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Humans, Nonhumans, and Other Humans: The Animal Turn in South Asian History

Monday, October 17, 2022 at 3:30pm to 5:00pm

401 Physical

The imagination of the nonhuman in South Asian history was often through processes of dehumanization. References to Indian dogs in terms of caste and untouchability, the use of various animals as beasts of burden, the comparisons of aboriginal tribes with primates, and the enactment of animal cruelty acts, were all achieved through the multifarious processes of the dehumanization of castes, tribes, and the rural and urban poor.  In the nineteenth century, this nonhuman adaptation of the human featured in the colonial deployment of anthropology, zoology, social stratification, empathy, and labor. While the nonhuman category has emerged as a critique of anthropocentrism in historical research, particularly within imperial history, this presentation problematizes this assumption by suggesting that historically, thinking with animals was a tool of deploying human labor and social hierarchies and their concomitant dehumanization.

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Science and Technology Studies, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, South Asia Program




Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

STS Events and Communications Coordinator

Contact Phone



Pratik Chakrabarti

Speaker Affiliation

NEH-Cullen Chair, Department of History & Medicine, University of Houston

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