Incorporating the Beast: Traditional Historical Narratives and the Animal Turn

AHA Session 286
Sunday, January 8, 2017: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Centennial Ballroom F (Hyatt Regency Denver, Third Floor)
Aaron H. Skabelund, Brigham Young University
The Audience

Session Abstract

Since the Animal Turn of the 1980s, the history of human-animal relations has focused on situating animals firmly within the framework of human history.  Working within such historical fields as the history of science and technology, imperial history, and heritage/memory studies, animal historians have illustrated an increasing importance in the inclusion of animals into both micro- and macro-histories of the world, not only as byproducts of human history but also as socio-cultural agents of change.  The purpose of this panel is to discuss the diverse avenues for historical research within the field of human-animal relations as well as provide tangible examples in the use of animal representation in scholarship, researching animal history in archives, the interdisciplinary scope of the field, and the evolving historiography of human-animal relations to incorporate other more traditional historical fields such as the history of technology and memory studies.  This session would appeal to a large audience, including but not limited to:  animal history scholars, archive studies/museum studies scholars, scholars of the history of science and technology, memory studies scholars, and historians of war and society.

In her paper, entitled “Reading the History of Childhood in the Interwar Turkey through the Images of Animals,” Melis Sulos, CUNY, discusses the importance of representation in the scholarship of human-animal relations; her work focuses on the use of infant animals to explore the political rhetoric of childhood in Turkey during the interwar years.  The second presenter, Gwyneth Thayer, NCSU Libraries, will be discussing the types of archival resources available to scholars and how those sources can be used to construct historical narratives about animals; paper is entitled, “Animal Welfare and Animal Rights Collections at NCSU Libraries/Special Collections and the Archival Landscape of Animal History.”  Steve Ruskin, an independent scholar, will look at the interdisciplinary scope of the field; his paper, entitled “Preserving Animals, Establishing Identity: Taxidermy and Specimen Collection in the Pikes Peak Region, 1870–1930,” examines the melding of the history of science, technology, and medicine with animal history to discuss the importance of animals to the sciences.  Finally, Chelsea Medlock, OSU, will present a paper, entitled “Supplantation, Memory, and the Veteran Status of War Animals since 1900,” which discusses the evolving historiography of the field that actively attempts to situate the history of human-animal relations firmly within the context of traditional historical scholarship.

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