“Animalia: An Anti-Imperial Bestiary for Our Times"

From A to Z: New volume examines animals' role in the British Empire, racial politics
Stamping It Out

Animals played a central role in the British Empire. Sources of food and labor, animals symbolized the power of the empire. They also hindered the efforts of the British to control colonized lands, and they destroyed ecosystems.

A new book examines their relationships with imperial authorities and colonists through essays about 26 animals – one for each letter of the alphabet, from Ape and Boar to Yak and Zebu – and how those human-animal relationships reflect on the empire’s presumption of racial supremacy. “Animalia: An Anti-Imperial Bestiary for Our Times” was co-edited by Antoinette Burton, the director of the Humanities Research Institute and a history professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Burton contributed two essays.

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