Imperial Creatures

Humans and Other Animals in Colonial Singapore, 1819-1942

Timothy P. Barnard

Imperial Creatures

Timothy P. Barnard

Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

336 pages | 23 halftones, 2 maps, 2 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2019
Paper $34.00 ISBN: 9789813250871 Published November 2019 For sale in North and South America and China only
One of the areas of fastest-growing interest in the humanities and social sciences in recent years has been the history of animals. Imperial Creatures fills a gap in that field by looking across species at animals in a urban colonial setting. If imperialism is a series of power relationships, Timothy P. Barnard argues, then it necessarily involves not only the subjugation of human communities, but also of animals. What was the relationship between those two processes in colonial Singapore? How did interactions with animals enable changes in interactions between people?

Through a multidisciplinary consideration of fauna, Imperial Creatures weaves together a series of tales to document how animals were cherished, monitored, employed, and slaughtered in a colonial society. All animals, including humans, Barnard shows, have been creatures of imperialism in Singapore. Their stories teach us lessons about the structures that upheld such a society and how it developed over time, lessons of relevance to animal historians, to historians of Singapore, and to urban historians and imperial historians with an interest in environmental themes.
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