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Imperial Creatures

Humans and Other Animals in Colonial Singapore, 1819-1942

Timothy P. Barnard (author)

ISBN: 9789813250871

Publication Date: Jan 2020

Format: Paperback

The environmental turn in the humanities and social sciences has meant a new focus on the history of animals. This is one of the first books to look across species at animals in a colonial, urban society. If imperialism is a series of power relationships, it involves not only the subjugation of human communities but also animals.
£29.50

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The environmental turn in the humanities and social sciences has meant a new focus on the history of animals. This is one of the first books to look across species at animals in a colonial, urban society. If imperialism is a series of power relationships, it involves not only the subjugation of human communities but also animals. What was the relationship between these two processes in colonial Singapore? How did various interactions with animals enable changes in interactions between people, and the expression of power in human terms.

The imposition of imperial power relationships was a process that was often complex and messy, and it led to the creation of new communities throughout the world, including the colonial port city of Singapore. Through a multi-disciplinary consideration of fauna, this book weaves together a series of tales to document how animals were cherished, slaughtered, monitored, and employed in a colonial society, to provide insight into how imperial rule was imposed on an island in Southeast Asia. Fauna and their histories of interacting with humans, thus, become useful tools for understanding our past, revealing the effects of establishing a colony on the biodiversity of a region, and the institutions that quickly transformed it. All animals, including humans, have been creatures of imperialism in Singapore. Their stories teach us lessons about the structures that upheld such a society and how it developed over time.

Reviews

"[D]eeply researched, well annotated... the information Prof. Barnard presents in this book is widely applicable to subjects as varied as the history of natural history, psychology, sociology, political science, cross-cultural communications, and urban planning. It is therefore strongly recommended it to all those with an interest in any of these subjects, as well as to those who are merely curious to discover a slice of the history of a time and place with which few today can be said to familiar, but from whence so significant a modern global city-state has emerged". – The Well-Read Naturalist
Illustrations 23 halftones, 2 maps, 2 tables
Pages 336
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Jan 2020
Publisher NUS Press
Subject/s Asian history   The natural world, country life & pets   Animals & society   Conservation of the environment   Colonialism & imperialism  
Timothy P. Barnard is an associate professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore, where he specializes in the environmental and cultural history of island Southeast Asia.

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