Frank Rottray Lillie's model of the freemartin, by K. Toda (1916). MBLWHOI Library Rare Book Collection.

Umbrella Research Theme (2015-)

The Body of Animals

Animals have been central to humans in their attempts to understand their world and in revealing the secrets of nature. The theme "The Body of Animals" explores the multiplicity of ways and contexts in which historical actors used and studied animals and the essence of animality. It investigates how animals were rendered to signify human socialities, just as much as the natural world, and how humans of the past interacted with animals within their cosmologies. Participants in the various projects within the working group search for the meaning in pragmatic, everyday practices of using, reproducing, and caring for animals and their bodily parts, but also in fearing, avoiding, and moving around them. They ask whether knowing animals must equate the practices of “doing science,” and challenge the prominent frameworks of natural history and the laboratory as an endpoint. In order to the sketch the contours of the human and that of nature, furthermore, the group projects aim to understand what has historically been made to count as an animal, and explore the methodological possibilities for studying animals in history.

 

News & Press

Tagesspiegel features Artist-in-Residence Vivien Xu's "Silkworm Project" with Art Laboratory Berlin

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Department III "Body of Animals" project featured in Clarín magazine article by alumna Irina Podgorny

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Upcoming Events

Proteins & Fibers Inquiry IV

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Working Groups

Projects

Past Events

From Co-Ordinated Campaigns to Water-Tight Compartments: Diseased Sheep and Their Investigation in Britain, c. 1880–1920.

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Vetting Animals

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Measuring Reliability in the Wartime Transport of Provisions: The Case of Mao Yuanyi (1594-1641)

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A Material Innovation: Bingata and the Craft of Color

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Thematic Cluster: The Body of Animals

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Sins Against Nature: Sex and Archives in Colonial New Spain, 1530-1821

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A Silkworm For All Seasons

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Pneumonic Plague, Environmental Changes, and the International Fur Trade

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Enchanted Bodies: Chen Zhifo’s Botanical Textile and Graphic Designs in Shanghai

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Proteins & Fibers Inquiry I: Animal Histories on the Proteomic Horizon

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Encounters in Borderlands: Intersections of Life and Technology at Frankfurt Airport

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Proteins & Fibers Inquiry II: Animal Histories on the Zooarchaeological Horizon

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Vegetable * Animal * Transformation

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Documenting Impermanence: Five Centuries of Mapping Transient Fishing Stations in Newfoundland, Canada

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The Silkworm Project

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The Silkworm Project

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Proteins & Fibers Inquiry III—Betwixt and Between: Reconstructing Animal Histories with Teeth

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The Silkworm Project

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The Artist-Silkworm Interface: The Agricultural Treatise as Source and Scrutiny for Creating an Artist Book

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