Date of Award
In this work, I provide a few brief glimpses into a very deep history of human-fish relations in the vast Connecticut River Valley, focusing primarily on the middle reaches of the watershed, occasionally extending further to the north and south. These relations encompass a vast array of direct and indirect interactions between millions of human beings and fish beings who have lived in and moved through this vast watershed. They have flowed stealthily, intimately, drastically, catastrophically, and contradictorily into each other’s lives, deeply shaping each other’s experiences, actions, sensibilities, social organization, habitats, and much more. I introduce the paper with an examination of the geographical settings, critiquing some of the typical assumptions about the origins, ends, and boundaries of the Connecticut River system. I attempt to build a case for understanding fishes as conscious, sentient, playful, pain-suffering agents who engage in social relations with their fellows and with human beings. The narrative begins in Chapter 0.5 with the Mesozoic. Chapter 1 jumps to the post-glacial Holocene, taking a look at thousands of years of relations between fishes and Indigenous peoples. Chapter 2 examines the catastrophes of Dutch and English settler-colonialism, structures of thought, and environment-making. Chapter 4 takes a glance at human-fish relations under 19th-century industrial capitalism and the first environmental management bureaucracies. Chapter 5 takes a quick look at human-fish relations in the 20th-century, when they became swamped by total bureaucratization and truly earth-shattering infrastructural development. Due to sheer time limits, most of the colonial and post-colonial period will amount to a scattered photo-essay with some brief case studies and anecdotes highlighting particularly important infrastructures or locations and their historical political ecologies.
Yue, Albert, "A Deep History of Human-Fish Relations in the Connecticut River Valley" (2021). Senior Theses. 1499.
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