PUBLIC LECTURE: Thomas W. Laqueur, “Seeing through Fur: the Dog’s Gaze in Western Art”

Part of the Renaissance Skin Project at King’s College London (@RenSkinKCL)

18:00 – 20:00pm, Thu 30 November 2017, Bush House Lecture Theatre 1, 30 Aldwych, London, WC2R 4BG

More porous than skin is the eye. Even if it is not the lamp or the window of the soul, its gaze is revealing of what is inside the skin, of how one creature sees another and its surroundings. The gaze makes worlds. Less porous and less revealing than skin is fur, regarded in the early modern period more as a luxury than a screen on which meaning can be written. This talk is about the special case of the eyes and the fur of dogs as they figure in in the world making of important works in the western tradition from Giotto to Goya

Thomas W. Laqueur is the Helen Fawcett Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been focused on the history of popular religion and literacy; on the history the body – alive and dead; and on the history of death and memory. He writes regularly for the London Review of Booksand the Threepenny Review, among other journals, and is a founding editor of Representations. Laqueur is a member of both the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences but is most proud of the Mellon Distinguished Humanist Award, the proceeds from which he used as seed money for programmes in religion, human rights, and science studies at Berkeley – all of which are now self-sustaining. His most recent book is The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains (Princeton, 2016) His current research is on the history of humanitarianism and on dogs in western art.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception at 7pm on the 8th floor (north side) of Bush House.

Sign up here –

Published by animalhistorygroup

The Animal History Group is a research network open to all postgraduates, academics, museum workers and other professionals whose work engages with animals within history. We foster connections between those active in this field within the London area and beyond, with the goal of inspiring, creating and developing new knowledge about the place of animals within history. You can follow us on Twitter at @AnimalHistories or email us at

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