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Episode 206: Taylor Culbert Pt 1: A 17th Century View of Animals

Taylor Culbert is a PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). She is writing her dissertation on 17th century animal performances in Europe, looking specifically at how cultural narratives about animals shaped the ways that humans and animals responded to one another.

When she isn't writing, Taylor works part-time training horses at a rescue in upstate NY. Taylor is enrolled in my on-line clinics so I’ve been getting to know her. I asked recently what her PhD dissertation is on and was so intrigued by her answer, I knew I wanted to learn more, so I invited her to join us for an afternoon’s conversation.

We began with stag hunts and some surprising revelations about animal intelligence. It’s a conversation with interesting twists and turns. We enter a time warp between 17th century Europe and our current time which prompts Dominique to share stories about Cavalia, the theater company she co-founded that brought horses, acrobats, and other artists together in performance.

Taylor mentions several references during our conversation. Below are the links to them:

"The Accomodated Animal" by Laurie Shannon (talks about "birds and beasts and fish" vs human/animal binary)

"Birds and Other Creatures in Renaissance Literature" by Rebecca Ann Back (talks about animals having morality/emotions and the role that Descartes played - or didn't - in early modern understandings of animals)

"La Vénerie de Jacques Du Fouilloux" This is a link to a freely available digital copy of an early edition of one of the hunting manuals that Taylor is writing about.

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