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Book launch “The Zebra’s Hoofbeats: Making Global Veterinary Histories”

The Descartes Centre is hosting the book launch of ‘A Concise History of Veterinary Medicine’ by Susan D. Jones (Distinguished McKnight University Professor University of Minnesota) and Peter A. Koolmees (Professor Emeritus Utrecht University and member Descartes Centre).

Date and time: Tuesday 1 November 2022 from 15:30-17:00h with drinks afterwards

Location: Sweelinckzaal (0.05), Drift 21, Utrecht

Book description

Scholars have called for “globalizing” histories of science, technology, and medicine. We present a case study — the history of animal healing and veterinary medicine (1500 – 2020) — in which we synthesize local histories within a world/global approach. From Ayurvedic texts to botanical medicines to genomics, our new book argues that ideas and expertise about veterinary healing have circulated between cultures through travel, trade, and conflict. The materialisms of animals, microbes, and other non-human actors have co-created these circulations and their histories. The presentation will also argue that global histories are not only academic. This is a handbook written for global English speakers: students (especially veterinary students) and interested readers around the world. (What about the “zebra’s hoofbeats?” Come to the presentation for the explanation!)


Susan D. Jones is Distinguished McKnight Professor in the Program for the History of Science and Technology; and the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. She holds a Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois, and A.B. from Harvard University/Radcliffe College. She practiced veterinary medicine for three years before starting her Ph.D. Her research areas include the history of zoonotic diseases and human-animal interactions; history of ecology and disease; and history of veterinary medicine. She is the author of several articles; and the books Valuing Animals:  Veterinarians and Their Patients in Modern America (Johns Hopkins 2003); Death in a Small Package: A Short History of Anthrax (Johns Hopkins 2010); and A Concise History of Veterinary Medicine (with P.A. Koolmees, Cambridge 2022). Her current research project is a history of endemic plague in animals and humans living in the Central Asian borderlands. Dr. Jones has held fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission; and she is an Elected Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science.

Peter Koolmees joined the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University (UU), the Netherlands in 1973. He became a BSc in zoology and histology. Since 1982 he has been heading the Section Food Microscopy of the Department of Veterinary Public Health and has published on meat hygiene, and meat microstructure. In 1990 he received an MA degree (Hons) in Social and Economic History from UU. He received a PhD from the same university in 1997. In June 2006 he obtained a chair at UU in “Veterinary medicine in historical and societal context”. He is a member of the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities (UU). Moreover, he has been senior lecturer in veterinary history, veterinary legislation, and veterinary public health at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Apart from his initial research on meat hygiene, he has published on veterinary history in general and on the history of veterinary public health in particular. He served as president in 2000-2004, and co-president in 2008-2014, of the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine. In 1999 he was awarded the George Sarton Medal from the University of Ghent (Belgium) for his contribution to the history of science. He retired in 2019.