Mosquitoes and city mangroves: monsters of many margins

Judith, Kate ORCID: (2018) Mosquitoes and city mangroves: monsters of many margins. In: Quite Frankly It's a Monster Conference, 17-19 Oct 2018, Perth, Australia.

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A mangrove lurks monster-like alongside the engineered embankments, walking paths and sports grounds of the Cooks River in Sydney’s southern suburbs. Its trees breath underwater, its ground is slimy, its creatures crawl sideways and peer through eyes that wave around on stalks, and it smells, at times, like the earth’s bad breath. This mangrove accumulates human rubbish and industrial toxins washed down from drains and settled into silt, roots, branches and burrows, emphasising its marginality. There are mangroves at the end of my street, and if I stop for a while and watch the crabs and tiny shrimps and little darting fish among the roots and mud and stinking human trash I feel I am disappearing into a gap in the world of the city where the strange pushes through.

Monsters of considerable psychological, social and biological affect for humans emerge from this slimy place. Mosquitoes breed within mangroves in the puddles of brackish water left in the higher reaches of the mud banks after king tides. Some female mosquitoes pay particular attention to human skin and blood, and humans have become especially attentive to and knowledgeable about these. We pay close attention to each other such that not only the constitutions of our bodies but also our daily practices have become entangled. The female mosquito with a preference for human blood is surely an important companion species for humans, although we tend to respond towards her as our predator rather than our kin. She provides humans with cause for a predator-oriented wariness that is now rare and notable for us. We are likely to become acutely stimulated by her high-pitched sound and will move away or divert our attention towards her apparent threat. This paper explores human entanglement with the particularly intimate yet alien monsters of urban mangroves.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Open Access College (1 Jul 2013 - 7 Jun 2020)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Open Access College (1 Jul 2013 - 7 Jun 2020)
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2019 07:52
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2020 03:37
Uncontrolled Keywords: monster, mangrove, more-than-human
Fields of Research (2008): 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2203 Philosophy > 220303 Environmental Philosophy
Fields of Research (2020): 50 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 5003 Philosophy > 500304 Environmental philosophy

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