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Living, Biting Monitors, a Morose Howler and Other Infamous Animals: Animal Biographies in Ethology and Zoo Biology

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Animal Biography

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature ((PSAAL))

Abstract

Childhood encounters with animals often played a significant role in the autobiography of ethologists and zoo biologists who, by going on to produce disciplinary knowledge of animal behaviour and human-animal encounter, in turn made possible distinctive forms of animal biography. New ways of describing and narrating the lives of animals emerged within this genre, recognising not only their species history and cultural history but also their own coherent individual history that familiarity allows one to meaningfully describe. Drawing on the work of Lestel, Baratay, Hediger, Crandall and others, this chapter describes some of the forms animal biography has taken in ethology and zoo biology. The clashes of captive animals with biopower have left behind numerous enigmatic traces.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Dewsbury, Animal Behavior: Autobiographical Perspectives. This volume was followed by a second over two decades later: Drickamer and Dewsbury, Animal Behavior: Second Generation.

  2. 2.

    Dewsbury, Animal Behavior: Autobiographical Perspectives, 45.

  3. 3.

    Ibid., 69.

  4. 4.

    Ibid., 121.

  5. 5.

    Ibid., 183.

  6. 6.

    Ibid., 205–206.

  7. 7.

    Hediger, “Lifelong Attempt,” 145.

  8. 8.

    Ibid., 152.

  9. 9.

    Ibid., 148–149.

  10. 10.

    Ibid., 149.

  11. 11.

    Ibid.

  12. 12.

    I would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (Ernst Keller European Travelling Fellowship, 2013), the Zürich Zoo and the Australian Research Council (Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, DE160101531) in making this research possible.

  13. 13.

    On the developmental and pedagogical significance of encounters with animals, see, for example, Marchesini, “Zoomimesis.”

  14. 14.

    Lestel, Origines animales. See further Chrulew, “Philosophical Ethology.”

  15. 15.

    Lestel, Origines animales, 376–377.

  16. 16.

    Lestel, L’animal singulier, 70.

  17. 17.

    Despret, Théorie éthologique. (Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.)

  18. 18.

    Ibid., 173.

  19. 19.

    Lestel, L’animal singulier, 36.

  20. 20.

    Lestel, “The Biosemiotics,” 50.

  21. 21.

    Lestel, L’animal singulier, 69–74.

  22. 22.

    Ibid., 74. Translated by Hollis Taylor, in Lestel, “Question,” 119.

  23. 23.

    Lestel, Les amis, 154–157.

  24. 24.

    Buchanan et al., “General Introduction”; Lestel et al., “The Phenomenology.”

  25. 25.

    Chrulew, “Biopolitical Subjects.”

  26. 26.

    Baratay, Biographies animales. His preamble on the conditions of possibility for such an endeavour emphasises the developments in twentieth-century ethology and their interpretation in the philosophy of animality of Lestel , Despret, Haraway and others as enabling new ways of narrating animal lives.

  27. 27.

    Ibid., 17.

  28. 28.

    Ibid., 20.

  29. 29.

    Ibid., 21–22, see also Baratay, Le point de vue.

  30. 30.

    Ibid., 24.

  31. 31.

    Ibid., 26.

  32. 32.

    Ibid., 30.

  33. 33.

    Ibid., 29.

  34. 34.

    Ibid., 31.

  35. 35.

    Ibid., 175.

  36. 36.

    Ibid., 270.

  37. 37.

    Ibid., 270–271.

  38. 38.

    See, for example, Velvin, Portraits, in which animals such as “the cheetah,” “the lion” and “the bactrian camel” are evoked according to the distinctive characteristics of the species.

  39. 39.

    Within his natural history, the French Academician Claude Perrault includes a set of intriguing and somewhat out-of-place anecdotes about this elephant sourced from the animal’s keepers and repeated later in Loisel’s history of zoos. This distinctive animal biography, based on living encounter, supplements and in some ways destabilises the extensive anatomical descriptions of elephants , based on autopsy, among which it is nestled “word for word.” See Chrulew, “Biopolitical Thresholds,” 135–138.

  40. 40.

    Lestel, L’animalité, 109–110.

  41. 41.

    Foucault, “Infamous Men,” 79–80.

  42. 42.

    See, for example, the chapter on “Cage Breakers” in Hediger, Wild Animals, 61–70; Meyer-Holzapfel, “Abnormal Behavior,” 476–503.

  43. 43.

    Crandall , Wild Mammals, vii.

  44. 44.

    On the ways such harms, and particularly deaths, due to captivity were operationalised in zoo biological knowledge, see Chrulew, “Death at the Zoo.”

  45. 45.

    Crandall , Wild Mammals, 24.

  46. 46.

    Ibid., 144.

  47. 47.

    Ibid., 216.

  48. 48.

    Ibid., 510.

  49. 49.

    Ibid., 376.

  50. 50.

    Ibid., 545.

  51. 51.

    Ibid., 573.

  52. 52.

    Ibid., 499.

  53. 53.

    Ibid., 324.

  54. 54.

    Ibid., 492.

  55. 55.

    Ibid., 509.

  56. 56.

    Ibid., 355.

  57. 57.

    Ibid., 316.

  58. 58.

    Ibid., 57–58.

  59. 59.

    Ibid., 608.

  60. 60.

    Ibid., 186.

  61. 61.

    Ibid., 673.

  62. 62.

    Ibid., 91–92.

  63. 63.

    Ibid., 92, see also Crandall and Bridges, Zoo Man’s, 28–30.

  64. 64.

    Ibid., 92–93.

  65. 65.

    Ibid., 93.

  66. 66.

    The wife of the Lion House keeper, Mrs Martini, acted as surrogate mother for a range of animals, particularly big cats, in Crandall’s accounts.

  67. 67.

    Crandall, Wild Mammals, 93.

  68. 68.

    Ibid., 94.

  69. 69.

    Ibid.

  70. 70.

    Foucault, “Infamous Men,” 76.

  71. 71.

    Crandall and Bridges, Zoo Man’s.

  72. 72.

    Ibid., v.

  73. 73.

    Ibid., vi.

  74. 74.

    Foucault, “Infamous Men,” 79.

  75. 75.

    Crandall and Bridges, Zoo Man’s, 1.

  76. 76.

    Ibid., 2.

  77. 77.

    Ibid., 4.

  78. 78.

    Ibid., 215.

  79. 79.

    Ibid., 215–216.

  80. 80.

    Ibid., 216.

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Chrulew, M. (2018). Living, Biting Monitors, a Morose Howler and Other Infamous Animals: Animal Biographies in Ethology and Zoo Biology. In: Krebber, A., Roscher, M. (eds) Animal Biography. Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-98288-5_2

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