Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Wild and domestic: A cultural history of human-animal relations

By Andi Horvath

Environmental historian Prof Harriet Ritvo recounts the often ambiguous relationships between the human and animal worlds through history, and explores our need to both tame and take inspiration from the wild.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

I'm Doctor Andi Horvath. Thanks for joining us. Today we bring you up close to our important but often conflicted relationship to the world of animals. Animals, whether domesticated, tamed or wild are not only our fellow creatures on the planet, but our very survival depends on the continued existence of quite a number of animals and insect species. While we exploit some members of the animal kingdom for their milk or honey, meat or fibre and fur or feathers, we treat others as ornaments and trophies and yet we elevate others to the role of our best friends and lifelong companions. As we will hear, this mix of human attitudes towards animals has evolved over time and place. History and context conspire to make species once regarded as dangerous vermin into precious endangered wildlife. Internationally recognised scholar in animal studies, Professor Harriet Ritvo is our guest today on Up Close. She is the Arthur J Conner Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her research focuses on the history of animal and human relations and the history of natural history and the environment, especially with regard to the British Empire. Harriet Ritvo was a...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.