Traces of the Animal Past: Methodological Challenges in Animal History

Aelbert Cuyp, "Young Herdsmen with Cows," ca. 1655–60

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

George Spragge Classroom
Archives of Ontario
134 Ian MacDonald Blvd
Toronto, ON

Coffee and Snacks (8:30am-9am)

Session 1: Rethinking Animal History (9am-10:30am)

Chair: Jennifer Bonnell, York University

  1. Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    “Looking Backward (and Forward)”
  2. Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
    “Kicking over the Traces? Freeing the Animal from the Archive”
  3. Margaret Derry, Adjunct Professor, History Department, University of Guelph, and Associated Faculty, Campbell Centre for Animal Welfare, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph
    “The Regulation and Breeding of Animals in History: The Search for Information”
  4. Susan Nance, University of Guelph
    “Who is a Greyhound? Reflections on an Essay Never Published”

Refreshment break (10:30am-11am)

Session 2: The Stories We Tell About Animals (11am-12:30pm)

Chair: Marcel Martel, York University

  1. Jay Young, Archives of Ontario
    “Creatures on Display: Making an Animal Exhibit at the Archives of Ontario”
  2. Dolly Jørgensen, University of Stavanger, Norway
    “Portraits of Extinction: Encountering Extinction Narratives in the Natural History Museum
  3. J. Keri Cronin, Brock University
    “Hidden in Plain Sight: How Can Art and Visual Culture Help Us Think About Animal Histories?”

Lunch (12:30pm-1:30pm)

Session 3: City Species (1:30pm-3pm)

Chair: Jay Young, Archives of Ontario

  1. Andrew Robichaud, Boston University
    “Reconstructing the Animal City: Challenges and Breakthroughs”
  2. Sean Kheraj, York University
    “Spatial Analysis and Urban Animal History”
  3. Lisa Cox, CAV Barker Museum of Canadian Veterinary History
    “Finding Montreal’s Urban Animals through the Lens of Veterinary Medicine”

Refreshment break (3pm-3:30pm)

Session 4: Science and the Animal (3:30pm-5pm)

Chair: Edward Imhotep-Jones, York University

  1. Joanna Dean, Carleton University
    “Guinea Pig Mea Culpa”
  2. Tina Loo and Colleen Campbell, University of British Columbia
    “The ‘Secret World of the Bears’: The Possibilities and Limits of Tracking Data for Animal History”
  3. Jody Hodgins, York University
    “Veterinary Medicine: A Lens into Animal History”


Schulic Executive Dining Room (5:30pm-7pm)

Avie Bennett Historica Canada Public Lecture in Canadian History (7pm-8:30pm)


George Colpitts, University of Calgary

“Retail Animalia: Consumers, the Animal Anti-Cruelty Movement, and the Canadian Fur Trade, 1920-1940”

Friday, November 8, 2019

George Spragge Classroom
Archives of Ontario
134 Ian MacDonald Blvd
Toronto, ON

Coffee and Snacks (8:30am-9am)

Session 5: Knowing Animals, Knowing Humans (9am-10:30am)

Chair: Sean Kheraj, York University

  1. Jennifer Bonnell, York University
    “Sweet Predicaments: Writing a Honey Bee History”
  2. Emily Wakild, Boise State University
    “What’s a Guanaco? Pursuing the Wild and Domesticated Camelids of Andean South America”
  3. Catherine McNeur, Portland State University
    “Mischievous Flies: The Panic of 1837, the Female Entomologist, and the Vanishing Cecidomyia Culmicola”
  4. Lindsay Marshall, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    “Hearing History Through Hoofbeats: Exploring Equine Volition and Voice in Historical Narrative”

Session 6: Animal Biographies (10:30am-12pm)

Chair: Carolyn Podruchny, York University

  1. Zach Syme, York University
    “John McCrae’s Animal Comrades”
  2. Jason Colby, University of Victoria
    “Tuffy’s Cold War: Science, Dolphins, and the US Navy”
  3. Nigel Rothfels, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
    “The Elephant in the Archive”