Equine Cultures at WOCMES Recap

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“Intersections of Equine Cultures in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa”
World Congress on Middle Eastern Studies
July 16-20, 2018
Seville, Spain 

Tunis
“Conquest of Tunis”

   Horses cross borders, sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively. A panel dedicated to “The Intersections of Equine Cultures” at the recent World Congress on Middle Eastern Studies, hosted by the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation in Seville, explored equine connections between the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. 

   The panel, brought together by Gwyneth Talley (UCLA), discussed equine knowledge from translations of classical texts in Latin, Arabic and Persian, to contemporary racing cultures and their transnational relevance to questions of ethnic and class identity. 

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Ferdinand III

The presentations began with Hylke Hettema[1] (Leiden University) who assessed the profound influence of Orientalism on descriptions of horses in the Middle East as “Arabian” by early colonial enthusiasts. Christoph Lange[2] (University of Cologne) described his anthropological fieldwork at horse racetracks in the Middle East, showing that long-standing popular culture offered a local inspiration for elite involvement in global racing circuits, beyond the influence of the British Empire. Marjan Afsharian[3] (Institute of Ismaili Studies) traced the numerous manuscript variations on a Sanskrit text translated into Persian and found in both British and French collections. Finally, Kathryn Renton (UCLA) discussed the common classical origins of both Arabic and Latin traditions of equine knowledge in the Iberian Peninsula, despite multiple routes of transmission. Together, the panel demonstrated the long-standing and shared interest in horses as carriers of culture across national and linguistic boundaries.

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Carriage horse napping in Seville

[1] Hylke is the founder of Al Safy Arabians in Cairo, Egypt.

[2] Christoph published some of his research in “Purity, Nobility, Beauty and Performance: Past and Present Construction of Meaning for the Arabian Horse” in The Meaning of Horses: Biosocial Encounters edited by Dona Davis and Anita Maurstad (Routledge, 2016).

[3]  Marjan is an editor for the Encyclopaedia Islamica project at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, UK

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Left to right: Christoph Lange, Hylke Hettema, Marjan Afsharian, Kathryn Renton
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CFP: Animal/Language: An Interdisciplinary Conference

Held in conjunction with the art exhibition “Assembling Animal Communication”

CALL FOR PAPERS
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 21-23 March 2019

Confirmed Invited Speakers:

Catherine Chalmers, Stanford University Adrienne Martín, University of California, Davis

   Animals and language have a complicated relationship with one another in human understanding. Every period of history evinces a fascination with the diverse modes of communicative exchange and possibilities of linguistic community that exist both within and between species. Recent critics of anthropocentrism are far from the first to question the supposed muteness of the “dumb animal” and its ontological and ethical ramifications. Various cultures have historically attributed language to animals, and we have developed an increasingly sophisticated scientific understanding of the complex non-verbal communicative systems that animals use among themselves. New research complements millennia of human-animal communication in the contexts of work, play, and domestic life.

   Some people have extensive experience with real, live Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 5.02.37 PM.png
animals. Some primarily encounter animals as products of the food industry. Some focus on animal representations in text or image, or deploy the abstract
figure of “the animal” as limit or counterpart of the human. These interactions condition different ways of
“thinking with animals,” including: using them in and as language or in experimentation, recruiting them as
symbols and metaphors, incorporating them into idiomatic expressions, projecting moral values onto them, and ventriloquizing them for purposes of cultural critique. A vast archive of literary, artistic, philosophical, historical, religious, and scientific explorations testifies that the boundaries and complementarities relating animals and language have always captured the human imagination.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 5.02.47 PM    Animal/Language aims to create an interdisciplinary dialogue on the relationship between “animals” and “language” that considers both what connects and what separates these two key terms. The conference hopes to generate new scientific inquires and creative synergies by initiating conversation and exchange among scholars in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.

We therefore invite researchers from all fields, periods, and geographical areas to propose contributions engaging questions such as:

  • What are the real, imagined, or potential relationships between animals and language(s)?
  • What are animal languages?
  • What spaces or functions does the animal occupy within human language and cultural representation?
  • What is the role of animals in aesthetic or artistic meaning-making processes?
  • How do our interactions with animals shape our conceptions of animals and language?
  • How and why do we communicate with animals?
  • How and why do animals communicate with us?
  • How and why do animals communicate with one another?
  • What philosophical, ethical, and political questions are raised by different ways of affirming and denying connections between animals and language?
  • How should any of the above questions be historicized?

    Proposal Submission Deadline: September 30, 2018

       Proposals for 20-minute papers should be no more than 300 words long and include 3-5 keywords identifying your discipline and topic(s). All abstracts will be reviewed anonymously; please provide author name(s) and affiliations in your submission email, but omit them from your abstract itself. Please submit all proposals (in .docx or .pdf form) and questions to animallanguage2019@gmail.com. We plan to inform participants in early November.

    With many thanks,
    The Conference Organizers

    Dr. John Beusterien (Spanish), Dr. Belinda Kleinhans (German), Dr. Katy Schroeder (Animal & Food Sciences), Dr. Lucas Wood (French), Dr. Pamela Zinn (Classics), in collaboration with Joe Arredondo (Landmark Arts) and Dr. Kevin Chua (Art History)

CFP: session on medieval equestrian history at IMC Leeds 2019

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   “Your horse won’t eat any oats, nor will he be bled until I get my revenge” threatens his lady Orgeuilleux de la Lande, making his displeasure evident by abusing the lady’s horse. Horses were vital agents in daily life throughout the medieval period, but with the advent of technology in the twentieth century, they have been somehow marginalized in academic studies. Recently, interest in equine history has surged, but there are still many issues waiting to be tackled by scholars.

   In this fourth year of thematic horse sessions at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, we invite papers on the following themes:

    • Breeding, training, feeding and curing horses
    • Osteological study of horse remains
    • Equipment for ridden and working horses
    • Horse-related buildings and infrastructure (stables, roads, hippodromes, markets, etc.)
    • Horses in the East and West – regional peculiarities
    • Imaginary, fantastic and magical horses and equids, including unicorns, centaurs and grotesques, and their relation to real horses
    • Other equids and ridden animals (donkeys, mules, zebras, etc.)

   If you would like to propose a theme that does not fit in the above categories, please contact the organizers.

   Paper abstracts (up to 500 words) and short biographies (up to 100 words) are to be sent to Dr Anastasija Ropa (Anastasija.Ropa@lspa.lv) and Dr Timothy Dawson (levantia@hotmail.com) by 31 August 2018.

   Publication of selected papers is planned.

   If you would like to be involved in organizing the sessions or editing or reviewing the publication, please contact the organizers (Anastasija.Ropa@lspa.lv, levantia@hotmail.com).

Idaho PTV’s “Taking the Reins” to Feature Horsewoman of the American West

Kittie Wilkins on Sidesaddle (Mountain Home Historical Museum) (300 dpi) copy
Post by Philip A. Homan

Photo of Kittie Wilkins courtesy of Mountain Home Historical Museum, Mountain Home, ID

 

   The second episode in Idaho Public Television’s new Idaho Experience series will feature Kittie Wilkins, the Horse Queen of Idaho, one of the most well-known horsewomen in the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century United States.

   The boss of the Wilkins Horse Company, headquartered at the Diamond Ranch in the Bruneau Valley of Owyhee County, Idaho, Wilkins ran 10,000 horses, all branded with her famous Diamond brand. The company’s herd was said by the newspapers to be the largest owned by one family in the American West.

   According to the newspapers, the “Queen of Diamonds,” as Wilkins was also known, was the only woman at the turn of the twentieth century whose sole occupation was horse dealing. In fact, she sold horses by the trainloads. From 1887 to 1902, she traveled each year to the stockyards of the Midwest, helping to supply America’s horsepower. Newspapers along the Union Pacific announced her arrival with headlines like “The Only One of Her Kind.”

   However, Wilkins was no Calamity Jane. Trained as a classical pianist at the first college west of the Mississippi to give the baccalaureate to women, she told the newspapers, “Next to petting my favorite horses, I like nothing better than to sit down at my piano and let my fingers drift along the keys ….” Indeed, she was an ambassador not only of the American West but also of Western American womanhood. Solidly Victorian, she subscribed to many of the tenets of the so-called Cult of True Womanhood. Nevertheless, as not only a horse dealer but also a commercial traveler, she was successful as a woman in a profession that not only took her out of the home and into the marketplace for months at a time but that had also helped to define American manhood at the turn of the twentieth century.

   Wilkins also made what was said by the newspapers to be the largest sale of horses in the West. In 1900, she sold 8,000 head in a single sale to be shipped by the British Army Remount Department from New Orleans for the South African War, 1899-1902. According to statistics, Wilkins supplied over seven percent of all American horses sent to South Africa for the war.

   “Taking the Reins” will premiere on IdahoPTV on Thursday, May 24, at 8:30 pm MDT, and will repeat on Sunday, May 27, at 7:30 pm MDT. The episode will be available for free streaming online approximately May 29.

 

 

Horses & Courts Recap

By Kathryn Renton

     “Horses and Courts,” an international symposium, focused scholarly attention on the striking use of the horse at monarchical courts for public display and private power brokering, primarily from the fifteenth to nineteenth century. Conference organizers Donna Landry (University of Kent’s Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century) and Philip Mansel (Society for Court Studies) brought together an intersection of presenters and attendees from the EU, UK, and US, hosted by The Wallace Collection, for a series of more than 30 complementary presentations over the three-day congress.  

 800px-Reiter_(Jacopo_Bellini)    Tobias Capwell, (Curator of Arms and Amor, The Wallace Collection) set the stage in his presentation by emphasizing the essential crossover between artistry and practicality in courtly equine pursuits. The rarity of extant saddles, for example, owes to their use and re-use.  While armor transformed the man and horse, even into fantastical creatures for theatrical mounting the horse exposed the rider to risk rather than merely the pretense of it.  Several presentations demonstrated the practical use of horses in negotiations over exile, inheritance, and diplomatic encounters.  These power plays had multi-faceted extensions in the rich display of carousels, venery or hunting, pas d’armes, royal entrances, and racing. The eminent visibility of participating in these events also found its historical counterweight in a panel on the female rider or ‘Amazon.’  Despite the long-term shift in values from “haut école” to English horsemanship noted by several presentations, the arranged tours of the Royal Mews and Household Cavalry demonstrated the continued relevance of horses and court politics. A strong representation of English, French and Spanish courts did not preclude the presentation of equal emphasis on horses in the courts of Denmark, Sweden, and the Habsburg territories further east, and the shared riding masters and stud horses demonstrated the interconnectedness of the same courts. Presentations also included Algeria, South Africa, and India, and this global reach raises the possibility of “Horse and Empire” as a fruitful theme for a subsequent symposium. Plans are underway for equine congresses in Vienna and Chantilly, as well as the EHC Conference in California at the end of this year.

Review livetweets by @NicoleMennell, and the #HorsePower2018 on twitter.
     Nicole Mennell is a CHASE-funded doctoral candidate within the Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies at the University of Sussex. Her thesis, ‘Shakespeare’s Sovereign Beasts: Political Discourse and Human-Animal Relations in Early Modern Drama’, explores the connections made between figures of sovereignty and animals in early modern drama. Nicole’s chapter, ‘“The Dignity of Mankind”: Edward Tyson’s Anatomie of a Pygmy and the Ape-Man Boundary’ was recently published in the edited collection Seeing Animals After Derrida (2018). She also has a forthcoming chapter on Shakespeare’s lions in The Routledge Handbook of Shakespeare and Animals.

Image: Bellini’s drawing of a monstrous chaffron. Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins

 

CFP: Horses, Moving, September 25-27, Museum of Archaeology, University of Stavanger

The conference seeks to address the movement and motility of horses from a wide array of perspectives, from prehistory until historical times. The Museum of Archaeology, University of Stavanger and the Høgskulen for landbruk og bygdeutvikling would like to invite you to “Horses, moving” a cross-disciplinary conference on the symbolism and relevance of horses in human societies throughout history, as well as the dynamics of human-horse interactions. Keynote speakers are professor Lynda Birke, University of Chester and professor Anita Maurstad, University of Tromsø. We would like to invite prospective participants to submit abstracts outlining their topic. Presentations may come from any field, archaeology, anthropology, ethnography, human geography, history, linguistics, folklore studies, equine studies or animal behavioral studies, to name but a few. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and must be submitted by June 30. For further information or to submit an abstract, please contact Sean Dexter Denham, sean.d.denham@uis.no.