Discussion Group

Reading Animal Materials

09:00 - 11:00 Uhr
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany

To participate, please contact Lisa Onaga (lonaga@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de).

"Reading Animal Materials" will examine the historical discourse around the study of animal materials across different fields of scientific inquiry including archaeology, genetics, textile sciences, material culture and conservation. The first session of the group will be convened on 20 October 2021.  Biweekly discussions will be centred around a set of pre-circulated primary sources and/or secondary texts. The general questions we aim to explore include:

  • How do animal materials become historical objects?
  • How do animal materials afford epistemic access to the past, and how do different actors use them as resources for historical reconstructions? 
  • To what extent do scientific instruments or techniques inform how animal materials can be studied?

All participants are encouraged to contribute their expert perspectives toward an enriching and lively exploration of the subject at hand.   

In this first meeting we will discuss the following: 

  • Emily M. Kern, "Archaeology enters the ‘atomic age’: a short history of radiocarbon, 1946–1960." BJHS 53(2): 207–227, June 2020.
  • Liv Emma Thorsen, "Animal Matter in Museums: Exemplifying Materiality," in Hilda Kean & Philip Howell, eds. The Routledge Companion to Animal-Human History, London: Routledge, 2018, pp. 171-193.
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