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Bestia incognita : the horse and its history in the Philippines 1880-1930

By G. Bankoff

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Animals and their histories outside of Europe and its off-shoot settler societies are effectively unknown except as far they constitute a source of exotic species with which to stock the cages of western zoos or to provide hapless victims to the rifles of imperial sportsmen. This paper is an attempt to redress this situation through an examination of the horse in the Philippines around the turn of the twentieth century. The horse's experience is reviewed from three standpoints: that of "activity" or what actually happened to it; that of "adaptability" or the way it changed in relation to events; and that of "agency" or the degree of influence it exerted on its surroundings. By affirming each of these factors to some extent, the horse in the Philippines (and by extension all animals in the non-western world) is shown to be not simply bestia incognita, an unknown brute without a past, but a significant actor in the history of its environment.

Date 2004
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 17
Issue 1
Pages 3-25
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Language English
Author Address School of Asian Studies, University of Auckland, Auckland, New
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adaptation
  2. Anthrozoology
  3. Archaeology
  4. ASEAN Countries
  5. Asia
  6. Developed countries
  7. Draft animals
  8. Exotic animals
  9. History
  10. Horses
  11. Human-animal relationships
  12. Introduced species
  13. Invertebrates
  14. Mammals
  15. Parasites
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. Philippines
  18. Protozoa
  19. Reviews
  20. traction animals
  21. Working animals
  1. peer-reviewed