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Table of contents

No. 4 - Volume 2 (2014)
Animal Bodies
Edited by Maren Möhring

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Maren Möhring: Andere Tiere – Zur Historizität nicht/menschlicher Körper.
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This introduction gives a brief overview over the subject of this issue and the individual contributions. It argues that body history is a productive approach for analyzing Human-Animal relationships and helps us to move beyond the dualism of nature vs. culture, materiality vs. discourse and subject vs. object. The focus on the multiplicity, the mingling and becoming of bodies means to question the traditional human-animal distinctions and is the leitmotif of this issue.


Pascal Eitler: Animal History as Body History: Four Suggestions from a Genealogical Perspective.
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Pursuing Animal History as Body History, this paper focuses neither on animals nor on humans, but rather on bodies and the different societal demands made on them. It rejects the simple attribution of a history and an actor- or even subject-status to humans and animals per se. Instead, the paper suggests a historical problematization of the processes that produce humans or animals as having a history and as being actors or even subjects. Against this background, I try to demonstrate the usefulness of distinguishing between a praxeological approach in a broad sense on the one hand and a genealogical perspective in a narrow sense on the other. I thus understand Animal History less as an expanded form of Cultural History, but much more as a special form of Social History, placing at the center of interest neither the nature/culture dichotomy nor the concept of life, but rather the concept of the social.


Lena Kugler: Präparierte Zeit. Wallace, Martin, Raabe und die moderne Magie ‚ausgestopfter‘ Tiere.
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Preserved animal bodies have been produced, traded, collected, and taxonomically defined in ever-growing numbers since the eighteenth century. They belong to those quasi-objects that, according to Bruno Latour, are spawned by so-called modernity with its extensive attempts to classify and purify. They are hybrids whose fac-titious factuality both constitutes and subverts the distinction between biofact and artefact, nature and culture. By showing what isn’t there anymore – the animal, whose death is the condition of every preserved specimen – their history tells about the efficacy of non-/dead things in the moment of their afterlife – and therefore especially about the temporal spectrality of so-called modernity. Starting with Alfred Russel Wallace, the article investigates the history of knowledge and trade exhibited in the physical preservation of animal bodies. Moving on to Philipp Leopold Martin, one of the pioneers of modern taxidermy, it examines the history of their manufacture and display. Finally, the article surveys the poetic knowledge of stuffed and mounted animals as it is (re-)presented in Wilhelm Raabe’s novel Der Lar (1898).

Lukasz Nieradzik: Körperregime Schlachthof. Tierschlachtung und Tierbäder im Wien des 19. Jahrhunderts.
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This paper explores the nexus of slaughtering animals and healing humans in Viennese slaughterhouses in the second half of the nineteenth century. The concentration of animal slaughtering at the urban periphery and the invention of so-called “animal baths” by physician Sigismund Eckstein in 1859, who tried to establish a new method of treatment using the blood and offal of freshly slaughtered cattle, strengthened a specific historical body regime. This accelerated the conception of animals as organic resources for medical needs and meat supply, and intensified the asymmetry of human-animal relationships. The paper explores the nexus of butchering practices, the ongoing scientification of medical perspectives, and the invention of animal baths. It focuses on knowledge about animal bodies from the perspective of craftsmen and physicians. The slaughterhouse is conceptualized as an epistemological catalyst for the economically and medically structured objectification of animals. These developments were part of a process of rationalization of butchering and urban meat supply. In this context, not only the ways of dealing with but also the attitudes towards livestock significantly changed. People lost their faith in the metaphysical potency of “animal factors” and their health-promoting effects. The appropriation of a new medical knowledge about animal physiology not only transformed livestock into raw materials, it also gave rise to new fears concerning health and disease, and unsettled human beliefs about physical well-being.

Dominik Merdes: Co-constitutive Relationships in Modern Medicine: Körper-Werden um die Geburtsstunde der modernen Chemotherapie.
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Early modern chemotherapy made an enduring impact on the human body and on current practices of medical research. Contrary to the widespread myth that locates the origins of modern chemotherapy in the mind of man, this paper analyses its emergence from material assemblages comprising trypanosomes, dyestuffs, physicians, and nonhuman animals at the turn of the century. Anti-infective drugs were not the only bodies that arose from these complex meshworks – assemblages as bodies and bodies of assemblages shaped each other in “co-constitutive relationships” (Donna Haraway). Drawing on neo-materialist theory, this article cartographizes these productive assemblages on the basis of scientific papers by David Bruce and Paul Ehrlich/Kiyoshi Shiga. Finally, these texts are juxtaposed with an 1858 article by the missionary and physician David Livingstone to reflect on the contingency of the animal-human-relationship in medical science.

Shirin Moghaddari: Zwischen Kreaturen. Die Transformation der Ordnungen von Mensch und Tier in der Xenotransplantation.
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In the 1990s, the idea of xenotransplantation (i.e., the transplantation of bodily tissue across species boundaries) was largely considered an unprecedented threat to both the individual body and human identity itself. Given that this technique was used since the late nineteenth century to cure a wide variety of ailments, interpreting xenotransplantation as an unparalleled violation of the species order turns out to be inconsistent, however. I therefore argue that the sense of violation outlined above is not the result of a radically new technique, but stems from the transformation of the concept of bodily as well as species integrity. Against the backdrop of the evolution of cybernetics, I compare the practices and paradigms of xenotransplantation in the interwar period to those of the millennial period. I demonstrate that in the field of xenotransplantation, the concept of both body and species shifted from stable structures such as hierarchy, division of labour, and localisation to precarious ones such as potentiality, dispersion, networks, and ambiguity. Mankind, having instrumentalized the animal kingdom throughout modernity, increasingly views itself since the end of the twentieth century as a part of a complex arrangement in which nature and culture, body and mind, man and animal are intricately fused.

Simone Derix: Das Rennpferd. Historische Perspektiven auf Zucht und Führung seit dem 18. Jahrhundert.
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This article examines the continuing close relationship between racehorse and man since the eighteenth century and thus sets a counterpoint to the theory of the horse age coming to an end. There are two bodily practices that are characteristic of this special human-animal relationship: breeding and leadership. Both practices illustrate the fundamental significance of the racehorse for human beings and the interaction between them. Racehorses were a field of experimentation and a resource for deriving concepts of purity and refinement, communication and leadership. They remained a prestige object and were a means of acquiring certain qualities that set “horse people” apart from others.

Open Section

Birgit Stammberger: Haare als Symptom. Diskurse über Weiblichkeit, Schönheit und Identität.
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It seems to be a fact of nature that the human body is covered with hair. Not only do the hair of the body and the hair of the head differ with regard to texture and structure, they are also an ideal, benchmark, or threat in terms of gender. The female in particular, has to live up to the ideal of a smooth and hairless body, with numerous procedures and techniques, products and advertising campaigns designed to help her do so. Women are willing to shave, wax, epilate, and undergo laser treatment. Female hairiness is the focus of attention not only in popular scientific discourses, in the media, and in the cosmetic and beauty industries, but also in everyday forms of bodily activities. Medicine considers excessive hairiness a phenomenon worthy of diagnosis and treatment. The implications of female hairiness – in medical, cultural and historical contexts – are connected with historical practices and cultural conceptions of self-attributions and the attributions of the others. Ideas about female hairiness can be found in stories, cultural practices, and manifestations of knowledge and power. They range from freak shows of the nineteenth century and psychiatry textbooks of the early twentieth century, to the beauty and cosmetic industries and subversive body practices. Much more than just a natural fact, female hairiness refers to a complex system of body technologies and knowledge-based practices that interpret it as peculiar and pathologic or uncanny and subversive. The following uses a cultural-historical approach to analyze the different meanings attributed to female hairiness.

Alice Autumn Weinreb: Embodying German Suffering: Rethinking Popular Hunger during the Hunger Years (1945-1949).
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Almost as soon as the Second World War was over, Germans began describing the Allied occupation as the ›Hunger Years‹. It was a time that was and still is imagined as dominated by the incessant demands of the body. This contribution uses postwar hunger as a way of approaching the history of the body in modern Germany, arguing that postwar hunger offered a bodily form of continuity with the Third Reich, while simultaneously framing German bodies in particularly postwar and anti-Nazi ways. Germans cast their own hunger as a redemptive expression of collective identity, while at the same time claiming that it connected them with the victims of Nazi barbarism.