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John Dorst and Bailey Russel

Lion Tail

Capturing Animals at the Intersection of Art and Science: A Comparative, Humanities-based Examination of Animal Trapping Photography and Taxidermy

Funded Projects, February 2014

Researcher(s): John Dorst and Bailey Russel
Department(s): American Studies and Art

WIHR Research Presentation: Wednesday, April 15 at 4:00 p.m. in Classroom 215

Title: "Capturing Animals at the Boundary of the Humanities"

Cougar Cougar


Using the tools of fine art photography and ethnographic documentation, the principal participants will examine two forms of “animal capture,” each of which straddles the line between art and science.  Animal camera trapping and taxidermy share the goal of freezing wild creatures in the poses of their wildness. This project will look closely at these two forms of animal capture as examples of human artisanship.  Our two main tasks will be to assemble thorough records of these forms of human practice and, based on this documentation, to generate productive humanities thinking about how they construct relations between humans and non-human creatures.  Stated more philosophically, the overall goal of the project is to “capture” in a humanities frame the materiality of two human practices devoted to capturing animals.


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