Read Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums by Stephen T. Asma Free Online
Book Title: Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums|
The author of the book: Stephen T. Asma
Edition: Oxford University Press, USA
Date of issue: April 5th 2001
ISBN 13: 9780195130508
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 481 KB
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Reader ratings: 7.6
Read full description of the books:
The natural history museum is a place where the line between "high" and "low" culture effectively vanishes--where our awe of nature, our taste for the bizarre, and our thirst for knowledge all blend happily together. But as Stephen Asma shows in Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads, there is more going on in these great institutions than just smart fun.
Asma takes us on a wide-ranging tour of natural history museums in New York and Chicago, London and Paris, interviewing curators, scientists, and exhibit designers, and providing a wealth of fascinating observations. We learn how the first museums were little more than high-toned side shows, with such garish exhibits as the pickled head of Peter the Great's lover. In contrast, today's museums are hot-beds of serious science, funding major research in such fields as anthropology and archaeology. Asma also points out that these museums actively shape our perception of nature, and that these efforts are swayed as much by politics as by science. In countless exhibits, for instance, the idea of the traditional nuclear family is evident in displays of everything from extinct animals to grizzly bears (in nature, alas, the male bear is more likely to devour its young than to nurture them).
Where else but at a natural history museum could you find a T. rex, a high-tech planetarium, a Native American totem pole, and flesh-eating beetles--all under one roof. And in Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads, Stephen Asma reveals that what we don't see--the scientific research that is going on backstage--is just as fascinating as the exhibits on display.
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Read information about the authorStephen T. Asma is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago, where he holds the title of Distinguished Scholar.
He is the author of "Against Fairness" (University of Chicago Press).
In 2003, he was Visiting Professor at the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. There he taught "Buddhist Philosophy" as part of their pilot Graduate Program in Buddhist Studies. His book, entitled The Gods Drink Whiskey: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment in the Land of the Tattered Buddha (HarperOne, 2005) explores the Theravada Buddhism of the region. He has also traveled and studied in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Mainland China – eventually living in Shanghai China in 2005.
Asma is the author of several books: "Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums" (Oxford University Press, 2001), "Following Form and Function" (Northwestern Univ. Press, 1996), and "Buddha for Beginners" (Hampton Roads, 2008). He has written many articles on a broad range of topics that bridge the humanities and sciences, including “Against Transcendentalism” in the book _Monty Python and Philosophy_ (Opencourt Press, 2006) and “Dinosaurs on the Ark: Natural History and the New Creation Museum” in _The Chronicle of Higher Education_ (May, 2007). He has also written for the _Chicago Tribune_, _In These Times_ magazine, the _Skeptical Inquirer_, the _Chronicle Review_, _Skeptic magazine_, and Chicago Public Radio's news-magazine show _Eight-Forty-Eight_.
His wide-ranging natural history of monsters was published by Oxford University Press in 2009. In this book, titled "On Monsters," Asma tours Western culture's worst nightmares. And his book "Why I Am a Buddhist" was published by Hampton Roads Publishing in 2009.