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Dogs, snakes, venoms and germs, 1840–68
Peter Hobbins

Public demonstrations helped establish the dangerous action of snake venom through the mid-nineteenth century, but they provided little elucidation as to its nature. Was it animal, germinal or chemical? This fundamental question proved ontological in two senses. First, venom provided an exemplar of an ontological agent of disease: a discrete entity causing a

in Venomous encounters
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An introduction
David Lambert and Peter Merriman

endogenously, that is defined by common ‘cultural connections and identities’ rather than geographically defined communication systems that usually provide the foundation for oceanic ontologies. 44 Whatever their specificities, these spatial conceptualisations share a common focus on circulation and flow, which has led some critics to express concern that there has been an overemphasis on connections and entanglements at the expense of breakages, blockages and disconnections. This is one area where Mobility Studies has much to offer in that it has foregrounded the need to

in Empire and mobility in the long nineteenth century
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Building the French empire
Benjamin Steiner

Chandra Mukerji, From Graven Images: Patterns of Modern Materialism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983); Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction into Actor-Network-Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); Diana Coole and Samantha Frost (eds), New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Durham/London: Duke University Press, 2010); Andreas Folkers, ‘Was ist neu am neuen Materialismus? Von der Praxis zum Ereignis’, in Tobias Goll, Daniel Keil, and Thomas Telios (eds), Critical Matter: Diskussionen eines neuen Materialismus

in Building the French empire, 1600–1800
Mobility and erasure in the art of Flinders’s Australian voyage, 1801– 3
Sarah Thomas

disorderly mobility is inherent in the idea of travel. It is essential to the traveller’s encounters with difference, with serendipity, and with motion in a psychological and ontological sense.’ 7 The pervasive tensions between the paradigm of a staid imperial order – political stability, pre-ordained social and racial hierarchies, ‘on-the-spot’ observational authority – and the profoundly disorienting experiences of travel, produced new scientific and artistic approaches to the production of imperial knowledge. Mobility had been equated with the pursuit of knowledge at

in Empire and mobility in the long nineteenth century
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Peter Hobbins

necessarily became a primary mode of medical progress. An associated imperative is to comprehend the evolving but unstable nature of venom itself as an ontological agent. This formulation extends beyond Owsei Temkin’s ontological conception of disease: the late nineteenth-century transition from remedying internal imbalances to perceiving discrete but stable external pathogens as the chief cause of illness. 18

in Venomous encounters
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Peter Hobbins

, what roles it served, and whether it hallmarked progress or atavism, largely went unasked. The historical ontology of venom is a second stream coursing through this book. From dragon’s breath to ‘germinal matter’, it traced a remarkable journey from 1600 to 1900. If in 1788 an animal’s malevolence passed into its poison, by 1888 attributions flowed largely in the reverse direction

in Venomous encounters
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Snakes, vivisection and scientific medicine in colonial Australia
Author: Peter Hobbins

From the day that Europeans first stepped ashore to occupy the Australian continent, they were never alone. If colonists took comfort from the presence of these familiar beasts, they remained less certain of the indigenous creatures they encountered. This book argues that the practice of vivisection inextricably linked familiar animals and venomous snakes in colonial Australia, and offers a new perspective, inter alia, on science and medicine in the colonial antipodes. Public vivisections to study envenomation and antidotes established standards of proof and authority which were followed, rather than led, by learned professionals. The book establishes the concept of the colonial animal matrix, elaborating how white settlers related both to the domestic species that landed alongside them and the autochthonous animals they encountered up to 1840. By the early 1850s, plebeian expertise had established vivisection as the prime means of knowing venomous animals in Australia. Instruments and living experiments became necessary to establish objective medical facts in the antipodes. By the time that Britain legislatively regulated vivisection in mid-1876, animal experimentation had independently become de rigueur for colonial investigations of envenomation and remedies. Seeking an effective remedy for snakebite was considered sufficient reason to lessen moral consideration for animals such as dogs, involved in such experiments. Clinical experience appeared largely to trump vivisectional data for much of the 1890s. Yet, when a 'universal' antivenene appeared, predicated upon the new science of immunology, its efficacy was concomitantly discredited by the novel technologies of experimental medicine.

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Austerity, abundance and race in post-war visual culture
David C. Wall

this situation, white space carries with it the ontological legitimacy of whiteness itself. As all social and discursive zones are structured in relation to each other, to allow the transgression and disruption of white space is to accept the collapse of white subjectivity itself. Though Lola Young is literally correct when she states that Simba ‘does not engage with the Black

in Cultures of decolonisation
Matthew P. Fitzpatrick and Peter Monteath

discussions in this collection. In employing race as an analytical category, however, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of its ontological status as a concept. Post-Foucauldian and Butlerian scholarship has regularly made the strong ontological claim that ‘the materiality of the racial body is an effect of discourse’. 50 Under this reading, the raced body appears as a discursively constituted line of demarcation between the colonised and the colonisers

in Savage worlds
Species, serums and localisms, 1890–1914
Peter Hobbins

The quantitative turn in pathology, bacteriology and physiology after 1880 has generated a robust historiography. At its crux lie conjoint questions of scientific authority and professional testimony, centred upon novel technologies which established ontological agents as prima facie causes of disease. 1 Yet these clinical innovations – including Listerian

in Venomous encounters