Animal Transport and Pandemics Across the Mediterranean


Animal Transport and Pandemics Across the Mediterranean

Unloading camels at Port Augusta, c. 1893. One camel is being winched over the side of the ship, believed to be the steamer 'Bengal', while a number of Afghans watch on. Photo: Port Augusta Collection, State Library of South Australia, [B 68916]; cropped.

CERS lecture by Sarah Green (University of Helsinki, Finland, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology). Discussant: Bharat Venkat (UCLA Institute for Society & Genetics).

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (Pacific Time)
Zoom Webinar

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Live animals have been transported by people across the Mediterranean region for centuries. And there have been constant attempts to control and regulate those travels, not only for economic reasons (trade and taxes), but also to control the spread of disease and, more recently, attempts to control invasive species. Drawing on visits to different parts of the Mediterranean region to meet livestock traders, farmers, pastoralists, veterinarians, zoologists and other animal researchers, as well as local representatives of the World Organization for Animal Health, the lecture describes how the movement of animals across the Mediterranean involve different kinds of borders from the ones crossed by humans. By considering the logic by which animal transport is both organized and understood, the lecture focuses on how the people involved were regularly negotiating the difference between political borders and animal borders.

Sarah Green is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki. She has carried out fieldwork on the Greek-Albanian border, in southern Greece, in London and in Manchester, and is currently the leader of a five-year research project called Crosslocations: rethinking relative location in the Mediterranean. Her work for that project is the basis of this lecture. Across her career, she has focused on issues relating to anthropology of space, place, borders and location, whether the theme of the research was the politics of gender and sexuality (Urban Amazons, St Martins Press 1997), border politics (Notes from the Balkans, 2005) or a variety of other topics, such as the introduction of the internet to Manchester, the understanding of money and trade in the Aegean region, or, most recently, the spatial politics of the movement of animals and attempts to manage the spread of zoonotic disease across the Mediterranean region.

Bharat Jayram Venkat is an assistant professor at UCLA’s Institute for Society & Genetics. He has been conducting ethnographic and historical research in India since 2006 on issues related to science & medicine, temporality, ethics and design. He is currently at work on a series of new projects on urban design & heat waves, 3D printing & the remaking of the body, the reservoir concept, and financial planning for the apocalypse.

Cost : Free and open to the public. Registration is required at above link.

Sponsor(s): Center for European and Russian Studies, Center for Near Eastern Studies, Center for Social Theory and Comparative History