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Metamorphoses of the Zoo: Animal Encounter after Noah (Toposophia: Sustainability, Dwelling, Design) [Kindle Edition]

Ralph R. Acampora , Helena Pedersen , Natalie Dian , Matthew Chrulew , Jennifer Wlech , Ralph Acampora , Nicole Mazur , Koen Margodt , Lisa Kemmerer , Bernard Rollin , Randy Malamud , Chilla Bulbeck , Leesa Fawcett , Traci Warkentin , David Lulka , Gay Bradshaw , Debra Durham
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Metamorphoses of the Zoo: Animal Encounter After Noah is a volume dedicated to radically transformative approaches to spaces set aside as zoological parks or gardens. Historically, these establishments served as symbols of power and venues for entertainment, but today, they have taken to portraying themselves as flagships of environmental education, scientific research, and wildlife conservation. Along with the past century's turn in exhibition design toward increasingly naturalistic architecture, such portrayals have been received by many in an uncritically positive light. At the same time, it remains clear that zoos are immensely popular attractions, drawing hundreds of millions of visitors globally per year. This level of participation is consistent with the suggestion that humans harbor a strong sense of biophilia, one which moves them to seek out diverse life-forms when their own territories become too biologically homogenous; from such a vantage, it is no accident that zoos are most often situated in urban(izing) areas. Metamorphoses of the Zoo emphasizes creative and reconstructive analyses of zoos that do not simply advocate marginal reform or quick abolition. By focusing on issues such as interspecies progress and eco-psychological health, this unique collection will satisfy those in disciplines ranging from ecophilosophy to humanistic psychology to environmental studies.

Editorial Reviews


The purposes of zoos have been intensely scrutinized in recent decades. Conservation and education are the most commonly given reasons; however, simple entertainment is all too often their actual function. Where others have argued for the improvement of zoos by providing more natural enclosures and enrichment opportunities for animals, this volume questions the very existence of zoos. The work often has a very obvious animal rights perspective. Chapter contributors are generally philosophers and geographers. They make quite thought-provoking and compelling arguments. They document very well some of the pressing ethical concerns associated with keeping animals in captivity, as well as suggesting alternatives to zoos....Useful for presenting an alternative... viewpoint. Summing Up: Recommended. (CHOICE)

[Metamorphoses of the Zoo: Animal Encounter after Noah] twelve chapters (plus an afterword) are remarkably diverse in voice and content, ranging from scientific contestation of the actual role of zoos in conservation and of prevailing inhumane practices to a phenomenological exploration of new relationships we might develop with both captive and wild animals, to creative proposals for radically altering if not upending the human subject/nonhuman object presumption that underlines the typical zoo encounter. ... [A] good read. . . , one that exercises the mind with respect to alternative possibilities. (Environmental Ethics)

This diverse collection takes reflections on zoos to new and interesting places. It is a welcome contribution to the growing literature on animal studies. (Dale Jamieson, Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy, New York University)

Zoos, and the ways in which their non-consenting confined residents are kept, raise important questions about how these animals should be treated. This impressive collection of essays is a significant contribution to the growing global concern about the well-being of animals in zoos, dealing with many important questions, such as whether zoos should exist at all and what possible educational benefits can be derived from zoos. (Marc Bekoff, author of Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence)

About the Author

Ralph R. Acampora is associate professor at Hofstra University. He has previously authored Corporal Compassion: Animal Ethics and Philosophy of Body and co-edited A Nietzchean Bestiary: Becoming Animal Beyond Docile and Brutal with Christa Davis Acampora.

Product Details

  • File Size: 946 KB
  • Print Length: 281 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 073913454X
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (June 14, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,168,200 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another anti-zoo diatribe May 15, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm sorry I bought this book, I was hoping that it would provide some ideas about new ways of providing interaction between humans and other animals, but find it is just another anti zoo diatribe, and not a very good one at that. The book is a collection of essays by a variety of authors.

It trots out all the old arguments and miss-representations. For instance we are told it costs $11,000 per year to keep a rhino in an American zoo, and only $1,000 to keep it alive in the wild in Africa. Well the maths is obvious isn't it? Except that if there were no rhinos in American zoos the $11,000 would not be available for African conservation, it would be spent on movie tickets, happy meals, or, for that part that comes from governments, slink back into consolidated revenue. It also ignores the fact that zoos are major funders and initiators of in-situ conservation.

We are treated to an essay that tries to suggest that zoos originate from our masculine desire to dominate. We view a matrix that has Germaine Greer and cats in the feminine column contrasting with Steve Irwin and dingoes in the masculine. Apparently Australian conservation efforts to restrict the ravages of feral cats are caused by our masculine side, which also results in us leaving dingoes alone. Apart from wondering what column cane toads go into, this is absurd. Dingoes are an introduced species but they did their damage 6,000 years ago. Cats are doing damage today, along with apparently gender-neutral foxes, starlings, carp, crown-of-thorn starfish, and a host of other invasive species that Australian conservationist of both sexes work against.

We are also meant to be horrified at the thought of rabbits being bred and humanely killed to feed carnivores in a zoo.
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