November 14, 2014 Humanities Lecture Theatre, 303 Paterson Hall, from 1:00-2:30 pm.

This paper traces the history of the Przewalski’s Horse from the late nineteenth century to today. Scientifically described in 1881 and extinct in the wild a century later, the Przewalski’s Horse is now being reintroduced into reserves in China and Mongolia. The “restoration” of this horse to its “native” habitat is being touted as an example of what can be done through international cooperation (especially between zoos), careful scientific management, and enlightened conservation policy. In this paper, I raise two major questions: “What are Przewalski’s Horses?” and “What are these horses that are being reintroduced into ‘the wild’?”

Nigel Rothfels is a historian and scholar of animal studies. He is the author of Savages and Beasts: The Birth of the Modern Zoo (2002), a history of exotic animals in Europe in the late nineteenth century, the editor of the cross disciplinary collection, Representing Animals (2002), and co-editor, with Garry Marvin, of the book series Animalibus: Of Animals and Cultures with Penn State University Press. His forthcoming book Elephant House, a collaboration with the artist Dick Blau, studies the lives of elephants and keepers at an American zoo.