On March 5, 2020, acclaimed animal studies scholar,
Arthur J. Conner Professor of History, MIT, gave a keynote lecture at Syracuse University
titled, Hybridity, Breed, and Wildness. Her presentation kicked off an Environmental
Humanities symposium organized by professor
(geography). Professor Ritvo’s public lecture was organized as a part of the Landscape
Studies Interdisciplinary Faculty seminar sponsored by the
CUSE Grant Program.
SPEAKER: Harriet Ritvo
While maintaining pedigrees to guarantee purity, nineteenth-century animal breeders also occasionally attempted to achieve improvement through hybridization. The keepers of zoos and menageries similarly encouraged their charges to produce hybrid offspring. In both cases the resulting crosses complicated the understanding of formal categories including species and breed, as well as of vernacular categories such as wild and domesticated.