Lecture at VCU to explore efforts to combat locust swarms in colonial New Spain

Martha Few will speak about the history of efforts to fight locust swarms in what is now Central ...
Martha Few will speak about the history of efforts to fight locust swarms in what is now Central America and southern Mexico between the 1680s and 1830s.

Martha Few, Ph.D., a professor of Latin American history and women's, gender and sexuality studies at Penn State University, will speak at Virginia Commonwealth University about the history of efforts to fight locust swarms in what is now Central America and southern Mexico between the 1680s and 1830s.

Martha Few, Ph.D.
Martha Few, Ph.D.

Few’s talk, “Battling Locust Swarms in Colonial New Spain,” will be the inaugural Harold and Laura Greer Lecture at VCU. It will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at the James Branch Cabell Library, 901 Park Ave. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged.

Starting in the 1680s and continuing through the 1830s, the archival record shows that locust swarms in the region of what is now Central America and southern Mexico (Chiapas and Oaxaca) intensified in frequency, duration and geographic scope.

Few’s lecture will analyze the politics of insect killing campaigns when locusts swarmed by juxtaposing archival examples of colonial, local and Indigenous knowledge claims about insect infestations and eradication by colonial scientists, lay people, political and religious authorities, and Indigenous people as they grappled with food shortages and famine, fear of disease spread and threats of social unrest.

Few is senior editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review. Her research concentrates on the histories of Indigenous people during Spanish colonial rule in Guatemala, Central America and southern Mexico through the lenses of medicine and public health, gender and sexuality, environmental history, and human-animal studies.

This event, sponsored by the VCU Department of History in the College of Humanities and Sciences, is made possible through the support of Harold and Laura Greer, who provided an endowment to establish the Dr. and Mrs. Harold Greer Jr. Distinguished Professorship in Latin American History, which also funds an annual lecture focusing on Latin American history. For additional information or for ADA requirements, contact Andrea Wight at (804) 828-1635.

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