Spectacular Nature

Author: Susan G. Davis
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520919532
Format: PDF, ePub
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This is the story of Sea World, a theme park where the wonders of nature are performed, marketed, and sold. With its trademark star, Shamu the killer whale—as well as performing dolphins, pettable sting rays, and reproductions of pristine natural worlds—the park represents a careful coordination of shows, dioramas, rides, and concessions built around the theme of ocean life. Susan Davis analyzes the Sea World experience and the forces that produce it: the theme park industry; Southern California tourism; the privatization of urban space; and the increasing integration of advertising, entertainment, and education. The result is an engaging exploration of the role played by images of nature and animals in contemporary commercial culture, and a precise account of how Sea World and its parent corporation, Anheuser-Busch, succeed. Davis argues that Sea World builds its vision of nature around customers' worries and concerns about the environment, family relations, and education. While Davis shows the many ways that Sea World monitors its audience and manipulates animals and landscapes to manufacture pleasure, she also explains the contradictions facing the enterprise in its campaign for a positive public identity. Shifting popular attitudes, animal rights activists, and environmental laws all pose practical and public relations challenges to the theme park. Davis confronts the park's vast operations with impressive insight and originality, revealing Sea World as both an industrial product and a phenomenon typical of contemporary American culture. Spectacular Nature opens an intriguing field of inquiry: the role of commercial entertainment in shaping public understandings of the environment and environmental problems.

Wild Things

Author: Sidney I. Dobrin
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
ISBN: 9780814330289
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The first book-length study of the relationship between children's literature and ecocriticism.

Animals and Agency

Author: Sarah McFarland
Publisher: BRILL
ISBN: 9047429249
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This collection examines the question of nonhuman animal agency by shifting emphasis from the human perspective toward that of other animals, exploring modes of animal resistance to human behaviors, and considering the ways the presence of animals refracts human notions like agency and species.

The Nature of the Beasts

Author: Ian Jared Miller
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520271866
Format: PDF, Docs
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It is widely known that such Western institutions as the museum, the university, and the penitentiary shaped Japan’s emergence as a modern nation-state. Less commonly recognized is the role played by the distinctly hybrid institution—at once museum, laboratory, and prison—of the zoological garden. In this eye-opening study of Japan’s first modern zoo, Tokyo’s Ueno Imperial Zoological Gardens, opened in 1882, Ian Jared Miller offers a refreshingly unconventional narrative of Japan’s rapid modernization and changing relationship with the natural world. As the first zoological garden in the world not built under the sway of a Western imperial regime, the Ueno Zoo served not only as a staple attraction in the nation’s capital—an institutional marker of national accomplishment—but also as a site for the propagation of a new “natural” order that was scientifically verifiable and evolutionarily foreordained. As the Japanese empire grew, Ueno became one of the primary sites of imperialist spectacle, a microcosm of the empire that could be traveled in the course of a single day. The meaning of the zoo would change over the course of Imperial Japan’s unraveling and subsequent Allied occupation. Today it remains one of Japan’s most frequently visited places. But instead of empire in its classic political sense, it now bespeaks the ambivalent dominion of the human species over the natural environment, harkening back to its imperial roots even as it asks us to question our exploitation of the planet’s resources.

Animals and the Human Imagination

Author: Aaron S. Gross
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231527764
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Human beings have long imagined their subjectivity, ethics, and ancestry with and through animals, yet not until the mid-twentieth century did contemporary thought reflect critically on animals’ significance in human self-conception. Thinkers such as French philosopher Jacques Derrida, South African novelist J. M. Coetzee, and American theorist Donna Haraway have initiated rigorous inquiries into the question of the animal, now blossoming in a number of directions. It is no longer strange to say that if animals did not exist, we would have to invent them. This interdisciplinary and cross-cultural collection reflects the growth of animal studies as an independent field and the rise of “animality” as a critical lens through which to analyze society and culture, on par with race and gender. Essays center on the role of animals in the human imagination and the imagination of the human, a discourse that has evolved in tandem with discussions of—and more robust concern for—animals in popular culture. They consider the worldviews of several indigenous peoples, animal-human mythology in early modern China, and political uses of the animal in postcolonial India. They engage with the theoretical underpinnings of the animal protection movement, representations of animals in children’s literature, the depiction of animals in contemporary art, and the philosophical positioning of the animal from Aristotle to Heidegger. The strength of this companion lies in its timeliness and contextual diversity, which makes it essential reading for students and researchers while further developing the parameters of the discipline.

Animals and Society

Author: Margo DeMello
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231526768
Format: PDF, ePub
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Human–animal studies explores human–animal relations and the place of animals within human social and cultural worlds. Considering that much of human society is structured through its interaction with non-human animals, and since human society relies heavily on the exploitation of animals to serve human needs, human–animal studies has become a rapidly expanding field of research, featuring a number of distinct positions, perspectives, and theories that require nuanced explanation and contextualization. The first textbook to provide a full overview of human–animal studies for students, general readers, and scholars, this volume focuses on the conceptual construction of animals in American culture and the way in which it reinforces and perpetuates hierarchical human relationships rooted in racism, sexism, and class privilege. Margo DeMello considers interactions between humans and animals within the family, the law, the religious and political system, and other major social institutions, and she unpacks the different identities humans fashion for themselves and for others through animals. DeMello also covers speciesism and evolutionary continuities; the role and preservation of animals in the wild; the debate over zoos and the use of animals in sports; domestication; agricultural practices such as factory farming; vivisection; animal cruelty; animal activism; the representation of animals in literature and film; and animal ethics. Sidebars in each chapter highlight contemporary controversies and issues, with recommendations for additional reading, educational films, and related websites. DeMello concludes with an analysis of major philosophical positions on human social policy and the future of human–animal relations.

Entertaining Elephants

Author: Susan Nance
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 1421408295
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Consider the career of an enduring if controversial icon of American entertainment: the genial circus elephant. In Entertaining Elephants Susan Nance examines elephant behavior—drawing on the scientific literature of animal cognition, learning, and communications—to offer a study of elephants as actors (rather than objects) in American circus entertainment between 1800 and 1940. By developing a deeper understanding of animal behavior, Nance asserts, we can more fully explain the common history of all species. Entertaining Elephants is the first account that uses research on animal welfare, health, and cognition to interpret the historical record, examining how both circus people and elephants struggled behind the scenes to meet the profit necessities of the entertainment business. The book does not claim that elephants understood, endorsed, or resisted the world of show business as a human cultural or business practice, but it does speak of elephants rejecting the conditions of their experience. They lived in a kind of parallel reality in the circus, one that was defined by their interactions with people, other elephants, horses, bull hooks, hay, and the weather. Nance’s study informs and complicates contemporary debates over human interactions with animals in entertainment and beyond, questioning the idea of human control over animals and people's claims to speak for them. As sentient beings, these elephants exercised agency, but they had no way of understanding the human cultures that created their captivity, and they obviously had no claim on (human) social and political power. They often lived lives of apparent desperation.

Urban Green

Author: Colin Fisher
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469619962
Format: PDF
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In early twentieth-century America, affluent city-dwellers made a habit of venturing out of doors and vacationing in resorts and national parks. Yet the rich and the privileged were not the only ones who sought respite in nature. In this pathbreaking book, historian Colin Fisher demonstrates that working-class white immigrants and African Americans in rapidly industrializing Chicago also fled the urban environment during their scarce leisure time. If they had the means, they traveled to wilderness parks just past the city limits as well as to rural resorts in Wisconsin and Michigan. But lacking time and money, they most often sought out nature within the city itself--at urban parks and commercial groves, along the Lake Michigan shore, even in vacant lots. Chicagoans enjoyed a variety of outdoor recreational activities in these green spaces, and they used them to forge ethnic and working-class community. While narrating a crucial era in the history of Chicago's urban development, Fisher makes important interventions in debates about working-class leisure, the history of urban parks, environmental justice, the African American experience, immigration history, and the cultural history of nature.

The Oxford Handbook of Environmental History

Author: Andrew C. Isenberg
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199394474
Format: PDF, ePub
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The field of environmental history emerged just decades ago but has established itself as one of the most innovative and important new approaches to history, one that bridges the human and natural world, the humanities and the sciences. With the current trend towards internationalizing history, environmental history is perhaps the quintessential approach to studying subjects outside the nation-state model, with pollution, global warming, and other issues affecting the earth not stopping at national borders. With 25 essays, this Handbook is global in scope and innovative in organization, looking at the field thematically through such categories as climate, disease, oceans, the body, energy, consumerism, and international relations.