Transnational zoographies : colonial goods, taxidermy, and other repercussions

  • Informed by scholarship on systems of ethnography, on animal studies as well as on German (post)colonialism, this article argues thus principally that Brehm's increasingly popular tales of exotic locales, soon included in high circulation magazines such as "Die Gartenlaube", in the end stand out not so much for their cultural engagement and educational-formative representation of human Otherness and difference. Instead, what makes Brehm's works most remarkable is their simultaneous and until now unnoticed popularization of non-human animals - both exotic and domestic - as part of a discursive formation of 'Germanness' and a European self-understanding. This article highlights in this context the extent in which readers find themselves wondering, given the sheer abundance of animal observations alongside a pervasive absence of humans, whether Brehm's travels constitute a failed foray into ethnography; or whether he intentionally shifted the narrative emphasis from humans to animals in order to strategically stage his explorations as a preparatory text for audiences of his later animals tales. What will ultimately be revealed in place of such seeming opposites is how the modes of perception of a German audience for both Brehm's human and animal subjects were affected through his works by almost interchangeable modes of ethnographic and zoographic representation. As a result, Brehm's works raise central questions about the synchronic and diachronic reception of his views on animals as humans and vice versa, all of which culminated in a distinct sense of superiority shared by Brehm and a receptive German audience. What impact this perception may then have had on ensuing German discourses on race, nation, and colonial expansion will be a final consideration of this article as it looks at Brehm's contemporary relevance in widely publicized events in Germany and the United States.

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Author:Arne Koch
Parent Title (German):Jahrbuch / FVF, Forum Vormärz Forschung
Publisher:Aisthesis Verlag
Place of publication:Bielefeld
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2012
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Contributing Corporation:Forum Vormärz Forschung
Release Date:2020/07/01
Tag:Brehm, Alfred Edmund: Reiseskizzen aus Nord-Ost-Afrika
GND Keyword:Brehm, Alfred Edmund; Tierleben; Ethnologie; Zoologie; Anthropomorphismus; Das Andere
Page Number:21
First Page:268
Last Page:288
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 83 Deutsche und verwandte Literaturen / 830 Literaturen germanischer Sprachen; Deutsche Literatur
Sammlungen:Germanistik / GiNDok
CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft / Aisthesis Verlag
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:Jahrbuch / FVF, Forum Vormärz Forschung / Jahrbuch / FVF, Forum Vormärz Forschung - 17.2011
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht