. Successful medical professionals had more
access to contacts and resources, and were therefore regularly called on by
the medical community to supply such gaps in knowledge. Finally, it shows
that, in return for such circulation and arbitration, participants could
receive many possible rewards, ranging from the increased ability of knowing
whom to trust, to the addition of items of materia medica or naturalhistory to their collections.
At all points in medical practice, then,
physicians were required to collect and
Aquarium Colonies and Nineteenth-Century Narratives of Marine Monstrosity
In this essay the author proposes that a detailed study of the context of the production and reception of the spate of best-selling marine natural history books published in the 1850s provides an important and neglected opportunity for understanding Victorian conceptions of evolutionary,and anthropological monstrosity. Whilst the ape has received a good deal of attention as the primary evolutionary icon, through which the Victorians dreamed their nightmares of descent, the marine invertebrate has been much neglected. However, represented by evolutionists as the first life forms on the planet from which all higher life forms had evolved, marine invertebrates were an important alternative evolutionary ancestor, and were used to express ideas about the `nature of class, race and masculinity‘.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, museums in Europe and North America were at their largest and most powerful. New buildings were bigger; objects flooded into them, and more people visited them than ever before. The Manchester Museum is an ideal candidate for understanding cultures of display in twentieth-century Britain. It is a treasure trove of some four million priceless objects that are irreplaceable and unique. Like many large European collections, the origins of the Manchester Museum are to be found in a private cabinet: that of John Leigh Philips. This book traces the fate of his cabinet from his death in 1814. The establishment of the Manchester Natural History Society (MNHS) allowed naturalists to carve out a space in Manchester's cultural landscape. The Manchester Museum's development was profoundly affected by the history of the University in which it operated. In January 1868, the Natural History Society formally dissolved, and an interim commission took control of its collections; the Manchester Geological Society transferred its collections the following year. The new collection was to be purely scientific, comprising geology, zoology and botany, with no place for some of the more exotic specimens of the Society. The objects in the collection became part of Manchester's civic identity, bringing with them traces of science, empire and the exotic. Other museological changes were afoot in the 1990s. Natural history collections became key sites for public engagement with environmental issues and biodiversity and more recently as sites for exhibiting art.
The Victorian gorilla was the most Gothic of animals. Described by Western science only in 1847, it was brought spectacularly to public attention in 1861 by the French-American gorilla hunter Paul du Chaillu‘s Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa. As du Chaillu described his quest for this ‘hellish dream creature’, his narrative devotes a considerable amount of space to the struggles he endured in obtaining sufficient food. Particularly, du Chaillu is obsessed with meat: how to get it, what species to eat, how, indeed, to avoid being eaten himself. This essay explores the ways in these dietary anxieties become entwined with the monstrous figure of the gorilla, and, most significantly, how du Chaillu‘s narrative destabilises established conceptions of the relation between meat-eating and identity.
As the British and French empires expanded, constructing new imperial dimensions through growing commerce and the relationships of industrialisation, the bases of Spanish power were being undermined. Nationalism, revolt, the pursuit of forms of decolonisation (often aided by Spain's rivals) became the prime characteristic of Central and South American politics. This book examines the study of natural history in the Spanish empire in the years 1750-1850, explaining how the Spanish authorities collected specimens for the Real Jardín Botanico and the Real Gabinete de Historia Natural. During this period, Spain made strenuous efforts to survey, inventory and exploit the natural productions of her overseas possessions, orchestrating a series of scientific expeditions and cultivating and displaying American fauna and flora in metropolitan gardens and museums. This book assesses the cultural significance of natural history, emphasising the figurative and utilitarian value with which eighteenth-century Spaniards invested natural objects, from globetrotting elephants to three-legged chickens. Attention is also paid to the ambiguous position of Creole (American-born Spanish) naturalists, who were simultaneously anxious to secure European recognition for their work, to celebrate the natural wealth of their homelands. It considers the role of precision instruments, physical suffering and moral probity in the construction of the naturalist's professional identity. The book assesses how indigenous people, women and Creoles measured up to these demanding criteria. Finally, it discusses how the creation, legitimisation and dissemination of scientific knowledge reflected broader questions of imperial power and national identity.
This book explores the influence of imperialism in the landscapes of modern European cities including London, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Marseilles, Glasgow and Seville. The first part considers some ways in which the design of urban landscapes articulated competing visions of the imperial city, including large-scale planning and architectural schemes, urban design and public monuments. The final shape of the Queen Victoria Memorial in London suggests an oddly tenuous relationship between the creation of imperial space and the representation of the empire itself. The notions of empire and romanità are expressed through the location, styling and form of the Vittoriano in Rome. The second part of the book considers the role of various forms of visual display, including spectacular pageants, imperial exhibitions and suburban gardens, in the cultural life of metropolitan imperialism. The material transformation of Paris with rhetorical devices reveals a deep-seated ambiguity about just how 'imperial' Paris wanted to appear. Sydenham Crystal Palace housed the Ethnological and Natural History Department, and its displays brought together animals, plants and human figures from various areas of the globe. The largest part of imperial Vienna's tourist traffic came from within the Austrian lands of the empire. The last part of the book is primarily concerned with the associations between imperial identities and the history of urban space in a variety of European cities. The book considers the changing cultural and political identities in the imperial city, looking particularly at nationalism, masculinity and anti-imperialism.
Transnational dynamics in post-genocidal restitutions
Taking its starting point from a socio-anthropological study combining
biographical interviews, semi-structured interviews and ethnographic
observations collected between 2016 and 2018 in Germany, France and the United
States among Ovaherero and Nama activists, and also members of different
institutions and associations, this article focuses on the question of human
remains in the current struggle for recognition and reparation of the genocide
of the Ovaherero and Nama from a transnational perspective. First, the text
shows the ways in which the memory of human remains can be considered as a
driving force in the struggle of the affected communities. Second, it outlines
the main points of mismatches of perspective between descendants of the
survivors and the responsible museums during past restitutions of human remains
from German anthropological collections. Third, the article more closely
examines the resources of Ovaherero in the United States in the struggle for
recognition and reparation, the recent discovery of Namibian human remains in
the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the questions that
or any serious philosophical scrutiny. In fact, the more philosophers have applied the gardening metaphor to tame the wilderness and its state of political animality ( Bauman, 1991 ), the more they have reduced humans to the level of wild beasts and have authored genocides in its name. And yet the ontological idea that life needs to be made partially secure by drawing upon a sovereign claim to order remains a constant in all dominant forms of political reasoning. Just walk into any naturalhistory museum and look upon the version of the past presented with sure
century and it situates Spanish
engagement with naturalhistory within an imperial context, suggesting
that the ability to procure peckish pachyderms and other natural
treasures rested on expansive overseas possessions and efficient
administrative structures. The economic, social and moral benefits
associated with the study of nature are investigated, as are the ways in
which the creation, legitimisation
This book explores the vogue for home aquaria that spread through Great Britain around the middle of the nineteenth century. The marine tank, perfected and commercialised in the early 1850s, was advertised as a marvel of modernity, a source of endless entertainment and a tool providing useful and edifying knowledge; it was meant to surprise, bringing a profoundly unfamiliar experience right to the heart of the home and providing a vista on the submarine world, at the time still largely unknown. Thanks to an interdisciplinary approach, this book offers an example of how the study of a specific object can be used to address a broad spectrum of issues: the Victorian home tank became in fact a site of intersection between scientific, technological, and cultural trends; it engaged with issues of class, gender, nationality and inter-species relations, drawing together home décor and ideals of domesticity, travel and tourism, exciting discoveries in marine biology, and emerging tensions between competing views of science; due to the close connection between tank keeping and seaside studies, it also marked an important moment in the development of a burgeoning environmental awareness. Through the analysis of a wide range of sources, including aquarium manuals, articles in the periodical press and fictional works, The Victorian aquarium unearths the historical significance of a resonant object, arguing that, for Victorians, the home tank was both a mirror and a window: it opened views on the underwater world, while reflecting the knowledge, assumptions, and preoccupations of its owners.