THE LION'S HISTORIAN, Africa's animal past

: Swart (S.)

R 320.00
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376pp., b/w & colour illus., paperback, Johannesburg, 2023


"This book insists on a multi-species retelling of our more-than-human past, reconstructing a shifting series of significant inter-species relationships – from quirky idiosyncratic connections to those that triggered major changes in History itself. The book scours the archives to find both the real animal and the stories we have told about them for millennia. The animals in this book – elephants, hippos, okapi, lions, jackals, cows, sheep, horses, white ants, quagga, Nazi cattle, police dogs, and baboons – are chosen strategically to highlight different facets of our shared past. With this animal-centric lens, decades of research are brought together in a collection that takes animals seriously but in very different ways." Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study

"Drawing upon oral history, ethology and palaeontology, as well as a veritable Noah's Ark of animals from the okapi to the quagga, Swart compels us to recognise our shared predicament, Written with erudition verve and wit, this book makes an urgent and ethical call to our better selves. A tour de force!" Dilip Menon, Professor of History and International Relations , University of the Witwatersrand

Sandra Swart is Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Stellenbosch University. She is an editor of the Brill book series African and Asian Anthropocene: Studies in the Environmental Humanities, an editor of the South African Historical Journal, past President of the Southern African Historical Society, and current co-vice President of European Society for Environmental History. She is the co-author (with G. Bankoff) of Breeds of Empire: The ‘invention’ of the horse in the Philippines and Southern Africa, 1500-1950; co-editor (with L. van Sittert) of Canis Africanis: a dog history of southern Africa, and co-editor (with E. O’Gorman, M. Carey and W. San Martín) of The Routledge Handbook of Environmental History. She is sole author of Riding High – horses, humans and history in South Africa.