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Symposium: Animals in the Archive


“Animals in the Archives” is a two-day symposium at the University of Pennsylvania that brings leading figures in animal history together with Philadelphia-based archivists to theorize the historical traces that animals leave behind. The symposium focuses on how animals come to be represented textually, visually, and materially in historical archives—both dead (as in leather bindings, parchment made from animal skins, iron-gall inks, hide and bone glues, and taxidermy specimens) and very much alive (as in bookworms, silverfish, mice, and other archival “pests” that eat the bindings, adhesives, and other substances in library and archival collections). By thinking through the stakes of nonhuman animal representation in archives, the symposium addresses both the history of human-animal relationships across time and the theory and practice of history and archival classification. It aims to provide a broader view of the human past and to reconsider the anthropocentric biases of conventional historical practice, while also exploring methodological questions about the possibility of history beyond the human.

Co-organized by Etienne Benson (Penn, History and Sociology of Science), Zeb Tortorici (NYU, Spanish and Portuguese), and Carolyn Fornoff (Penn, Spanish and Portuguese).

 

Screening of "Matto Grosso, the Great Brazilian Wilderness" (1931) 

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2016
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
RAINEY AUDITORIUM, PENN MUSEUM
3620 SOUTH STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19104

Panel Discussions

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2016
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
LGBT CENTER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
3907 SPRUCE STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19104

A series of talks on Friday, October 28, from 10:00 to 5:00 PM will further explore the theme of “Animals in the Archives.” In the morning and the afternoon there will be presentations by five speakers: Bruce Holsinger (University of Virginia), Iris Montero (Brown University), Rebecca Woods (University of Toronto), Nigel Rothfels (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) and Neel Ahuja (University of California, Santa Cruz). At 1:00 PM we will hold a roundtable on “The Materiality of Animal Archives” featuring scholars and Philadelphia-based archivists. The symposium will be followed by a public reception at 5:00 PM.

Sponsors: University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences, the Penn Humanities Forum, and the Penn Museum, with co-sponsorship from the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, South Asia Studies, the Department of History, and the Department of the History and Sociology of Science. We are also grateful to the Mütter Museum, and the Kislak Center for their participation and support.