benefits from methodologies and conceptual approaches drawn from limnology, botany, biology, geography, history, ecology and other social sciences and humanities, the book further explores the political, economic, and ecological consequences of the spread of water hyacinth from its native habitat through European botanical gardens to Africa rivers, lakes, dams, and wetlands. In part, as a narrative of Western tinkering with African ecologies gone awry, the study has strong lessons for environmental historians, and social scientists as well as contemporary foundations, aid workers, development experts and African governments. Although it may appear to be a micro-history of a single plant, water hyacinth, it illuminates broader issues in the history of the modern environment in Africa and similar studies worldwide. This study is primarily rooted on the histories of colonialism, bioinvasion, environmental realities and experiences in Africa. The highly visible pathways of hyacinth's spread across international frontiers along watercourses and communication networks means that not only is this a trans-boundary environmental affair, but one which directly involves bilateral relations between African states.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9781498524629
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 712 g
Dimensions: 239 x 157 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This book is a fine addition to Africa's environmental and economic development history. * International Journal of African Historical Studies *
Hyacinth, it turns out, loves and haunts human development. The various colonial and national projects for the engineering of water and watercourses in twentieth-century Africa created just the conditions it needed to spread, causing problems everywhere it went: clogging rivers, dams, lakes, and canals, damaging fish populations, and disrupting trade and navigation. In a real sense, hyacinth hid within-or `backpacked' on-the rhetoric and purchase of `progress.' As a relentlessly precise gazetteer of this dance between human endeavor and ecological response, Jeremiah Mutio Kitunda's study invites us to rethink the boundaries not only between the human and the natural, but also between the colonial and the postcolonial, and even the `modern' and the `postmodern.' -- Paul A. Custer, Lenoir-Rhyne University
Through detailed regional analyses of the introduction, spread, and attempts to control water hyacinth in Africa, Jeremiah Mutio Kitunda deepens our understanding of the complex and dynamic relationship between humans and nature. As it evolved from a mere object of beauty to an insidious weed, the water hyacinth choked many of Africa's waterways, challenging people to find ways to either control or utilize it. Kitunda's study illustrates the unintended consequences of biological exchanges and how innovative strategies are needed to transform the plant from a weed back into a human ally. -- Heather J. Hoag, University of San Francisco
Jeremiah Mutio Kitunda's encyclopedic survey of the history of the water hyacinth in Africa is an important contribution to environmental studies. His personal field work as well as prodigious research in as yet untapped sources lends it a unique perspective. It covers the introduction of the plant as a phenomenon of colonialism, examines varied attempts to control the plants pernicious effects in both colonial and post-colonial Africa, and-perhaps most importantly-offers new approaches to solving the problem. -- W. Scott Jessee, Appalachian State University

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