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Beastly Natures

Animals, Humans, and the Study of History

Dorothee Brantz

Publication Year: 2010

This volume of interdisciplinary essays on animals and cultural history boasts a stellar list of international contributors. It will be a valuable text for university courses in the fast-growing field of animal studies.

Published by: University of Virginia Press

Cover, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1-13

“Observe the herd which is grazing beside you. It does not know what yesterday or today is. It springs around, eats, rests, digests, jumps up again, and so from morning to night and from day to day, with its likes and dislikes closely tied to the peg of the moment, and thus neither...

Part I: An Anthropological History of Animals and the Environment

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pp. 15-78

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Does “The Animal” Exist?: Toward a Theory of Social Life with Animals

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pp. 17-37

Animals still elude us. As numerous conference panels, symposia, books, book series, and academic journals attest, the field of animal studies has become an extraordinarily rich and productive one; yet, despite all our efforts, the animals of our scholarship...

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Touching Animals: The Search for a Deeper Understanding of Animals

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pp. 38-58

Since 2002, when it was first displayed at the Arsenale in Venice, Gregory Colbert’s multimedia exhibition Ashes and Snow has drawn more than 1 million visitors to venues in New York City, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Tokyo, and Mexico. The exhibition includes more...

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Wolves in Sheep’s (and Others’) Clothing

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pp. 59-78

Jesus warned his followers, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”1 For the metaphor to make sense, Jesus depended on his listeners’ local understanding that wolves were a threat...

Part II: Acculturating Wild Creatures

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pp. 79-152

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Darwin in the Monkey Cage: The Zoological Garden as a Medium of Evolutionary Theory

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pp. 81-107

On 2 October 1878, a long-awaited shipment of eighty-two animals from East Africa and Southeast Asia arrived in Vienna, accompanied by much fanfare in the press.1 Th e newcomers—including tigers, porcupines, antelopes, a boa constrictor, and several exotic...

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Why the Rhinoceros Doesn’t Talk: The Cultural Life of a Wild Animal in America

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pp. 108-126

On Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise, three animatronic men are forever chased up a palm tree by a rhinoceros whose sharp horn moves endlessly just out of reach of the lowest man’s bottom. Visitors to this ride fl oat past harmless elephants who squirt...

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The Alligator’s Allure: Changing Perceptions of a Charismatic Carnivore

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pp. 127-152

Th e American alligator (known to scientists as Alligator mississippiensis) is a large, toothy reptile that can grow to sixteen feet or longer. Although it inhabits freshwater swamps, marshes, rivers, and lakes throughout much of the southeastern United...

Part III: Animals in the Service of Society

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pp. 153-224

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Nature Bridled: The Treatment and Training of Horses in Early Modern England

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pp. 155-175

Throughout history, man has attempted to dominate his environment and exploit its flora and fauna for his own ends. At first, as a hunter-gatherer, he competed with other animals for food, but he did not begin radically to change the world in which he lived...

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The Public and Private Lives of “First Dogs”: Warren G. Harding’s Laddie Boy and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fala

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pp. 176-203

From the early twentieth century, the dogs of American presidents have enjoyed a special status. Th e iconic standing of the wives and families of the presidents as “first ladies” and “first families” has been extended to the “first dogs.” Ranking...

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The Legacy of Laika: Celebrity, Sacrifice, and the Soviet Space Dogs

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pp. 204-224

On 3 November 1957, less than a month aft er the successful launch of the world’s first artificial satellite, the Soviet Union achieved another milestone in the space race when a small, mixed-breed dog named Laika became the first living creature...

Part IV: Animating the City and the Countryside

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pp. 225-279

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The Horse in the Nineteenth-Century American City

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pp. 227-245

Historians usually depict the nineteenth century as the age of the steam engine, but the giant cities created by the new railroad networks could never have functioned without equine labor, too, incongruous as that seems. Horses hauled the goods essential...

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“Poor Dumb Brutes” or “Friends in Need”?: Animals and River Floods in Modern Germany and the United States

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pp. 246-263

On 25 January 1937, Elsa Odman left Chicago to report for duty in Evansville, Indiana. Two days later, together with nine of her fellow Red Cross nurses, she boarded a U.S. Naval Reserve boat that went up the Ohio River. The boat was an open one, as she explained...

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Counting Sheep in the English Lake District: Rare Breeds, Local Knowledge, and Environmental History

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pp. 264-279

In 2001, British television viewers were horrified to witness an apparent military assault on the nation’s ovine population. Civilian resources had proved inadequate to contain an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, and so the army was called in...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 281-284


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pp. 285-296

E-ISBN-13: 9780813929958
E-ISBN-10: 0813929954
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813929477
Print-ISBN-10: 0813929474

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 20 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2010