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Dawn Biehler: “Embodying Empire Through Captivity”

February 16 at 4:00 pm5:30 pm

Dawn Biehler

The Humanities Forum presents Dawn Biehler, Associate Professor, Geography and Environmental Systems; and Affiliate Faculty, Department of Gender, Women’s, + Sexuality Studies, UMBC, who will speak on “Embodying Empire Through Captivity: Geographies of Caged Animals, Human Domination, and Struggle in New York’s Central Park.”

Three decades of scholarship in historical and geographical animal studies often simply place the non-human alongside people of marginalized identities. This framing, however, neglects ways in which human-animal relationships are deeply entangled with human politics and identities. In this talk Dawn Biehler uses the historical geography of animal exhibits in Manhattan, especially Central Park, to show how captive animals torn from their habitats, and Indigenous cultural and livelihood systems, came to embody empire and domination within urban space. She also examines how people of marginalized identities struggled for access to animal exhibits.

Dawn Biehler is Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies and Affiliate Faculty in Gender, Women’s, + Sexuality Studies at UMBC. She is author of Pests in the City: Flies, Bed Bugs, Cockroaches, and Rats (University of Washington Press, 2013). She is currently completing two major projects: a six-year collaborative study of environmental justice and mosquito ecology in West Baltimore and book about the historical geography of human justice, urban environmentalism, and multi-species belonging in New York’s Central Park.

Join this event on Webex.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and the Department of Geography & Environmental Systems.

Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.



February 16
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
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