The interdisciplinary and international Ringvorlesung (RVL) "Animals as Objects? Histories, Institutions, Infrastructures, Data, and Knowledge" draws from two current research clusters and their extended network: the research project “Animals as Objects: Zoological Gardens and the Natural History Museum Berlin, 1810 to 2020” at Museum für Naturkunde, Zoologische Gärten, and Humboldt Universität, Berlin; and the research theme “The Body of Animals” in Department III at the MPIWG.
It examines the role of animals in institutional and infrastructural arrangements, past and present, and investigates the processes by which animals are turned into objects—living zoo attractions, museum exhibits, diplomatic tokens, commodities, laboratory tools, data sets, and more. The aim is to understand the trajectories, traffics and transformations of animal-objects within and between different sites in their global, political, scientific, and cultural context. In what ways have animals been used, studied, and classified as objects? What has historically been made to count as an animal and what role do they play in signifying human socialities, just as much as the natural world? The RVL invites to engage in the work of historicizing "naturalized" views, of closely investigating the politics of care and the economics of conservation, of challenging a static notion of animals as "objects," and thereby critically interrogating traditional, still effective roles, meanings, orders of knowledge, images, and narratives of animals.
Lectures will be held in English and German every Monday (16-18) throughout the semester. For further details, please go to the calendar. Please register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the Zoom link, and further technical information.