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Animals through Chinese History
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Book description

This volume opens a door into the rich history of animals in China. As environmental historians turn their attention to expanded chronologies of natural change, something new can be said about human history through animals and about the globally diverse cultural and historical dynamics that have led to perceptions of animals as wild or cultures as civilized. This innovative collection of essays spanning Chinese history reveals how relations between past and present, lived and literary reality, have been central to how information about animals and the natural world has been processed and evaluated in China. Drawing on an extensive array of primary sources, ranging from ritual texts to poetry to veterinary science, this volume explores developments in the human-animal relationship through Chinese history and the ways in which the Chinese have thought about the world with and through animals. This title is also available as Open Access.


‘This thoughtfully edited collection offers rich and varied work by an interdisciplinary community of scholars thinking with and about animals over the longue durée of Chinese history. The volume demonstrates the value of ranging broadly across region, time period, and source, and readers will find exciting new work on animals in agronomy, ritual practices, consumption of all sorts, literature, ethics, material culture, and much more.'

Carla Nappi - University of British Columbia

‘This thought-provoking collection represents both the cutting edge of animal studies and a necessary foundation for future scholarship. It reveals the profound material and symbolic influence of animals on state and society, and offers fresh insights into the impacts of four thousand years of human activity on zoological China.'

Sigrid Schmalzer - University of Massachusetts, Amherst

‘Animals through Chinese History is a major contribution to Chinese, as well as animal studies. Bringing together leading experts, it explores the changing attitudes towards given species, and the animal world at large, across Chinese history. This rich volume is a must read for anyone interested in Chinese conceptions of nature no less than the global history of the human interaction with non-human animals.'

Meir Shahar - Tel Aviv University

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