Animals in the Archive, 1400–1850

by | May 31, 2024 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

Friday, 14 June 2024

University of Manchester

Samuel Alexander Building, W2.19

Organising Committee: Dr Leah Astbury, Dr Clara Dawson, & Dr Catherine Evans



Where can we find animals in the archive? Can we use the past to model alternative relationships with animals and the natural world? How can scholars recapture the lives of historical animals through textual documents? How should or could museums represent animals and their bodies?

This interdisciplinary workshop will bring emerging and established scholars across disciplines together to think collectively and creatively about these questions. We will examine agency, cultural priorities and archival practices with regards to non-human subjects, considering how the past shapes our current environmental concerns. Papers will address topics including farmyard health care, animals in astrology, and archival fragments. Attendance is free but limited and includes lunch and refreshments.

Please find the sign up details here:

This event is funded by the CIDRAL.




Arrival from 9:30


9:45     Introductions


10 – 11:30       Panel 1: Animal Knowledge

Dr Stephanie Howard-Smith – Sick as a Dog: Animal Health and Animal Healers in the Archives

Dr Leah Astbury (University of Manchester) – Animals in Early Modern English Recipe Book Archives

Professor Sarah Kay (New York University) – The Animal Archive in the Sky


11.15-11.30     Coffee Break


11.30 – 12:30   Panel 2: “Exotic” Animals   

Dr Sarah Cockram (University of Glasgow) – Animals from Afar: Investigating the Experience of Non-European Animals at the Italian Renaissance Court

Dr Catherine Evans (University of Manchester) – “Eat them alive”: Oysters and early modern English civility


12.30-1.30       Lunch (provided)


1:30 – 2:50      Panel 3: Remains and Fragments 

 Professor Erica Fudge (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow) – Fed on Scraps

Dr Verity Burke (UCD) – Fossilitating Interpretation: Archives and the Display of Fossil Life

Dr Megan Kuster (University of Manchester) – Avian Extinction Narratives: Colonial Archives and the Recovery of Local Labour


3 – 3.45           Visit to Manchester Museum: Wild


4 – 5                 Roundtable Discussion and Creative Responses