PUBLIC LECTURE: 'Shooting an Elephant: Why I am Writing a History of Human-Animal Emotions in the Age of the African Safari'
|'Shooting an Elephant: Why I am Writing a History of Human-Animal Emotions in the Age of the African Safari' : Hosted by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions
In this paper, Professor Iain McCalman will outline why and how a small episode of elephant killing during Theodore Roosevelt’s eleven-month African Safari of 1909–1910 led to his current book-in-progress on hunting and human-animal emotions. This book will tell the story of an eminent circle of African hunters and museum naturalists linked to Roosevelt and his safari. This circle of men and women, which included McCalman's Australian great uncle, Leslie Tarlton, the co-leader of Roosevelt’s Safari, has left an enduring mark. They went on to found the modern African ‘sporting’ safari business and to fill the halls of the great American natural history museums with dead African big game animals. McCalman argues, however, that their success came at a great cost: to the psychic well-being of the hunters and their children, to East Africa’s wildlife and peoples, and to the lives of a few particular animals whom they came to know intimately, including a Vervet monkey, a baby gorilla and a small elephant cow.
Iain McCalman was born in Nyasaland in 1947, schooled in Zimbabwe and completed his higher education in Australia. He is a Fellow of three Learned Academies and is a former President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He was Director of The Australian National University’s Humanities Research Centre from 1995-2002 and won the inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Prize at ANU for Teaching Excellence. He is a former Federation Fellow and currently a Research Professor in history at The University of Sydney and co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute. His book, Darwin’s Armada (Penguin, 2009) won three prizes and was the basis of the TV series, Darwin’s Brave New World. Other publications include The Reef – A Passionate History, from Captain Cook to Climate Change (2014), The Last Alchemist: Count Cagliostro, Master of Magic in the Age of Reason (2003), Radical Underworld: Prophets, Revolutionaries, and Pornographers in London, 1795–1840 (2001) and An Oxford Companion to The Romantic Age: British Culture, 1776–1832 (1999). He was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2007 for services to history and the humanities, and is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Europe 1100–1800.
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