[SydPhil] HPS Seminar in conjunction with University of Melbourne

Debbie Castle debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au
Tue Sep 7 09:55:36 AEST 2021

Dear All
The School of Historical and Philosophical Studies  University of Melbourne in conjunction with the School of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney presents the following zoom seminar.
Between the European zoo and the Australian bush: Solving the riddle of the kangaroo birth (1826-1926)
Oliver Hochadel (Institución Milá y Fontanals de Investigación en Humanidades, Barcelona)
5 pm (AEST) Wednesday 15 September
Zoom link:
Password: 883037
How do kangaroos actually give birth? Or asked differently: how does the little joey get into the pouch? This question was much discussed by naturalists in Europe, Australia and beyond between 1826, when Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire raised the issue in a paper, and 1926, when Ellis Troughton published a “definite” account of the debate.
In its first part this paper will look at the research conducted at the European zoo. The advent of kangaroos to Europe since around 1790 made it possible, at least in principle, to tackle the riddle through observation. In the early 1830s Richard Owen enlisted the London zoo to devise a research program. He claimed that the mother put the tiny embryo into the pouch using her lips. Naturalists in other European zoos were eager to confirm Owen’s hypothesis.
In its second part this paper will contrast the European zoo-based investigations with the observations made by zoo directors, naturalists, hunters and farmers in Australia. Around 1900 the riddle of the kangaroo birth had become a question much debated in the Australian public sphere. A new theory proposed by August Goerling claimed that the joey travelled by itself into the pouch.
The riddle of the kangaroo birth allows to address a number of overarching questions: How were observations validated in different sites such as the zoo and the bush? How did the information on kangaroo reproduction circulate (or not) between different continents? What were the epistemological hierarchies between metropolitan and colonial science and how did they affect the production of knowledge?
Oliver Hochadel is a historian of science and since 2012 a tenured researcher at the Institució Milà i Fontanals for research in the humanities (CSIC, Barcelona). Most recently he worked on the urban history of science and would like to write a global history of zoos in the long nineteenth century.
Secretary, Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (AAHPSSS):  https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/4ZUnCOMKzVTp6W72qCvjF_s?domain=aahpsss.net.au<https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/4ZUnCOMKzVTp6W72qCvjF_s?domain=aahpsss.net.au>

Martin Bush | Research Fellow | PhD
School of Historical and Philosophical Studies | Faculty of Arts
Room 611, Level 6, West Wing, Professors Walk, Arts West (Building 148)
The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
M: +61 4 1716 0009  E: martin.bush at unimelb.edu.au<mailto:martin.bush at unimelb.edu.au>

I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which I work, and pay my respects to the Elders, past and present.


CRICOS: 00116K
This email and any attachments may contain personal information or information that is otherwise confidential or the subject of copyright. Any use, disclosure or copying of any part of it is prohibited. The University does not warrant that this email or any attachments are free from viruses or defects. Please check any attachments for viruses and defects before opening them. If this email is received in error, please delete it and notify us by return email.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman.sydney.edu.au/pipermail/sydphil/attachments/20210906/b027245f/attachment-0001.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: image001.png
Type: image/png
Size: 10693 bytes
Desc: image001.png
URL: <http://mailman.sydney.edu.au/pipermail/sydphil/attachments/20210906/b027245f/attachment-0001.png>

More information about the SydPhil mailing list