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Red Coats and Wild BirdsHow Military Ornithologists and Migrant Birds Shaped Empire$
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Kirsten A. Greer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469649832

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469649832.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021



(p.1) Introduction
Red Coats and Wild Birds

Kirsten A. Greer

University of North Carolina Press

The introduction situates the importance of the book within current politics of nature in the Mediterranean. For the few last decades, there has been talk of a “war” on European migrant birds in the southernmost point of the European Union (EU) and former British colony—Malta. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta has long been viewed as a bridge between Europe and North Africa, with its proximity to Tunisia and Libya in the south and Sicily to the north. Each spring and autumn, thousands of European migrating birds use the Maltese Islands as a resting place for their long journeys to and from their wintering grounds in Africa. While some people have claimed that the EU is another form of imperialism now imposed on the Maltese, what is missing from this understanding are the ways in which bird protection in Malta, the production of the Maltese “pothunter,” and environmental ideas of British migrant birds and semitropicality are rooted in part in Britain’s imperial past in the Mediterranean region. Moreover, Malta’s so-called unnatural relationship with birds has been put into sharp relief in comparison to Britain’s other previous Mediterranean colony—Gibraltar. Once a monument to empire, the British overseas territory is now promoted as a model of nature conservation and ornithological study in the Mediterranean.

Keywords:   politics of nature, bird protection, colonialism, Mediterranean, geopolitics, British empire, transimperialism

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