The Hunter’s Gaze: Charles Darwin and the Role of Dogs and Sport in Nineteenth Century Natural History

This is the title of a recent dissertation, by David Allen Feller, at the University of Cambridge. It was reviewed at Dissertation Reviews, here:

This dissertation is an exciting contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century science. Its emphasis on specific cultural factors in the process of discovery, the propagation and persuasiveness of ideas, is very valuable, quite beyond its interest to scholars of Darwin. Feller’s emphasis on the importance of scientists sharing space with animals, not just using them to understand the world, but collaborating with them in that understanding, is equally novel and important. In considering how Darwin worked not only with ‘the dog’ as a species, in all its variety, but also with dogs as individuals, Feller shows how a different kind of history of science might be imagined and written. This is an excellent thesis, and highly recommended.

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