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The Animal Point of View

From: Eric baratay []
Sent: lundi 23 avril 2012
Subject: Fwd: for information : just published

Presentation in English below *)
Good Day

Eric Baratay
Professor of Contemporary History
Animals' History
Jean Moulin University, Lyon, France

*) Translated by Still Traduction, Lyon

The animal point of view
another version of the history
Eric Baratay

French Book, march 2012

Publisher's introduction

Dog is man's best friend, but is man dog's best friend? Nothing could be less certain, if we go by the way they are sometimes treated and, on another note, the mediocre position animals usually occupy in history and philosophy. Using the examples of fighting bulls, mine horses and even dairy cows, Eric Baratay aims to give animals a voice, or by default, at least a story. The real challenge is turning them into subjects, or even protagonists in the story. Reinventing the traditional study of their depiction, he offers a story of animal culture that is no longer anthropocentric. It focuses on constructing the animal subject, taking its 'experiences' seriously, particularly the suffering and violence it has been subjected to, as well as the collusion and complicity sometimes linking it to man. This is done so as to render a better account of the global story of the animal subject related by the author during the incessant adaptation of species and individuals to natural and human conditions. Basing himself on ethology, biology, zoology and psychology, he manages to show that the study of this autonomous subject falls at the crossroads of natural and human sciences, an inevitable journey for the historian if he wishes to 'catch a glimpse of other worlds'.

Introduction to the work

History, at least that created by human society, is always described as an adventure only affecting man. However, animals have in past, and continue, to play a significant role in both great events and slow phenomena of civilisation, whether it be a case of war horses and dogs, horses serving as a means of transportation, cattle involved in production, pets, animals involved in leisure activities from racing horses to fighting bulls, etc. Their way of living, feeling and reacting to history is sometimes only touched on lightly, never studied in itself. Even the recent history of animals, that historians have been compiling for over twenty years, focuses on the depictions, statements and gestures of man towards animals, their social repercussions, but hardly ever on the personal experiences of the animals themselves: this leads to compiling a human story of animals, rather than an animal story -- as if no other story could be as interesting as that of man, in order words, himself. It's as if we have difficulty taking an interest in the personal experiences of the other living creatures we rely on, but that we treat as objects or superfluous to history, without really caring about them.

Yet the animal side of history is also epic, filled with contrasts, turbulent, often violent, sometimes calm, sometimes comical. It is made up of flesh and blood, feelings and emotions, fear, pain and pleasure, of being subjected to violence and collusion. It reflects directly on man, to the point of increasingly structuring human history. So, far from being anecdotal and secondary, it fully deserves the attention of historians who care about multiple histories.

One should therefore ensure that an anthropocentric vision plays no part in history; one should really look at man's 'extras', these other living beings that animals are, immerse oneself in their world, look from their point of view by going back to questioning, looking for the wordiest documents or by reading others in another way, by throwing the story off-centre.

By doing so, one can show how animals have lived and experienced the historical phenomena in which they have been trained, how they have reacted and even forced man to change his attitude. Evoking this other side of history serves to re-evaluate a true protagonist, often a major one, who has been hidden for too long; to thus understand a number of human attitudes (protests, conflicts, adaptations, etc.) that are not perceived or analysed correctly without this; to finally respond to the growing demand of the general public that is now constantly raising the question of animals' experiences. And it's up to historians to provide an answer.

Table of Contents

Expand human history

Part I. Write a decentered history

Chapter I. The success in human history animals

Chapter II. Distrust of animal history

Chapter III. The choice of lived history

Producers of agricultural development : dairy cows Workers of the industrial revolution : the horses of mine and omnibus Enlisted in the wars : the animals to the tranches Members of the modern family : pet dogs Object of the development of leisure : the fighting bulls

Chapter IV. Make history of another

The animal actor An expanded notion of history The other of the man Read sources another way use of the natural sciences conduct an experimental history

Part II. Incessant metamorphose

Chapter V. In search of good characters Chapter VI. Standardisation by the races

Chapter VII. Changes in gait

Part III. Lives of proletarians

Chapter VIII. Beasts of burden

Adaptation or refusal Superhorses efforts Collaboration or resistance Reassuring or distressing life

Chapter IX. Manufacturing chain

A forced conversion Specialization on the farm Confinement in the city Skilled workers in the workshop

Part IV. The burden of violence

Chapter X. Suffer pain

Chapter XI. Objects squeezed

Chapter XII. Other flesh for war

The killing of hostages Dogs wear The slaughter of horses

Chapter XII. Toys show

The stress of arenas The clash of pikes and banderillas Exhaustion at the cape Death in the afternoon

Part V. Heat of connivances

Chapter XIII. Individual complicity

Chapter XIV. Charity ordered

Chapter XV. Sweet family

Other dogs in the 19th century -- and other lives Almost all companions since the mind 20th century An increasing confort A stronger relationship Since the dog boy... the dog old

Part VII. Back to the man

Chapter XVI. A common history of flesh, emotions, exchanges

Survive in the front with animals When the companion leaves

Chapter XVII. Debates and conflicts

Chapter XVIII. Adaptations, transformations Chapter XIX. Interleaving between men and animals

Recognize a subject in its own right

By the same author :

 Bullfight [La Corrida, 1995] ; translated into Japanese

The Church and the animal (France, 17th-20th century) [L'�glise et l'animal, 1996]

(Direction) Domestic animal, 17th-20th century [L'animal domestique, in Cahiers d'histoire, 1997, 3-4]

Zoo, A history of zoological gardens in the west, translated into English (Reaktion Books, 2002), German, Chinese [Zoos, histoire des jardins zoologique en Occident, XVIe-XXe, 1998]

And the man created the animal, history of a condition [Et l'homme cr�a l'animal, histoire d'une condition, 2003]

(Direction) Animal in politics [L'animal en politique, 2003]

Portraits of animals, the boards of the dictionary universal natural history of Charles d'Orbigny (1841-1849) [Portraits d'animaux. Les planches du dictionnaire universel d'histoire naturelle de Charles d'Orbigny, 2007]

Animals' Society [La soci�t� des animaux, 2008] - Beasts of burden, animals in the service of men [B�tes de somme, des animaux au service des hommes, 2011]

(Direction) Milou, Id�fix and Co, the dog in comic strips, automn 2012
[Milou, Id�fix et Cie, le chien en BD, 2012]

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