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CEFISES Seminar: Raf de Bont: “Moving Animals: Global Trajectories, Local Dynamics”
May 15@14:00-16:00 CEST
Speaker: Raf de Bont (Maastricht University)
Title: “Moving Animals: Global Trajectories, Local Dynamics”
The NWO-sponsored project ‘Moving Animals’ explores how, in the twentieth century, humans have tried to study, represent and manage animals that move (or are being moved) over large distances (see: moving-animals.nl). More in particular, the project – carried out by a team of four researchers – looks into human-animal interactions as they take shape in four types of animal movement: invasions of alien species, reintroductions of locally extinct animals, seasonal migrations and zoo trade. Through case studies, the project members engage in the larger question of how the place and space of wild animals is changing in today’s globalizing world.
In my presentation, I will first discuss the general outlines and ambitions of the project. In a second part, I will illustrate these further by elaborating one case study from the field of zoo trade. More in particular, I will discuss the work of the Swiss couple Charles and Emy Cordier, who – from the 1930s through the 1940s – specialized in catching and transporting endangered wild animals for zoos. The business of the Cordiers, I believe, offers a good lens to understand the changing dynamics of zoo trade – and the knowledge production, public relations logic and conservation ambitions tied to it. On a more general plane, I hope the Cordiers and their trade can also provide insight into the rapidly evolving position of wild animals in the Anthropocene.