The second Equine History Conference (#EqHist2019) brought together a fantastic group of scholars Nov. 13–15, 2019 at Cal Poly Pomona (see final program). Hosted by the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library, the event opened with a welcome from Emma Gibson, Interim Dean of the University Library at CPP. The theme of the conference, “Embodied Equines,” invited papers that explored how people have understood, shaped, sustained, and used equine bodies.
On the first day, Sandra Swart gave the keynote address on “The Equine Experiment“—the role of both horses and race in producing the colonial hierarchies of South Africa, despite the immense difficulty of transporting and raising horses there—the role of blood taking on an ominous configuration with respect to racehorses and apartheid.
Conference attendees had the opportunity to tour the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library to view the “Miniature Menageries” exhibit of Hagen-Renaker figurines, examine new additions to the Library’s collections, and browse the Library’s many books and journals.
The first conference session included discussions of Arabian horsebreeding: Margaret Derry’s analysis of competing registries, John Schiewe’s discussion of best practices, and Tobi Lopez Tayor’s explanation of how Cold War politics influenced the importation of Russian and Polish Arabians to the US. The next session examined the human-horse bond and different styles of horsemanship.
Members of a Spanish-led team of scientists and archaeologists presented work on the myth and reality of Pizarro’s horse, excavations an Iron Age site with sacrificed horses in Iberia, and studies of the genetic inheritance of curly-coated horses around the world and of the Spanish colonial horse in American horse populations.
Papers on the long-distance trade and transport of horses – from New England to the sugar colonies, and in nineteenth-century U.S. military supply chains – were followed by Kat Boniface’s impassioned plea for productive interdisciplinary research and communication between equine scientists and historians. Another session addressed horses and social prestige, war, and morality in nineteenth-century America: the relationship between horses and status based on archaeological research at Montpelier, the procurement of horses in Kentucky during the Civil War, and how the urban middle-class applied the rhetoric of morality and efficiency to horse-drawn streetcar drivers and their horses.
In addition, speakers addressed the consequences of equine embodiment in the context of war: the types and concentration of horses in England after the Norman Conquest, the impact of equine disease in the Civil War, the mule-soldier relationship in World War I, and the use of condemned U.S. army horses as military dog food. Other papers highlighted the significance of horses in Arabic language poetry and ethics, and the commemoration of the horse body both in the ancient Greek and Roman world and in contemporary trophies of horse hooves re-purposed to serve a role in the home.
The conference closed with a paper on a little-known project of the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center at CPP to cross Shetland ponies with Arabians for the “Araland” cross, a history both unique and local. Attendees had breakfast that morning with Mary Jane Parkinson, longtime co-editor of Arabian Horse World and author of The Romance of the Kellogg Ranch, which was available for purchase. The day concluded with a tour of the Arabian Horse Center, which emphasized the student learning environment and beautiful batch of yearlings.
The conference provided wonderful opportunities for cross-disciplinary conversation and exchange across fields such as archaeology, history, genetics, and linguistics. The book table gathered together recent titles in equine topics, and generous sponsors provided a fantastic spread of raffle prizes. Our non-conference attendees found an active social media presence with Facebook Livefeed video clips and live-tweeting of talks when approved by the speaker (see #EqHist2019).
If you have stories to share about your experience of #EqHist2019 to share with us for a NiCHE (@NiCHE_Canada) thread in Twitter or a blog post, let us know!
The EHC would like to thank our 2019 Conference sponsors:
The EHC’s purpose is to foster equine history research and its dissemination, and promote collaboration between equine historians in all disciplines. This includes, but is not limited to, scholars in disciplines other than history, like agriculture, archaeology, art history, and literature, and researchers in non-academic settings, such as public historians and independent scholars.
Videos from the Horses & Courts symposium this spring are now available! Visit their website here. Wether you were there and want to refresh your memory, or weren’t able to make it to London, this is a fabulous resource.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calling all equine historians… We are delighted to announce the first annual conference and meeting of the Equine History Collective, in generous partnership with theW. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library and Kellogg Arabian Center. The three-day conference will be held at the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library on the campus of Cal Poly Pomona. Tours of the library and exhibits will be scheduled during the conference. Researchers are welcome and encouraged to contact the library archivists about making use of their special collections during their stay in Pomona. The conference will conclude with the traditional Sunday Arabian Show at the Kellogg Arabian Center. Our official call for papers will follow!
The ASEH annual conference will be in Riverside, CA, March 14-18. There are a number of equine and animal presentations of interest. In addition, there will be a pre-ASEH twitter conference, sponsored by NiCHE, on March 8th & 9th. Submissions are due Feb. 21.
Persistence and Power: The Cultural, Symbolic, and Environmental Role of Horses and Burros in Survivance in the American West Lindsay Marshall, University of Oklahoma, “I’ve Been a Horse All My Life”: The Persistence and Adaptability of Comanche Horse Culture in the Twentieth Century Abbie Harlow, Arizona State University, “The Burro Evil”: The Eradication of Feral Burros in Grand Canyon National Park Kerri Keller Clement, University of Colorado-Boulder, Game of Horsepower: Robert Yellowtail, Crow Horses, and Native American Power during the 1930s
Lightning Talks Katrin Boniface, University of California-Riverside, Distributive Preservation & Heritage Livestock
Environment, Power, and Injustice in Southern African Histories Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University-South Africa, The Animal in the Mirror – Baboons and the Politics of Power
Managing the Health of People and Animals Brian Tyrrell, University of California-Santa Barbara, Breeding the Bluegrass: A Political Ecology of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region
Elusive Beasts: Affective Encounters and the Politics of Representation Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University-South Africa, The Others – Animal Kinship and the Strangeness of Familiarity
Oct. 26-27, Salt Lake City. The University of Utah Department of History hosted a Tanner Lecture and O. Meredith Wilson Symposium on Human-Animal Interactions, where Marcy Norton gave a keynote address based on work in her forthcoming book on people and animals in the Atlantic World (under contract with Harvard University Press). Professor Norton used the case of dogs used by Spanish conquistadors to hunt and kill indigenous people to illustrate “modes of interaction” that influence the subjectivities attributed to individual animals, and which can shift between cultures or also within one culture. In the companion symposium, invited speakers included Iris Montero on the hummingbird in Mesoamerican culture; Bathsheba Demuth on sled-dogs in the Arctic North; and Kathryn Renton on horses in the Americas.
The discussion of wild versus domesticated animals should be of interest to the members of the EHC.It came up in Professor Norton on the circum-Caribbean indigenous concept of iegue in taming individual members of a wild species, versus the control over reproduction in domesticated animals common to European cultures. My discussion of the cimarrón or feral and stray horses that populated the Americas emphasized the semi-feral management of these same domesticated animals in Iberian husbandry techniques. The status of the “Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros” remains a contentious issue for ecologists and conservationists in the federal lands managed by National Parks and the Bureau of Land Management in the western U.S. I drove out to Baker, NV to spend two days observing the herd of horses in the Sulphur Springs Herd Management Area with Kathleen Hayden. The status of these animals as wildlife or domestic strays proves to be an important debate for how their populations should be managed.