Writing Radical Laboratory Animal Histories
AbstractIn recent years historians have called for a radical historicizing to broaden the perspectives, stories and actors that are usually made subjects of historical investigations. The appeals have mainly come from scholars that have been concerned with historicizing nature and human-nature relations. But what does radical historicizing entail and why do we need it? The article presents a reflexive review of current methods and perspectives in the social sciences and humanities that have affected my own engagement with the history of laboratory animals in Norway. It presents an argument for doing historiography that reflects contemporary scholarly concerns on representation. Rather than seeking to “give animals histories of their own” I propose that radical historicizing should include writing histories of the entanglement and disentanglement of humans and other things and beings. This does not then involve a shift to writing animal stories for the sake of animals, but to write stories where humans and animals are considered mutually shaped and affected by each other, and how these interactions have world-transforming effects.
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