CBS Faculty Matt Chew researching in the UK

Photo of Matt Chew

Center for Biology & Society faculty member Matt Chew recently completed a month in the U.K. doing archival research for a prospective book. Chew's work at Oxford was supported by a fellowship jointly funded by the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, and Oxford University’s Corpus Christi College. Supplemental research at Glasgow University was supported by the Center.

Representatives of two academic presses have expressed interest in the book proposal now in preparation under the working title “An Ecological Pandemonium: Charles Elton and Invasions by Animals and Plants.” Elton was a 20th Century Oxford zoologist whose 1958 book “The Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants” is often credited with initiating modern concern about introduced species. Dr. Chew’s book will expand on his 2006 dissertation, which was the Center’s first Ph.D. project. In part biography, Chew’s text will examine how Elton’s ideas were developed and how he came to write his important book.  The book wil outline that Elton was retroactively co-opted as the father of a discipline he might not recognize or choose to participate in. It will also correct some aspects of previous Elton biographies based (as J.R.R. Tolkien might say) on tales that “grew in the telling” but were never examined or confirmed by outside sources.

Dr. Chew teaches the course “History of Biology–Conflicts and Controversies” (BIO316/HPS330) at ASU Tempe every spring.