Animals and the Home Conference

Institute of Historical Research on Wednesday May 1st 2019.

Elle People and Pets (2)

The ‘Animals and the Home’ conference will explore the relationship between animals, humans and the home in diverse forms. The study of the home is an important area in geography, history and anthropology but, as some animal studies scholars have remarked, animals figure in it infrequently. Animal presence is rarely mentioned in studies of idealised homes, domestic practices or family relationships. In recent decades studies of human-animal relationships have also developed and diversified, and a large body of scholarship now explores animal-human histories. While the cultural, economic and social significance of pet animals has been an important theme in this literature, discussions of these animals are sometimes abstract and removed from the everyday spaces and places they inhabited. Less attention has also been paid to the role of utility animals and household pests. This conference aims to bring home and animals together – thinking about the relationship between animals and ideas and emotional understandings of home, but also home as a lived experience.

Podcasts of the papers presented at the conference can be found online at:


Arrival from 9:15.

9:25-9:30 – Introduction and Welcome by Jane Hamlett and Julie-Marie Strange

9:30-10:30 – Panel One: Animals at the Boundaries

Where does the horse live? The space of animal-human relations in medieval Iceland. Harriet-Jean Evans, University of York.

The Wolf at the Door and the Dog at our Feet. Laura D. Gelfand, Utah State University.

10:30 11:00 – Break

11:00-12:00 – Panel Two: Indoor Pets

Cuckoos in the Nest or Furbabies?: Defining Lapdogs as Family Members in the Long Eighteenth Century. Stephanie Howard- Smith, University of York.

Cats Make It Home. Feline Presence and Symbolism in the Homes of the European Past. Barbora Hunčovská, Charles University, Prague.

12:00-13:00Keynote: ‘Ordinary Cats and Ordinary People in Nineteenth-Century Britain’, Hilda Kean, University College London.

13:00-14:00 – Lunch

14:00-15:00 – Panel three: Animals and Domestic Interiors

‘Taxidermy, Animal Capital and the Victorian Domestic Interior’. Karen Jones, University of Kent.

Domestic Intimacies: Depictions of pet animals at home. Julia Schlosser

 15:00-15:30 – Break

15:30-16:30 – Panel Four: Making Domesticity and Home

Sharing the Sioux Space: Animals and the Great Sioux Reservation in Zitkala-Ša’s Old Indian Legends (1901). Emma Barnes, University of Salford.

Cats and Dogs as Family Members. Practices of Multispecies Domesticity in Finland since the late 19th Century. Nora Schuurman and Taina Syrjämaa, University of Turku, Finland.

16:30-17:00 – Closing Remarks

17:00 onwards – Please do join us for a post-conference drink as we retire to a local pub!