Colonies at war: foulbrood disease of bees in England, Jamaica and Palestine, 1920-1947
I study the diseases of the honey bee in the 1920s-40s, especially American foulbrood. I analyse the translation of science into agricultural practice and how this then informs government, through metaphors of political control such as pastoralism, in England, Palestine and Jamaica. This translation happened through the growth of the administrative state: compulsory registration, inspection and professionalisation. It also happened through states' manipulation of the concept of biosecurity; the tendency of scientists to give moral qualities to their subjects; the bellicose, nationalist, popular discourses of 'invasive' species and diseases; and the creation of 'new-native' animals through genetic selection. The use of pesticides was taking off at this time, too, so I hope to historicize current debates on colony collapse disorder (not decolonization!) and neonics. I take approaches from posthumanist theory, especially companionship and domestication, insect and bacteria as agents, and human ideas of what was 'natural' in environmental and political contexts.