Tracking and trapping the animal
Christopher Ward (University of Nottingham)
Caetano Sordi (National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN), Brazil)
Science Site/Chemistry CG60
Start time:
4 July, 2016 at 14:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

What does the tracking and trapping of animals tell us about interspecies relations and agency? This panel will seek to investigate how the mechanisms of classifying, tracking and trapping the nonhuman animal can themselves modify relationships in unexpected ways.

Long abstract:

What does a trap communicate? How does tracking an animal create a narrative, be this on an ethnographic, literary, scientific or philosophical level? Is the classification of different species the cognitive outcome of trapping and tracking animals in multiple ways? If so, how and where do classifications of different species emerge? When do the mechanisms that interact between species, these methods of tracking, trapping and classifying, themselves apparently act on their own accord? Whether through the senses or by technology, the following of the non-human animal permeates inter-species interactions as well as the study of the multi-species. By sensory perception, knowledge or technology, the animal might be followed, located or trapped, but can these mechanisms, methods and experiences themselves act, communicate or temporally displace relations in unexpected forms? Does this displacement, whether over geographic distance or time, have a greater importance for such things as biosecurity, ethics, wildness, conservation and domestication? How do the techniques alter our own perceptions, movements and lifeworlds? What kinds of engagement with landscape, atmosphere, anthropogenic or "natural" environments do these activities require or encompass? This panel will seek to discuss such displacement, welcoming papers from all academic disciplines, regarding the tracking, trapping and classifying of animals. We also encourage participants to reflect on how anthropologists and ethnographers become (or can become) skilled in the tracking practices of the peoples they study or collaborate with, as well as the limits and challenges imposed by this endeavour.