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Mr Jules Skotnes-Brown

Mr Jules Skotnes-Brown

Research Fellow

Researcher profile



Research areas

Jules Skotnes-Brown is a historian of science. His research connects histories of animals, disease, knowledge production, and colonialism in the nineteeth and twentieth centuries. He is currently a Research Fellow in the History of Rat Proofing working on the Wellcome Trust funded project 'The Global War Against the Rat and the Epistemic Emergence of Zoonosis'. Here he will be investigating entangled histories of rodents, pestilence, zoonosis, space and architecture in a cross-comparative framework between South Africa, British India, the USA, and Argentina in the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century.

Jules's PhD, completed at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge (2017-2020) charted the construction of physical and conceptual boundaries between human and animal, wild and domestic, protected and pest, and the consequences of crossing such boundaries in South Africa (1910s-1940s). With case studies spanning elephants, birdlife, tsetse-flies, and wild-rodents, it examined how wildlife was commodified, categorised, conserved, or exterminated on rural inner-frontiers, and how spheres of ?nature? and ?civilisation? were constructed and reconciled. In particular, it emphasised how forms of knowledge typically considered outside of science such as African expertise intermingled with the sciences, but necessarily complicated the boundaries between them. Likewise, it demonstrated the influence of nonhuman agents in the sciences and on the environment, without de-emphasising the destructive and dehumanising role played by European humans in southern African history.

Selected publications


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