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By Pauline Wakeham

Taxidermy-the renovation, stuffing, and mounting of animal skins for realistic display-has been traced again over 4 centuries to imperial Europe. within the intervening centuries it has remained inextricably associated with the politics of colonial conquest, materializing Western fantasies of mastery over the wildlife and keep an eye on of unruly, “wild” bodies.


In Taxidermic symptoms, Pauline Wakeham decodes the perform of taxidermy because it used to be played in North the United States from the overdue 19th century to the current, revealing its connection to ecological and racial discourses essential to the upkeep of colonial energy. relocating past the literal perform of stuffing skins, Wakeham theorizes taxidermy as an indication approach that conflates “animality” and “aboriginality” inside of colonial narratives of extinction. via a chain of provocative case experiences, Wakeham demonstrates how the semiotics of taxidermy travels throughout varied cultural texts. From the reveal of animal specimens and aboriginal artifacts within the Banff Park Museum, to the ethnographic motion pictures of Edward S. Curtis and Marius Barbeau, to the fetishization of aboriginal is still within the Kennewick guy and Kwäday Dän Ts’inchi repatriation instances, Wakeham argues that taxidermy’s signal approach reinvents mythologies of disappearing natural world and vanishing Indians whereas concurrently valorizing the facility of Western applied sciences to memorialize those figures.


Seeking to destabilize the hierarchies of anthropocentric white supremacy, Wakeham offers an research of taxidermy as either a cloth perform and a symbolic approach foundational to colonial authority in North the US and nonetheless important to the upkeep of strength asymmetries today.


Pauline Wakeham is assistant professor of English on the college of Western Ontario.

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