A History of Science, Media and Policy in the Twentieth Century
In the twentieth century, processes of globalization and increasing pressure on uncultivated areas have transformed humans’ relations with undomesticated non-human animals. Because human and animal territorialities intersected in novel ways, life scientists and policymakers were increasingly spurred to study and manage animal mobility across the globe. Simultaneously, media representations of animals circulated at an unparalleled scale.
The ‘Moving Animals’ project – sponsored by an NWO Vici grant – will study changing human-nature relations by focusing on human involvement with ‘wild’ animals that move (or are being moved) over great distances. More in particular, it will analyze how the long-distance movement of these animals has been studied, represented, managed and policed throughout twentieth century. Four main categories of animal mobility take center stage: (1) biological invasions, (2) reintroductions of locally extinct species, (3) seasonal migrations and (4) the trading of zoo animals. By probing how these various forms of animal movement have been made knowable, visible and controllable, the project will cast a light on the changing place and space of animals in today’s globalizing world.
In May 2021, Raf De Bont’s Nature’s Diplomats appeared with the University of Pittsburgh Press.
On September 24, 2021, Raf de Bont talked to Koen Fillet, host of the Radio 1 podcast series Het Geheugen van de Mug.
On September 19th, 2021, Willem Schoonen interviewed Raf de Bont for the newspaper Trouw.
On 7 September, Monica Vasile gave a presenation for the BASN (British Animal Studies Network) Autumn Meeting on ‘LOSS’, called “History of a Clone: Losing and Reviving the Przewalski’s Horse.”
Incest is more common than one would expect amongst zoo-bred animals, or at least it was. Especially with endangered species, inbreeding was a common practice up until the 1970s, despite awareness of its risks and consequences.
How does one become certain that a species is no more? How does one document extinction? Monica Vasile tackles these questions in a blogpost for Mosa Historia. In particular, she discusses how scientists tried to find out whether there were still surviving free-living...
The wild hamsters of the Dutch province of Limburg are currently cherished as a cute-yet-threatened indigenous species and a marker of local identity. This has not always been the case however. In a blogpost for Mosa Historia, Raf De Bont discusses how the Dutch...
On 15 December, Raf de Bont published a blog post for Mosa Historia on changing perceptions of European hamsters from harmful to cute, a shift which only occured in the 1960s and 1970s.
In September-October 2020, The British Animal Studies Network devoted its autumn meeting to 'Animal Borderlands'. Moving Animals' project leader Raf De Bont gave one of the plenary lectures. A full report of the BASN autumn meeting can be found...
In a short essay for the online journal Arcadia, Simone Schleper looks at how, in the 1950s and 1960s, the use of light airplanes supported particular forms of expertise in East African wildlife management.