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Rendering's recursions : industrial beekeeping's imperial inheritances Quinn, Alyssa


The migratory beekeeping industry in North America is an integral component of capitalist agriculture due to the pollination services it provides. The industry is rife with problems ranging from the difficulty of maintaining adequate honey bee populations from year to year, to the negative impacts intensified agricultural land use has on wild species. Discussions surrounding the predicaments facing honey bees often occlude historical and ongoing settler colonialism as well as the capitalist economy that drives the pursuit of economies of scale. In order to remediate the aforementioned tendencies, this thesis puts to work Stoler’s (2016) recursive analytics to weave a genealogical account of the imperial formations that inhere in contemporary industrial beekeeping, with a focus on the 1862 Morrill Act and its relationship to the modernization of apiculture. I then take Greenpeace’s “Save the Bees” campaign to task to illustrate capitalism’s subsumption of discourse. Using Shukin’s (2009) rubric of rendering, I argue that a biopolitical analysis of commercial beekeeping necessitates a reading of both symbolic and material currencies towards a more fulsome understanding of trends within the industry. My research seeks to show the entanglements between imaginative structures, power, and relationships to bees and more-than-human worlds more broadly.

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