Summer Workshop 2017

‘Co-operation and Conflict’

King’s College London, 1st June 2017. The Anatomy Museum, 6th Floor Strand Building, KCL, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS.

On Thursday 1st June, we were delighted to be joined for our first Summer Workshop by around fifty academics, students and museum professionals from around the UK and beyond. We heard four panels of papers on the themes of Domesticity, Understanding, Deployment and Capture, and enjoyed extended and engaging discussion in the audience question sessions. In the evening, we were honoured to welcome Professor Harriet Ritvo, from MIT, to deliver her keynote address: A Whiff of Danger: Hybridity, Breed and Wildness.

The AHG twitter account (@AnimalHistories) ran a live commentary of the papers and discussion on the day, and we know that a number of attendees were doing so as well. You can see a summary the paper/panel live tweets and the wider online discussion around the workshop on our Storify:

Thank you once again to everybody who helped make #AHG17 a success. We really enjoyed not only hearing such an interesting and diverse range of papers but also having the opportunity to gather so many animal historians in one room, which made for many fascinating and fruitful conversations. Keep your eye on our website and social media for announcements about #AHG18 in due course!

The Programme for our Summer Workshop can now be downloaded here – Programme AHG17 or for a preview please see below.


9:00am            Registration and Coffee

9:15am            Welcome and Introduction.

9:30am-11:00am        Domesticity

Ideal food for ideal dogs: Domesticity and the Transformation of Canine Nutrition, 1900-1939.

Tom Quick, Research Associate on ‘The Dog in Science and Medicine in 20th Century’, University of Manchester.

Promiscuous Travel Companions, Admirable Midwives: Prairie Voles, Ecology and Fatherhood 1947-1971.

Nicholas Stucklin, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lausanne. Visiting PhD Student King’s College London.

Living with Siamese Cats: Co-operation and Conflict with Companion Animals in the home in Mid-Twentieth Century Britain.

Jane Hamlett, Rebecca Preston, Lesley Hoskins, Royal Holloway, University of London. @JaneHamlett, @pethistories

Chair and Coordinator: Alison Skipper, King’s College London. @acdalison

11:00-11:30am            Coffee Break

11:30am – 1pm           Understanding

On the Beach and Beyond: Responses to and understandings of Sperm Whale strandings on the British North Sea Coast since 1980.

Sophia Nicolov, Bristol University. @SophiaNicolov

Blaming the Rat? Animal agency and plague in colonial India.

Nicholas Evans, University of Cambridge.

Healing the feeling heart: emotional health as more than human cooperation in the late twentieth century.

Robert G.W. Kirk, University of Manchester. @robertgwkirk

Chair: Kathryn Schoefert, King’s College London.

Coordinator: Alex Bowmer, King’s College London. @Alex_Bowmer.

1:00pm – 2:00pm        Lunch

2:00pm – 3:30pm        Deployment

Maintaining and Threatening the War Effort: Homing Pigeons in Britain, 1939-1945.

Thomas Webb, University of Liverpool.

Conflict Situations, Contradicting Status: Case of Military Transport Animals of Colonial Punjab.

Heeral Chhabra, Doctoral Candidate, Dept. of History, University of Delhi.

Canines against Criminals: The Difficult Deployment of Police Dogs in early 20th Century New York.

Chris Pearson, University of Liverpool. @SniffThePastDog

Chair: Neil Pemberton, University of Manchester. @pemberton_neil.

Coordinator: Felicity McWilliams, King’s College London. @RedKite13

3:30pm                        Coffee Break

4:00pm – 5:30pm        Capture

Contesting the value of rhino horns.

Nicky Reeves, Curator of Scientific and Medical History Collections, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow. @ReevesNicky

‘Wild animals very often resent being gazed at’. Conflict and cooperation in Briton Riviere’s lion paintings, 1872-95.

Kate Nichols, Birmingham Fellow in the Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies, University of Birmingham. @plaster_figleaf

A Necrogeography of Conflict and Conservation: The Taxidermy Museum, Human-Animal Encounter and an ‘Ecology in Between’.

Karen Jones, University of Kent. @drkarenjones

Chair: Karen Sayer, Leeds Trinity University. @ProfKarenSayer

Coordinator: Elle Larsson, King’s College London. @Elle_Larsson

5:30-6:00pm    Break

6:00pm            Keynote

“A Whiff of Danger: Hybridity, Breed and Wildness”.

Harriet Ritvo, Arthur J. Conner Professor of History, MIT. @HRitvo

Introduced By: Abigail Woods, King’s College London.

Harriet Ritvo is the Arthur J. Conner Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she teaches classes in environmental history,  the history of natural history, and the history of human relations with other animals, especially in Britain and the British empire.  Her current work engages issues of wildness and domestication. Her books include The Animal Estate:  The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age (1987), The Platypus and the Mermaid, and Other Figments of the Classifying Imagination (1997), The Dawn of Green:  Manchester, Thirlmere, and Modern Environmentalism (2009), and Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras:  Essays on Animals and History (2010).

7:30pm            Reception

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