Zooland: The Institution of Captivity

Zooland: The Institution of Captivity

Paperback Cultural Lives of Law

By (author) Irus Braverman

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  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 280 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 226mm x 16mm | 408g
  • Publication date: 28 November 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Palo Alto
  • ISBN 10: 0804783586
  • ISBN 13: 9780804783583
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, figures
  • Sales rank: 645,240

Product description

This book takes a unique stance on a controversial topic: zoos. Zoos have their ardent supporters and their vocal detractors. And while we all have opinions on what zoos do, few people consider how they do it. Irus Braverman draws on more than seventy interviews conducted with zoo managers and administrators, as well as animal activists, to offer a glimpse into the otherwise unknown complexities of zooland. Zooland begins and ends with the story of Timmy, the oldest male gorilla in North America, to illustrate the dramatic transformations of zoos since the 1970s. Over these decades, modern zoos have transformed themselves from places created largely for entertainment to globally connected institutions that emphasize care through conservation and education. Zoos naturalize their spaces, classify their animals, and produce spectacular experiences for their human visitors. Zoos name, register, track, and allocate their animals in global databases. Zoos both abide by and create laws and industry standards that govern their captive animals. Finally, zoos intensely govern the reproduction of captive animals, carefully calculating the life and death of these animals, deciding which of them will be sustained and which will expire. Zooland takes readers behind the exhibits into the world of zoo animals and their caretakers. And in so doing, it turns its gaze back on us to make surprising interconnections between our understandings of the human and the nonhuman.

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Author information

Irus Braverman is Associate Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Geography at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She is the author of "Planted Flags: Trees, Land, and Law in Israel/Palestine" (2009).

Review quote

"[Zooland] builds a thorough depiction of the history and contemporary work and goals of zoos and explores the nature of wildness, care, and power by interviewing zoo professionals, animal rights activists, and others, as well as diving into a wide range of legal and scholarly literature from fields as diverse as geography, sociology, animal sciences, and philosophy." - J. R. Page, CHOICE "[Zooland] gives a glimpse of zoos, in the same way that zoos give a glimpse of nature: a quick look behind the scenes, at a slightly upward angle, inspiring respect." - Daniel Engber, Slate Magazine "Zoos can provide a valuable service to society, but the pursuit of profit has their own drawbacks. Zooland: The Institution of Captivity explores the modern state of the zoo, as forces within the community paint two very different pictures: the zoo has a preserver and educator on the topic of wildlife, and zoo as the carnival, exploiting animals for profit. With sixty interviews with many people voicing their ideas on the topic, Zooland is scholarly and much recommended addition to any wildlife and social issues collection." - Midwest Book Review "Irus Braverman has written a wonderful monograph that explores the operation of zoos - institutions that manage to be utterly familiar while retaining an aura of mystery. It will undoubtedly be a popular addition to many academic disciplines." - Kevin D. Haggerty, Surveillance and Society "Irus Braverman has written a very important book about zoos. Her Zooland: The Institution of Captivity is a penetrating and insightful study of the business of zoos. It will serve as a basic reference and should be in the personal library of everyone interested in zoos." - Buffalo News