Article ID: CBB296727781

A ‘Monster with Human Visage’: The Orangutan, Savagery, and the Borders of Humanity in the Global Enlightenment (2019)


To what extent did the debate on the orangutan contribute to the global Enlightenment? This article focuses on the first 150 years of the introduction, dissection, and public exposition of the so-called ‘orangutan’ in Europe, between the 1630s, when the first specimens arrived in the Netherlands, and the 1770s, when the British debate about slavery and abolitionism reframed the boundaries between the human and animal kingdoms. Physicians, natural historians, antiquarians, philosophers, geographers, lawyers, and merchants all contributed to the knowledge of the orangutan, while also reshaping the boundaries of humanity: when the human/animal divide narrowed, the divide between ‘savage’ and ‘civilized’ peoples crystallized, becoming wider than in any previous period.

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Article Bruce Buchan; Linda Andersson Burnett (2019) Knowing Savagery: Humanity in the Circuits of Colonial Knowledge. History of the Human Sciences (pp. 3-7). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
MacLeod, Roy M.
Pimentel, Juan
McClellan, James E., III
Regourd, François
Sörlin, Sverker
Elena, Alberto
Intellectual History Review
Dynamis: Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam
Central European History
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Journal of the History of Ideas
History of the Human Sciences
Univ. Chicago Press
Università degli Studi
Harvard University Press
Aarhus Universitetsforlag
Natural history
Definition of human; human nature
Spain, colonies
Great Britain, colonies
Smellie, William
Buffon, Georges Louis Leclerc de
Condillac, Étienne Bonnot de
Meiners, Christoph
Pliny, the elder
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
17th century
16th century
Latin America

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