Fish out of Water: The “Prince of Whales” Sideshow and the Environmental Humanities

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Abstract

From 1880 to 1882, two impresarios toured the decaying body of a dead whale throughout the United States as a sideshow exhibition called the “Prince of Whales.” The dead whale show lay at the intersection of two important vectors in environmental humanities research: oceans and energy. This essay explores some of the epistemological and ontological problems posed by the whale show, demonstrating that methods and theories drawn from the history of the senses, media studies, and infrastructure studies can enrich the environmental humanities by offering new approaches to materiality and putrefaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-214
Number of pages26
JournalConfigurations
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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  • Research Output

    • 1 Special issue

    Putrefaction and the Ecologies of Life: Enter the Vulture

    Cole, L. (ed.), 2017, In : Configurations. 25, 2, p. 137-264

    Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

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