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Narrating across Species Lines
An Ethical Reader in a Posthuman World
Although Cultural Studies has directed sustained attacks against sexism and racism, the question of the animal has lagged behind developments in broader society with regard to animal suffering in factory farming, product testing, and laboratory experimentation, as well in zoos, rodeos, circuses, and public aquariums. The contributors to Animal Subjects are scholars and writers from diverse perspectives whose work calls into question the boundaries that divide the animal kingdom from humanity, focusing on the medical, biological, cultural, philosophical, and ethical concerns between non-human animals and ourselves. The first of its kind to feature the work of Canadian scholars and writers in this emergent field, this collection aims to include the non-human-animal question as part of the ethical purview of Cultural Studies and to explore the question in interdisciplinary terms.
As the most populous province in Canada, Ontario is a microcosm of the animal welfare issues which beset Western civilization. The authors of this book, chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, find themselves constantly being made aware of the atrocities committed in the Society’s jurisdiction.
They have been, in turn, puzzled, exasperated and horrified at humanity’s cruelty to our fellow sentient beings. The issues discussed in this book are the most contentious in animal welfare disputes — animal experimentation, fur-farming and trapping, the use of animals for human entertainment and the conditions under which animals are raised for human consumption. They are complex issues and should be thought about fairly and seriously.
The authors, standing squarely on the side of the animals, suggest “community” and “belonging” as concepts through which to understand our relationships to other species. They ground their ideas in Wordsworth’s “primal sympathy” and Jung’s “unconscious identity” with the animal realm. The philosophy developed in this book embraces common sense and compromise as the surest paths to the goal of animal welfare. It requires respect and consideration for other species while acknowledging our primary obligations to our fellow humans.
A World View through History
Drawing on the latest research in archaeozoology, archaeology, and molecular biology, Animals as Domesticates traces the history of the domestication of animals around the world. From the llamas of South America and the turkeys of North America, to the cattle of India and the Australian dingo, this fascinating book explores the history of the complex relationships between humans and their domestic animals. With expert insight into the biological and cultural processes of domestication, Clutton-Brock suggests how the human instinct for nurturing may have transformed relationships between predator and prey, and she explains how animals have become companions, livestock, and laborers. The changing face of domestication is traced from the spread of the earliest livestock around the Neolithic Old World through ancient Egypt, the Greek and Roman empires, South East Asia, and up to the modern industrial age.
The Past and Present of Commensal Animals
In this fascinating book, Terry O’Connor explores a distinction that is deeply ingrained in much of the language that we use in zoology, human-animal studies, and archaeology—the difference between wild and domestic. For thousands of years, humans have categorized animals in simple terms, often according to the degree of control that we have over them, and have tended to see the long story of human-animal relations as one of increasing control and management for human benefit. And yet, around the world, species have adapted to our homes, our towns, and our artificial landscapes, finding ways to gain benefit from our activities and so becoming an important part of our everyday lives. These commensal animals remind us that other species are not passive elements in the world around us but intelligent and adaptable creatures. Animals as Neighbors shows how a blend of adaptation and opportunism has enabled many species to benefit from our often destructive footprint on the world. O’Connor investigates the history of this relationship, working back through archaeological records. By requiring us to take a multifaceted view of human-animal relations, commensal animals encourage a more nuanced understanding of those relations, both today and throughout the prehistory of our species.
One of the greatest attractions of a trip to Kenya is the chance to see animals such as lions, cheetah, leopards, zebra, and giraffe up close and in their natural habitats. Animals of the Masai Mara is a lavish photographic guide that explores the charismatic wildlife most likely to be encountered by a safari visitor to the Masai Mara National Reserve in southwest Kenya. More than 140 stunning photographs showcase 65 mammals and 17 reptile species, including 6 snakes. Designed to be informative and locally accurate, rather than purely identification-based, this easy-to-use book pays particular attention to wildlife behavior and is written from the firsthand experiences of the authors and the knowledge of local safari guides. Numerous "Top Tips" throughout show readers how and where to locate specific species. The only field guide to focus solely on the wildlife of the Masai Mara National Reserve, Animals of the Masai Mara will be indispensable to visitors to this famous park and all nature enthusiasts with an interest in this area of the world.
And Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Containing 146 stunning color photos, Animals of the Serengeti is a remarkable look at the mammals and reptiles most likely to be encountered in the world-famous Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. With an eye-catching layout, accessible text, and easy-to-use format, this detailed photographic guide includes 89 species of mammal and reptile. Useful “Top Tips”—shared by local Tanzanian guides that work in the region—provide visitors with insights into behavioral habits and how to locate specific animals. Filled with vivid anecdotes, Animals of the Serengeti will enable any safari traveler to identify the area’s wildlife with ease.
Interaction Networks and Colony Behavior
How do ant colonies get anything done, when no one is in charge? An ant colony operates without a central control or hierarchy, and no ant directs another. Instead, ants decide what to do based on the rate, rhythm, and pattern of individual encounters and interactions--resulting in a dynamic network that coordinates the functions of the colony. Ant Encounters provides a revealing and accessible look into ant behavior from this complex systems perspective.
Focusing on the moment-to-moment behavior of ant colonies, Deborah Gordon investigates the role of interaction networks in regulating colony behavior and relations among ant colonies. She shows how ant behavior within and between colonies arises from local interactions of individuals, and how interaction networks develop as a colony grows older and larger. The more rapidly ants react to their encounters, the more sensitively the entire colony responds to changing conditions. Gordon explores whether such reactive networks help a colony to survive and reproduce, how natural selection shapes colony networks, and how these structures compare to other analogous complex systems.
Ant Encounters sheds light on the organizational behavior, ecology, and evolution of these diverse and ubiquitous social insects.
Essays on Culture and Species Death
We live in an era marked by an accelerating rate of species death, but since the early days of the discipline, anthropology has contemplated the death of languages, cultural groups, and ways of life. The essays in this collection examine processes of—and our understanding of—extinction across various domains. The contributors argue that extinction events can be catalysts for new cultural, social, environmental, and technological developments—that extinction processes can, paradoxically, be productive as well as destructive. The essays consider a number of widely publicized cases: island species in the Galápagos and Madagascar; the death of Native American languages; ethnic minorities under pressure to assimilate in China; cloning as a form of species regeneration; and the tiny hominid Homo floresiensis fossils ("hobbits') recently identified in Indonesia. The Anthropology of Extinction offers compelling explorations of issues of widespread concern.
Reform, Resistance, and the Pursuit of a Rational Therapeutics
In The Antibiotic Era, physician-historian Scott H. Podolsky narrates the far-reaching history of antibiotics, focusing particularly on reform efforts that attempted to fundamentally change how antibiotics are developed and prescribed. This sweeping chronicle reveals the struggles faced by crusading reformers from the 1940s onward as they advocated for a rational therapeutics at the crowded intersection of bugs and drugs, patients and doctors, industry and medical academia, and government and the media. During the post–World War II “wonder drug” revolution, antibiotics were viewed as a panacea for mastering infectious disease. But from the beginning, critics raised concerns about irrational usage and overprescription. The first generation of antibiotic reformers focused on regulating the drug industry. The reforms they set in motion included the adoption of controlled clinical trials as the ultimate arbiters of therapeutic efficacy, the passage of the Kefauver-Harris amendments mandating proof of drug efficacy via well-controlled studies, and the empowering of the Food and Drug Administration to remove inefficacious drugs from the market. Despite such victories, no entity was empowered to rein in physicians who inappropriately prescribed, or overly prescribed, approved drugs. Now, in an era of emerging bugs and receding drugs, discussions of antibiotic resistance focus on the need to develop novel antibiotics and the need for more appropriate prescription practices in the face of pharmaceutical marketing, pressure from patients, and the structural constraints that impede rational delivery of antibiotics worldwide. Concerns about the enduring utility of antibiotics—indeed, about a post-antibiotic era—are widespread, as evidenced by reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, academia, and popular media alike. Only by understanding the historical forces that have shaped our current situation, Podolsky argues, can we properly understand and frame our choices moving forward.