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Book Cover
Author Hobbins, Peter, author.

Title Venomous encounters : snakes, vivisection and scientific medicine in colonial Australia / Peter Hobbins
Edition MSI edition
Published Manchester, UK : Manchester University Press, 2017
Online access available from:
EBSCO eBook Academic Collection    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (216 pages) : illustrations (black and white); digital, PDF file(s)
Series Studies in imperialism
Studies in imperialism (Manchester, England)
Contents Introduction -- 1. Serpents and settlers: the colonial animal matrix, 1788-1840 -- 2. Vivisection in the pub: public spectacles and plebeian expertise, 1840-80 -- 3. Ontological conjunctions: dogs, snakes, venoms and germs, 1843-68 -- 4. 'In vivo veritas': the amoral ascent of colonial vivisection, 1868-76 -- 5. Legislators and other animals: foregrounding vivisection, 1876-95 -- 6. Immunology and indigeneity: species, serums and localisms, 1890-1914 -- Conclusion -- Index
Summary How do we know which snakes are dangerous? This seemingly simple question caused constant concern for the white settlers who colonised Australia after 1788. Facing a multitude of serpents in the bush, their fields and their homes, colonists wanted to know which were the harmful species and what to do when bitten. But who could provide this expertise? Liberally illustrated with period images, 'Venomous Encounters' argues that much of the knowledge about which snakes were deadly was created by observing snakebite in domesticated creatures, from dogs to cattle. Originally accidental, by the middle of the nineteenth century this process became deliberate. Doctors, naturalists and amateur antidote sellers all caused snakes to bite familiar creatures in order to demonstrate the effects of venom - and the often erratic impact of 'cures'. In exploring this culture of colonial vivisection, 'Venomous Encounters' asks fundamental questions about human-animal relationships and the nature of modern medicine
Venomous encounters presents a radically new view of the role of science and scientific methodology in the colonies. It explores the role of snakes, snakebite and snake venom in the emerging science of 19th-century Australia and India, the neglected significance of inter-colony exchanges and conflicts and the importance of vivisection to science
Notes In English
Print version record
Subject Poisonous snakes -- Venom -- Australia -- History
Venom -- Australia -- History
Vivisection -- Australia -- History
Animals & Society.
Animals & society -- Australasia -- Australasian & Pacific history.
Australasian & Pacific History.
Colonialism & Imperialism.
HISTORY / Australia & New Zealand
HISTORY -- Australia & New Zealand.
HISTORY -- General.
MEDICAL -- History.
Poisonous snakes -- Venom.
Australia -- History -- 1788-1900.
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
Author Manchester University Press, Publisher.
ISBN 1526106272