Masked bandits of the night, raiders of farm crops and rubbish bins, raccoons are notorious for their indifference to human property and propriety. Yet they are also admired for their intelligence, dexterity, and determination. Raccoons have thoroughly adapted to human-dominated environments—they are thriving in numbers greater than at any point of their evolutionary history, including in new habitats. Raccoon surveys the natural and cultural history of this opportunistic omnivore, tracing its biological evolution, social significance, and image in a range of media and political contexts. From intergalactic misanthropes and despoilers of ancient temples to coveted hunting quarry, unpredictable pet, and symbols of wilderness and racist stereotype alike, Raccoon offers a lively consideration of this misunderstood outlaw species.
Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee Nation) is professor of Critical Indigenous Studies and English at the University of British Columbia.
224 pages | 80 color plates