Travis V Mason


It might seem odd to claim birding as a postcolonial reading strategy, as a strategy of approach to the text and the world that implicitly questions power structures and political injustices. Pre-eminent American ornithologist John James Audubon, after all, infamously slaughtered hundreds of avian specimens in the interest of preserving and identifying, through image, unique features for classification. Is it possible, after such a history, for the act of birding to be fairly neutral? Can birders avoid charges of ownership, especially considering the privileged economic, class requirements typically associated with the practice? I think they can, but not without acknowledging their complicity in a historical and an ongoing cultural and ecological imperialism.



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