by the Past & Present editorial team
Past & Present is delighted to learn that Prof. Alan S. Ross (University of Vienna) has been awarded the 2022 American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies (ASECS) James L. Clifford Prize for his article “The Animal Body as Medium: Taxidermy and European Expansion, 1775-1865” (Open Access) published in Past & Present No. 249 (November 2020).
In awarding the prize the ASECS praised Prof. Ross’s work stating:
“In a rich and wide-ranging essay, Professor Alan S. Ross applies insights from iconology, history of science, and art history to a highly original study of taxidermized animals. Demonstrating the deep entanglement of taxidermy with European allegorical traditions and colonial ventures, Ross explores the evolution of taxidermy and the ways it mirrored global interactions and interconnections. He shows how the taxidermic preservation and public display by Europeans of animals from faraway lands served as records of and justifications for imperialist expansion. Drawing on a prodigious quantity of research and using the key example of primates presented first at the London natural history cabinet of Ashton Lever and later at the Natural History Museum of Vienna, Ross provides a delightfully interdisciplinary analysis that draws in and surprises readers. This is a brilliant and engaging article that situates taxidermy as a fascinating starting point into new understandings of eighteenth-century culture more broadly.”
Our congradulations to Prof. Ross on his work being recognised in this way.