The Animal in 17th and 18th Century America: CFP
2007 Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture (OIEAHC) and Society of Early Americanists (SEA) Conference
June 7 to June 10th, 2007
College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia
Recent work in what is being called critical animal studies has traced the idea of the animal through both the continental and analytic traditions of western philosophy, finding it key to the production of modern and postmodern epistemology and ethics. This panel will explore the category of the animal in the 17th and 18th centuries, when it was coming into focus as
a reconsideration of Aristotelian zoology and as one among a host of colonial biopolitical projects. Contributions are hereby solicited on any subject relating to animals and animality in the Americas circa 1600 to 1800.
To what extent did writers of the time possess a concept of "the animal" distinct from the narrower "beasts" of early modern period and the broader "nature" of the systematic natural historians?
How did the experiences and specimens emerging from the colonies reinforce or trouble contemporary advances in zoology?
Do animals function differently from plants in the complex imperial economy of science?
Are there alternatives in the period to the machinic and organic models of animality from the preceding and succeeding eras?
Papers for this panel might examine wild and domesticated animals, animal communities (beyond beavers and bees), animal gender and reproduction, animal-derived commodities, animal displays (museums and zoos), and animal habitats as they appear in the historical, literary, and environmental record. This panel is co-sponsored by the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE).
Please submit a one-page proposal and a brief cv to Michael Ziser (firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to 15 September 2006.