#EqHist2018: Philip Homan on Horses & Mules for the Anglo-Boer War

All month long we will be featuring speaker’s abstracts for the upcoming Equine History Conference: Why Equine History Matters. Register now!

“This Flotsam and Jetsam of Human Passions and Strife”: American Horses and Mules for the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa, 1899-1902—An Equine Middle Passage of the Transatlantic Horse Trade
Philip A. Homan, Idaho State University

   Taking seriously historiography’s “animal turn,” South African historian Sandra Swart has used horses in the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902—the last fully horse-powered war—as a case study for writing equines into history.[1] Their death in the war was an equicide, which Major-General Sir Frederick Smith, British Army Veterinary Department officer in South Africa, called “a holocaust.”[2] The Royal Commission on the War concluded that “the chief cause of the loss of horses [and mules] in the War was that they were … brought from distant countries … [and] submitted to a long and deteriorating sea voyage ….”[3] From October 1899 to June 1902, 109,878 horses and 81,524 mules—more than from England, Ireland, and the British colonies combined—were shipped from New Orleans in 65 different steamships making 166 voyages.[4] It was one of the largest global transports of equines in history. Conditions on the steamers were terrible, paralleling those on the slave ships in the transatlantic slave trade. The sickness, shipwrecks, and burials at sea endured by the horses and mules, which Smith called “this flotsam and jetsam of human passions and strife,”[5] are worth remembering. South African historian Johan Wassermann has studied the relationships between New Orleans and Durban resulting from these shipments.[6] No scholar, however, has studied them in themselves. Therefore, this presentation will use this overlooked “equine Middle Passage of the transatlantic horse trade” as a lens through which to view an episode in world history and thereby help answer the question “Why Equine History Matters.” 

[1] Sandra Swart, “Horses in the South African War, c. 1899-1902,” Society and Animals: Journal of Human-Animal Studies (Animals and Society Institute) 18, no. 4 (2010): 348-66. 

[2] Frederick Smith, A Veterinary History of the War in South Africa, 1899-1902 (London: H. & W. Brown, 1919), 226. 

[3] Report of His Majesty’s Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Military Preparations and Other Matters Connected with the War in South Africa, 1903, Cd. 1789, at 98.

[4] Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence Taken before the Royal Commission on the War in South Africa, 1903, Cd. 1792, at 258; H.R. Doc. No. 649, at 6 (1902). 

[5] Frederick Smith, A Veterinary History of the War in South Africa, 41-2. 

[6] Johan Wassermann, “A Tale of Two Port Cities: The Relationship between Durban and New Orleans during the Anglo-Boer War,” Historia (Historical Association of South Africa) 49, no. 1 (May 2004): 27-47.

   Philip Anthony Homan is an associate professor at Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho, USA. He is also a PhD student in ISU’s Department of English and Philosophy. He is using animal studies and the history of the transatlantic slave trade to study the maritime shipment of American horses and mules from New Orleans to South Africa for the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, in what he calls the equine Middle Passage of the transatlantic horse trade.

 

 

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#EqHist2018: Masato Hasegawa on (Horse)power in 17th Century China

All month long we will be featuring speaker’s abstracts for the upcoming Equine History Conference: Why Equine History MattersRegister now!

The Equine Body and Human Labor in the Military Logistics of Early Seventeenth-Century China
Masato Hasegawa, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

   This paper’s analysis centers on the wartime transport of provisions in early seventeenth-century China. Primarily drawing on writings of one of the most prolific writers of the period on military logistics, Mao Yuanyi (1594-1641), this study probes the manner in which the reliability of packhorses and animal-drawn carts were being assessed in comparison with human labor. A military strategist and advisor, Mao participated in some of the major military campaigns in China’s northeast in the early seventeenth century. In his seminal study on the conduct of war, The Record of Military Preparedness (Wubeizhi), he extensively discussed the costs and benefits of the transport methods available in his time. His assessment not only considered the reliability of each method in the short term. He also calculated the costs and risks of employing each method over the long term, including fodder, wages, maintenance, illnesses, cheating, and seasonal weather patterns. Of all the methods considered, Mao clearly favored what he called “human transport” (renyun), which exclusively relied on the labor of human bearers. By analyzing his writings on the transport of provisions and his forceful argument in favor of employing human labor, this study highlights the manner in which consideration over transport entailed an appraisal of efficiency and reliability in both the short and long term. Also vividly illuminated in his writings is the critical importance attached to understanding the equine body and equine behavior in early modern China.

#EqHist2018: Eloise Kane on 18th Century Estate Horses

All month long we will be featuring speaker’s abstracts for the upcoming Equine History Conference: Why Equine History Matters. Register now!

‘Jobb horses’, Piebalds, and a horse called Chance: Horses on an 18th-century estate
Eloise Kane, University of Bristol

    The value of the horse to those of us studying studying the past is difficult to overstate, as few animals share such a long and complex relationship with humans. This paper will consider the role of the horse in shaping experiences of the world of 18th-century England, looking at historical archaeological evidence for its participation in travel, leisure, hunting, livelihood and landscape. From 1767, the Fox family of Kensington, London, attempted to create a new country seat, a mansion house and landscape park some 80 miles to the southwest in Wiltshire. For seven years, the estate saw an intense period of activity and improvement, ending in disaster in 1774 when the mansion house was burned to the ground. By privileging the horse in a close reading of the Fox household accounts, it is possible to map life on and off the estate, making visible that which may be overlooked when we concentrate on people as the most salient actors in our narrative. If we concern ourselves less with the humans, not only are other animals and our relationship with them more apparent, but so too are the people themselves.

Read more about Eloise Kane here.

 

Registration Extended!

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   Don’t miss your chance at a weekend packed with equine history! Registration is extended to Friday, Nov. 16.

About Equine History 2018:

   A three-day conference bringing equine history to the public will come to Pomona, CA on Nov. 30, Dec. 1, and Dec. 2, 2018. Events will showcase the influence of equine animals in human history, including the introduction of horses, their assimilation into indigenous and colonial societies, the presence of ranches in California, and how human beings and horses have shaped the environment. A keynote address on Nov. 30 at 5pm will feature Dr. Richard Nash (Professor of English at the University of Indiana, Bloomington), who is a leading scholar of Human-Animal Studies and eighteenth century English culture.  Twenty-four public historians and archivists coming from all over the US and internationally will contribute to themed panels held at the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library (University Library Building, 3801 West Temple Ave Pomona, CA 91768). A tour of the WKKAHL will showcase its collections and current exhibit to promote the rich resources available for the study of Arabian horses at Cal Poly Pomona. The conference will close with a Q&A session and the traditional Arabian Sunday Show at the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center (3801 West Temple Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768). 

   This event is organized by the Equine History Collective (EHC), a California nonprofit founded in 2018 with the goal of fostering equine history research and its dissemination, along with collaboration among public, equine and scholarly communities. The W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library (WKKAHL), a library and archive on the Cal Poly Pomona Campus led by Katie Richardson, Head of Special Collections and Archives, is generously sponsoring this event. The WKKAHL holds one of the largest public collections of Arabian horse materials as a legacy of the land grant from cereal magnate W.K. Kellogg. Additionally, the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center (WKKAHC) continues this legacy of public outreach in the College of Agriculture, where students get hands on training in breeding and agricultural management through the Animal Science and Agribusiness programs.

Follow us all month for a preview of the presentations we have lined up.

#EqHist2018: Hylke Hettema, Warhorse to Trophy Horse

All month long we will be featuring speaker’s abstracts for the upcoming Equine History Conference: Why Equine History Matters. Register now!

How an Oriental Warhorse Became a Global Trophy Horse
Hylke Hettema, Leiden University

   The Arabian horse is one of the most popular breeds in the world, and generally quoted to be one of the oldest and purest breeds. The Arabian is also said to have influenced the development of nearly every modern light horse breed and although the contact between Arab and European cultures predates the 19th century in which many modern breeds were first defined,  most of the circulating general knowledge on origin and history of the Arabian horse stems from Orientalist writings. Remarkably the Arabian horse was not considered superior to other breeds until the end of the 18th century, when the European and American interest in the Orient begins to bloom and the current assumption that the Arabian horse is superior to most other breeds starts to prevail. However no academic research has been done into the sudden change in European and American attitude towards Arab equestrian culture and auxiliary horses, or, the motive for the seemingly abrupt transition of the Arabian horse from Oriental warhorse to  a Global trophy horse.

   This paper will investigate the process of the Arabian horse climbing to its current superior status in global equestrian culture and subsequent impact on general knowledge. Examining Orientalist writings that portray the Arabian horse as superior to all western breeds, this paper will investigate probable factors that may have played a part in the change in status of the Arabian horse from Oriental warhorse to a Global trophy horse.

Read our Member Monday profile of Hylke Hettema here.

#EqHist2018: Chelsea Shields-Más on Anglo-Saxon Equine Management

All month long we will be featuring speaker’s abstracts for the upcoming Equine History Conference: Why Equine History Matters. Register now!

If Wishes Were Horses: Building a Picture of Late Anglo-Saxon Equine Management and Care
Chelsea Shields-Más, SUNY Old Westbury

   The history and fates of men and horses have been inextricably intertwined for millennia. Civilizations have risen and fallen on the backs of horses.  Arguably no other animal has had such a profound impact on humanity’s history.  These animals have been our companions, carried us into  battle,  ploughed our fields and captured our  imaginations. The Anglo-Saxons were no different, with horses and their tack appearing richly described in both prose and poetry. There were numerous Old English terms employed to denote “horse” – among  them hors, wicg, stéda, hengest and mearh – which occur upwards of three hundred times within the Old English corpus. Not only were these highly valued animals the  trusted companions of men in times of war, but they also feature prominently in Anglo-Saxon poetry and art. 

   But what do we know of the horse care and management practiced by the Anglo-Saxons? Sarah Larratt Keefer and Jennifer Neville have argued for the existence of selective breeding programs in England by the tenth and eleventh centuries, in which kings, princes, ecclesiastics and the nobility seem to have vigorously participated. However, our understanding of how these horses were managed and cared for remains a question mark. This paper will attempt to address that question and in doing so to build a picture of Anglo-Saxon equine care and management in tenth- and eleventh-century England, through the use of estate memoranda, charters, the corpus of Anglo-Saxon wills, law codes and archaeological remains. 

Read our Member Monday profile of Chelsea Shields-Más here.

Phonographs, Flying Machines, and the Animality of Modernity: Live-Streamed Animal Studies Event / November 13

On November 13 at 3:30 PM EST, the Ball State University Department of History will be livestreaming “Phonographs, Flying Machines, and the Animality of Modernity,” a public lecture to be delivered by Dr. Daniel Vandersommers, assistant teaching professor of history at the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities. 

Dr. Vandersommers earned his Ph.D. in History from the Ohio State University in 2014.  He is the author of “Animal Activism and the Zoo-Networked Nation,” published in the Spring 2015 edition of Humanimalia: A Journal of Human/Animal Interface Studies and “Narrating Animal History from the Crags: A Turn-of-the-Century Tale about Mountain Sheep, Resistance, and a Nation,” published in the August 2017 issue of the Journal of American Studies.  He is the recipient of a 2017-2018 NEH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine inPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania and a Newberry Library Short-Term Fellowship in March 2018.  March 2019 will see publication of an anthology, Zoo Studies: A New Humanities, co-edited with Tracy McDonald , and he is under contract with Cambridge University Press to publish the monograph  Humanism Encaged: The American Zoo, 1887-1917.

If you cannot attend in person in Burkhardt Building 222, please consider attending virtually at the Ball State Department of History’s YouTube Channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXjaEBrcY3FWK9HApt_CCEw.

 

Courtesy of Abel Alves, Professor and Chairperson, Department of History at Ball State University, and author of The Animals of Spain: An Introduction to Imperial Perceptions and Human Interaction with Other Animals, 1492-1826 (Brill, 2011), Brutality and Benevolence: Human Ethology, Culture, and the Birth of Mexico(Greenwood, 1996), “Pets and Domesticated Animals in the Atlantic World” (Oxford Bibliographies, 2017).