Publication Date

May 2013

Advisor(s)

William Johnston

Major

Science in Society

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Wetlands are diverse ecosystems that link human and external environs through the worlds most valuable and prevalent resource: water. The American wetland has gone through a series of transformations since the colonization of the United States, both socially, and physically. For much of U.S. history, wetlands were perceived as trackless wastes, environmental nuisances teeming with miasma, and hindering human progress. In response, they were transformed and destroyed for centuries. However, in the mid-nineteenth century, there was a revolution in scientific thought, and wetlands became the focus of conservation. This thesis works to examine the underpinnings of this transformation of wetlands as a cultural landscape. It argues that advancements in scientific imaging technology prompted the change in the cultural perception of wetland ecosystems, arguing that representation impacts culture in the same way that culture influences representation.

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