Visit our new location for an event spotlight featuring Dr. Don Johanson, Lucy’s 40th anniversary, and a night with the Natural History Museum of LA.
This month, Dr. Allen Shotwell shares work on early modern medical manuscripts, and the connections among female and canine anatomies. Come check it out.
Haven’t had a chance to swing by Performing Humanity’s new location? Here’s a peek into what we’ve been up to:
With the completion of the Emerging Voices series, Performing Humanity has shifted to a new location for the release of new content.
We hope that you’ll continue joining us there, sharing your ideas, and proposing new content. In the coming months we have exciting articles and collaborations scheduled; and we hope to develop new ways for you to engage with contributors.
Thanks for visiting!
These experiments and discoveries highlight a fundamental difference between Hooke and more traditional scientists like Tyson, and the difference is Hooke’s purely scientific view on the subject. Through Hooke, one can imagine the impact on the culture that his discoveries had. Given the concept that one becomes like what they ingest or ‘take in’, it must have been shocking for people to realize that they ingest several billion unseen creatures every day. All the while, both scientists were able to open up the scientific world to the general public through their drawings. Still, in their wake, Tyson and Hooke did not solve the problems of the definition of ‘human’ and ‘animal’ and, in fact, caused it to change into an entirely new form just like the mythical beasts they debunked.
Colin is a student at Ball State University studying Creative Writing. He enjoys writing poetry and prose, but is most familiar with longer narratives. He enjoys a good story and uses his aloof nature to find creativity in odd places.
By Tiffany M.
The Tower of London had many uses over the years, up to and through the Pre Modern period. Notably it was the site of many beheadings and imprisonments. Queen Elizabeth I herself was even imprisoned there for a time. Notably, the Tower also housed The Royal Menagerie, where exotic animals were displayed for visitors to view. Though these facts are interesting in their own right, I am particularly interested in the diverse functionality of the Tower and what implications emerge given London’s eclectic use of the architecture. In particular, how did the Tower’s residents raise questions about spectacles and objectifications involving man and beast?
There was a fascination during the Pre Modern period surrounding the question “What exactly differentiates man and beast?” Vast amounts of experiments were occurring, including vivisections, dissections, and blood transfusions; in all cases, these experiments involved both animals and humans. Much as in the anatomical theaters, both man and beast existed in the Tower. Unlike the anatomical theaters, however, it could be argued the animals received better treatment in the Tower. According to an article by Phillip Drennon Thomas, “During the fourteenth century, lions and other animals were allotted six pence a day in food while their keeper was given one-and-a-half pence for his board”(Thomas). Also in an article by Julia Stuart, “Stow’s Survey Of London, published in 1720, remarked that: ‘The creatures have a rank smell, which hath so affected the air of the place… that it hath much injured the health of the man that attends them, so stuffed up his head, that it affects his speech.’”(Stuart). In a time when animals were considered possessions, for human consumption, and being killed and mutilated for human entertainment this was highly unusual.
The humans that resided in the tower were either held as prisoners or as keepers of the Royal Animals. The animals were often gifts from Royalty and considered a form of entertainment, art, and prized possessions, particularly the lions. According to Thomas, James I was so fond of the lions, that he designed a bottle with a nipple to feed orphan lion cubs. The feeding bottle was not even introduced for human children until the 19th century. This posses the question: Are some animals more valuable than humans? At least here, the animals were being humanized and the humans animalized. This is even more fascinating when you consider that only Royalty or people once of high regard were imprisoned there or were invited to the menagerie.
Placing Royal criminals in the same space with wild animals complicates ideas of human value in England at the time. In her book “Perceiving Animals,” Erica Fudge notes that in England, animals were often put on trial for crimes they allegedly committed. They were dressed in human clothes, put in human prisons, and assigned a lawyer. According to Stewart, in the Royal menagerie we see a reversal here. Instead of animals staying in human prisons, animal cages were turned into prison cells for humans. Was there a hierarchy between types of beasts as there was with men? Did this hierarchy overlap between different types of men and beasts? Fudge notes, “ In early modern English law there were three categories of animal, wild animals, domestic animals, and recreational animals, and different categories of ownership for animals, absolute and qualified possessory. Only domestic animals can be absolutely owned. Wild animals may qualify to be possessed however it must be made tame and maintained as tame”(Fudge). Where do the animals held at the menagerie fit into this? They certainly weren’t tame. There are documentations of them killing or mauling patrons and I have found no killing or trial records for any of these animals. Were they exempt from such rules, perhaps above the law?
Tiffany is a student at Ball State University with majors in the Art and English departments.
Public Domain, Wire animals at tower.jpg.
Burgess, Laura. “A Menagerie of strange Royal Beasts returns for Tower of London installation and exhibition.” Culture 24. (2011): n. page. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.
Fudge, Erica. Perceiving Animals. 1st ed. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002. 115-142. Print.
Stuart, Julia. “Balthazar Jones And The Tower Of London Zoo.” HarperPress. (2010): n. page. Web. 30 Apr. 2014. <Balthazar Jones And The Tower Of London Zoo Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1313816/The-polar-bear-lived-Tower–grumpy-lion-baboon-threw-cannon-balls-Britains-bizarre-zoo.html
Thomas, Phillip Drennon. “The Tower of London’s Royal Menagerie.” History Today. 46.8 (1996): 29. Print.
By Walter E.
Until this point, medical practice was rooted in the Humoral Theory, a model utilized by Galen. The belief was that the human body was comprised of four parts (or humors): Blood, Phlegm, and Black and Yellow bile. Humors allowed medical surgeons like William Harvey and Edward Tyson to explain how the lungs and circulatory system operated, among other bodily functions. Yet continued use of vivisection and dissection began raising questions about the accuracy of previous theories; and scientists began to pinpoint the similarities and differences among human and animal biology, human and animal anatomy, and the degree to which humans could use body fluids and humors differentiate themselves and claim natural superiority. Though, while these methods of research seem antiquated in the 21st century, they were essential to the advancement of modern medicine and social advancements due to the aforementioned answers unveiled by these examinations. While science and art are often thought to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, with science as absolute thoughts and art showing free-thinking creativity, we have found a means of synthesizing of the two. In our research we have concluded that art and science cannot be treated as separate entities but instead that one lends to the other in that each helped progress the other to become more accurate in both rendering and execution.
We’re excited to introduce readers, faithful and newly added, to the testing site of the updated Performing Humanity.
In the coming months, we will be assessing the new site as an alternative to this platform. We’ll be sharing reviews on summer films in the field, as well as articles on museums and art exhibits. As new content rolls in, we invite you to share feedback and suggestions so we can shape a site that showcases your work, and fits your needs and interests.
By the new year, we’ll have finalized the decisions and will be hosting collaborations with scholars, authors, and artists (including History Carnival in January 2015). We hope that you’ll join us by continuing to share your own ideas and contributions.
Have favorite articles from PH? Never fear! Our old site and its archives will remain available to you. We will also continue hosting our “Emerging Voices” series, which is also viewable through the RSS feed at the bottom of the new site, until it concludes in early November. You don’t need to miss a thing.
Thank you for reading!