Animals and Imperialism: Recent Historiographical Trends


Correspondence: Department of History, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA. Email:


In the last decade or so, an increasing number of historians have written about the relationship between animals and imperialism. Their work builds on pioneering scholarship by environmental historian Alfred Crosby and cultural historians Harriet Ritvo and John MacKenzie, among others. Recent writing on animals and imperialism, influenced by wider trends in animal studies and history, has taken this topic in new directions. Namely, history writing on animals and imperialism has become more concerned with actual animals and their relationship with people, the metaphorical deployment of creatures, animal agency, and sources that give voice to animals. Work on animals and imperialism will likely benefit from becoming less Western-centric and more transnational and transimperial.