War Horses Conference @ SOAS 2014
THIS EVENT IS ARCHIVED
Date: 3 May 2014Time: 10:00 AM
Finishes: 4 May 2014Time: 6:00 PM
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT)
Type of Event: Conference
Conference Programme for
“WAR HORSES OF THE WORLD”
War Horses of the World Conference Trailer
[Our next conference on this topic is planned for 2017.]
Saturday 3 May - 10.00am to 5.00pm
Abstracts in Alphabetical Order of Authors
- Faith Burden [Donkey Sanctuary]
- Charlotte Carrington [Roger Williams University]
- William G. Clarence-Smith [SOAS, University of London]
- Janet M. Davis [University of Texas at Austin]
- Peter Edwards [University of Roehampton]
- Ed Emery [SOAS]
- Karen Jones [University of Kent ]
- Monica Mattfeld [University of Kent]
- Andrew McEwen [University of Calgary]
- Tatsuya Mitsuda [Keio University, Japan]
- Aaron Skabelund [Brigham Young University]
- Onur Usta [University of Birmingham]
- Veronika Veit [University of Bonn]
Of mules and men: challenging relationships in WW1
Together with the millions of horses employed by Allied troops in WW1 were mules. As horse losses mounted many mules were purchased, frequently from far away, arriving by ship to end up in the mud-filled trenches with handlers often ill-equipped to care for them. The introduction of British troops to mules must have been a challenge, as mules were not widely appreciated or used in the UK. A mule is not a horse, and to work successfully with them required a different attitude. A less developed flight response made them hard to drive on, and impossible cavalry mounts; a highly developed fight response made them quick and dangerous adversaries when faced with ill treatment. It was oft stated that there were two types of mule men; those that learnt to work considerately with them and those that ended up in the field hospital!
Understanding of the mule and its unique attributes and character developed and they became firm favourites with many troops who relied upon them to carry their most precious cargo in their calm and enduring way. The relationship between this unique equine and their handlers in WW1 will be examined through the eyes of mule and man.
Faith Burden is Head of Research at The Donkey Sanctuary – the world’s largest charity dedicated to working with donkeys and mules both in the UK and internationally. Faith has published extensively on the care and welfare of donkeys and their hybrids and oversees Donkey Sanctuary supported and funded research programmes to improve our knowledge of all things ‘long ears’. She has a personal passion for mules with a lifelong admiration of these unique equid hybrids and is lucky enough to share her life with two mules that constantly provide inspiration and daily insight in to the human-animal bond.
Slave Horse/War Horse: The Narragansett Pacer in Colonial and Revolutionary Rhode Island
Charlotte Carrington - Slave Horse/War Horse: The Narragansett Pacer in Colonial and Revolutionary Rhode Island
This paper will examine how horses and the horse trade fit within the story of warfare in seventeenth and eighteenth-century America. This paper, which is part of a wider book project on horses throughout the Atlantic World, will focus specifically on the Narragansett Pacers. Horses started to appear in New England in 1629, when Francis Higginson shipped approximately 25 mares and stallions from Leicestershire, England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. From this stock, the first horses made their way to Rhode Island less than a decade later. The Narragansett Pacer was a mixture of the Dutch, Irish, and English breeds. The Pacer was a fairly small horse, and its easy gate led to it being used both for long distance travel and racing. Furthermore, the Pacer was the first “truly” American breed of horse. The horses were raised on plantations in Rhode Island, and often cared for by slaves. In addition, the account books and letters of Brown family of Providence reveal that the Pacer was at the heart of the transatlantic slave trade. Pacers were exported to Cuba, Barbados and the West Indies. From such promising beginnings, the Pacer was extinct by the next century. The paper will examine the where the Pacer fits within the story of Colonial Wars between European Empires and the build up to the American Revolution. Rumours abound not only that George Washington rode Pacers, but also that Paul Revere did too on his famed midnight ride. Whilst considering these celebrated and revered roles, the paper will consider why and how the Pacers continued to be shipped primarily to Surinam as revolution and war brewed in America.
Charlotte Carrington is an Assistant Professor of History at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI, USA, and she specialises in early American History. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (Trinity Hall) in 2010. Her dissertation was entitled ‘Dissent and Identity in Seventeenth-Century New England,’ and is now a book project entitled 'Vice in the Land of Canaan: Crime and Dissent in "Puritan" New England.' Charlotte is particularly interested in Thomas Morton, who founded the Ma-re Mount settlement (modern-day Quincy, MA), and she has written a biography of Morton for a book entitled Atlantic Lives: Biographies that Cross the Ocean (Brill, 2013). Her new research project considers horses in the Atlantic World and has the provisional title of: ‘Slave Horse: The Narragansett Pacer in Rhode Island and the Atlantic World.’
Animal power as a factor in Ottoman military decline, 1683-1918
William G. Clarence-Smith - Animal power as a factor in Ottoman military decline, 1683-1918
Historians have neglected access to animals as a factor in Ottoman military decline. Small Hungarian horses fell to Austria in 1699, and Crimean ones to Russia in 1783, while Romania became independent in 1878. Small Syrian-Iraqi Arab horses were sensitive to cold. Many large Türkmen horses were lost to Persia, although eastern Anatolia had some. Carthorses were absent. The Ottomans gradually lost control of Christian mule-breeders, in the Peloponnese in 1832, in Cyprus in 1878, and the in the Balkan massif from 1881 to 1913. Muslim mule-breeding was forbidden by hadiths, and Muslims flouting these hadiths were largely under Persian rule. Light cavalry was significant to the end of World War I. Small horses bore mounted infantry, together with mules, large riding donkeys, and camels. Heavy cavalry was in terminal decline, but large agile horses drew mobile rapid-firing field artillery. Deployment of heavy guns was hampered by reliance on water buffaloes and oxen. Mountain batteries of dismantled ‘screw guns’, from the 1860s, relied on mules. The Ottoman baggage train failed to standardise around the mule, and railways only mitigated the challenge. The Ottomans faced further difficulties in providing fodder and veterinary care.
William Gervase Clarence-Smith is Professor of the Economic History of Asia and Africa at SOAS, University of London, and chief editor of the Journal of Global History (LSE and Cambridge University Press). He has published on the history of horses, mules, donkeys, camels, elephants, and bovids around the world, as traded commodities, military beasts, sporting champions, sources of symbolic power, origins of food and raw materials, transport animals, movers of agricultural and proto-industrial machinery, and bearers of disease. He is currently undertaking research for a global history of mules since circa 1400.
“Where Gasoline Can’t Go”: Equine patriotism and the American Red Star Animal Relief Campaign during World War I
Janet M. Davis - “Where Gasoline Can’t Go”: Equine Patriotism and the American Red Star Animal Relief Campaign during World War I
In 1916, the American Humane Association launched the Red Star Animal Relief to provide food and veterinary care for millions of Allied horses called into military service during World War I. American animal welfare publications regaled readers with stories of heroic horses who successfully navigated impenetrable mud, rock, and bombed out craters: “where gasoline can’t go”. Some accounts focused on individual equine bravery; for example, a former German circus horse rescued a paralyzed French soldier by gently picking him up by his waist belt and carrying him safely to Allied lines. Collectively, these stories made an urgent plea for the continued value of the horse in a motorized world that threatened to render horsepower obsolete. Although World War I prompted a temporary rise in horse sales, overall prices dropped precipitously during the 1910s and beyond: hard-hit owners opted to slaughter excess horses instead of paying for their expensive upkeep. Overall, this paper will explore the ways in which American animal welfare groups propagandized equine military service into a patriotic call for equine rights, deploying the language of marginalized ethnic and racial groups who used their military service to validate their demands for the rights of full citizenship.
Professor Davis is Associate Professor of American Studies, History, and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of The Gospel of Kindness: Animal Welfare and the Making of Modern America, (Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2015). She is also the author of The Circus Age: Culture and Society under the American Big Top (2002), and the editor of Circus Queen and Tinker Bell: The Life of Tiny Kline (2008), by Tiny Kline. Professor Davis works regularly as a consultant for museum exhibitions and documentary films. She has received fellowships from FLAS VI in Hindi, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Association of University Women, and the University of Texas at Austin.
The influence of eastern blood on English cavalry horses during the course of the seventeenth century
In the early sixteenth century military commanders, deploying squadrons of heavily armoured men-at-arms, regarded Neapolitan coursers as the cavalry mount par excellence on account of their strength and courage. By 1600, however, changes in military tactics, which increasingly emphasized firepower at the expense of the cavalry’s role as a battering ram, made such horses obsolete. Troopers, performing the caracole, became mounted pistoleers. When, as a result of Gustavus Adolphus’s reforms in the early seventeenth century, the mounted arm once more propelled itself at pace at the enemy, its members rode into battle on lighter, quicker and more nimble horses. Many of them possessed north African or Turcoman blood, either directly (Barbs) or indirectly (Spanish ginetes). When Prince Rupert led the defeated royalists out of Bristol on 11 September 1645 he was riding on a ‘spectacular’ black Arabian. He was privileged because Arabians rarely appeared in élite stables before the Restoration. By the time that England was fighting Louis XIV’s armies at the turn of the seventeenth century, however, they had become more numerous. In England the fashion for ‘eastern’ horses for hunting, racing and general riding ensured that the country possessed adequate stocks of suitable cavalry mounts when needed.
Pete Edwards is Professor of Early Modern British Social History at the University of Roehampton and has written extensively on the multi-functional role of horses in pre-modern society. His publications include The Horse Trade of Tudor and Stuart England (Cambridge U.P., Cambridge: 1988/reprinted 2004); Horse and Man in Early Modern England (Hambledon-Continuum, London: 2007) and with Dr Elspeth Graham (eds.) The Horse as Cultural Icon: the Real and the Symbolic Horse in the Early Modern World (Brill: Leiden: 2011). He is currently co-editing with Dr Graham a collection of essays on William Cavendish.
Cavalry in civil conflict: The Mounted Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police
Horses are not a universal choice for urban policing. They were pioneered in London in the late 1700s, and subsequently the Metropolitan Mounted Branch has become as a model of practice worldwide. Under the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher mounted police were used extensively in pitched battles with trade unionists (notably the Battle of Orgreave, June 1984), to break the power of the unions. Subsequently control of the streets of London became a major issue: the Poll Tax riot (March 1990), the G20 proest 1 April 2009); the Tottenham Riots (August 2011); and the mass students’ Anti-Fees demonstration of 9 December 2010. The latter case highlighted the tensions in balancing democratic expression with control of the streets. Charging horses were used, but were used badly. This paper examines the situation on the ground in terms of civil liberties, changing social subjects, and vulnerabilities of demonstrators and police horses alike.
Ed Emery organises the Hydra Donkey Conference, and the Camel Conference @ SOAS, both biennial. He is working on a PhD on Arabic and Jewish dance-song poetry of al-Andalus 1100-1350
The story of Comanche: Horsepower, heroism and the conquest of the American West
Marked by the Census Bureau’s closure of the frontier and the symbolic end of American Indian resistance at Wounded Knee, the early 1890s marked a critical moment in the history of the American West. It also saw the death of one of the region’s most famous horses, Comanche, who succumbed to colic in 1891 aged 29. This project uses Comanche as a locus around which to examine the history of ‘warhorses’ in the martial culture of the American West. Not only does his lifespan (1862-1891) usefully coincide with the critical years of westward conquest, but his equine biography also serves as testament to the multiple uses of horses in the US military machine. A ‘four-legged’ soldier of the 7th Cavalry, Comanche served as a piece of organic technology and became an equine celebrity as the only ‘living survivor’ of the Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876). Beyond his individual story lies a broader ‘cross-species’ history of human-animal interaction that this paper seeks to document. A transporter of people and supplies, a carrier of empire and nationalism, and a performing animal embedded in a culture of frontier mythmaking, Comanche speaks to an important (but overlooked) history of ‘warhorses’ in the American West.
Karen Jones is senior lecturer in American and Environmental History at the University of Kent with research specialisms in Animal Studies and the American West. She is particularly interested in transnational movements of animals and cultures of nature. Her publications include Wolf Mountains: A History of Wolves Along the Great Divide, The Invention of the Park, and The American West Competing Visions. She is currently completing a monograph for the University Press of Colorado on hunting, storytelling and empire on the frontier. In 2012 Karen received a research fellowship from the Autry Museum of Western Heritage to work on Warhorses in the West.
“I see them galloping!”: War, affect and performing horses in Matthew Lewis's Timour the Tartar
In 1811 Covent Garden had ‘the most profitable season in its history’ with the introduction of a unique theatrical extravaganza that told an oriental tale of forbidden love, epic battles and exotic kingdoms. Matthew Lewis’s Timour the Tartar was a surprising departure for the patent theatre, usually known for staging more legitimate forms of entertainment, and a departure that cemented the burgeoning cooperation between the historically antagonistic major and minor theatres. Acted by the equestrian troop from Astley’s Amphitheatre, Timour was an influential forerunner in the veritable ‘Hippo-mania’ that gripped Londoners in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and was formative not only for its direct engagement with current world affairs but also for the play’s inclusion of some remarkably talented equine thespians.
An examination of this hippodrama introduces some of the intricacies of horse-human performances on the Romantic London stage while raising questions about the representation of military horse-human relationships during the Napoleonic wars. In this paper I question how the presence of acting animals in Timour influenced the performance of martial masculinity, how the often affective relationship between rider and military charger was constructed and what was meant by the many interpretations of Timour that saw the play as a ‘most awful, but at the same time insidious attack on the reputation of BUONAPARTE’.
Monica Mattfeld is an Associate Lecturer in the School of English at the University of Kent. Her teaching and research interests include eighteenth-century literature; animal studies; caricature; and illegitimate theatre. She has published on performing animals, expressions of national identity on the eighteenth-century stage, and on the equestrian embodiment of Hobbesian political theory. Monica is currently working on a book project that examines performing horses, hippodramas and empire on the Romantic London stage.
Forthcoming monographs: Hippodrama, Gender and Nation in Romantic-Period London and Performing Horse-Men: Eighteenth-Century Horsemanship and English Masculinity.
“Bound together by very close ties of affection”: Human-equine bonding in Canada’s Great War
Andrew McEwen - "Bound together by very close ties of affection:” Human-Equine Bonding in Canada’s Great War
The Human-Animal Bond (HAB) is a powerful coping mechanism for traumatized humans. Though difficult to quantify, the act of caring for an animal has tremendous physical and psychological benefits that help reduce anxiety in both humans and animals. The HAB is so effective that it is currently under experimentation to help combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan cope with stress and readjust to civilian society.
Though not employed in such an official capacity, the HAB was pervasive in the Great War. Horses and mules were truly ubiquitous; the Canadian Corps utilized almost 24,000 horses on the Western Front, a ratio of roughly one animal per four men. Many soldiers conveyed the immense importance of bonding with horses in the war – whether wagon drivers, officers and their mounts, or veterinary officers and their patients. They all convey a deep sense of attachment with their equine charges, as well as a sentiment that their horses helped them endure psychological trauma in the trenches. As one private remarked, his horse “took care of me” through the horrors of the front lines. This paper will ultimately demonstrate that the HAB was a key coping mechanism for Canadian soldiers in the Great War.
Andrew McEwen is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at the University of Calgary. He completed his BA at Queen’s University and his Masters at the University of Waterloo. He has been published in The Canadian Army Journal, Canadian Military History, and has a chapter in a forthcoming volume on animals in history. His dissertation will focus on the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps in the First World War, and on the role of horses in Canadian society from 1896-1921.
The politics of reproduction: Horse breeding and state studs in Prussia, circa 1750-1890
Tatsuya Mitsuda - The Politics of Reproduction: Horse Breeding and State Studs in Prussia, circa 1750-1890
For the prosecution of war, horses were indispensable in Europe until at least the First World War. To this end, individual states during the nineteenth century pursued equine policies that would not only guarantee a stable flow of high quality remounts but also strove to create a system of studs in which breeding would be placed on an independent footing. Despite some research that has revealed how European states invested in these studs following the French Revolution (most notably in France where histories into equine reproduction have flowed under the direction of Daniel Roche), relatively little is known about the situation elsewhere in Europe. Focusing on the militaristic state that was Prussia, this paper will show how a state stud system emerged in response to competing models taking shape in France and Britain. The kind of interests which informed decisions about the types of horses selected as well as the aesthetics and science that played a role in defining what constituted ‘quality’ will be some of the central questions posed. Ultimately, the paper shows how competing military, agricultural and industrial interests created tensions in demand for lighter breeds on the one hand and heavier breeds on the other.
Tatsuya Mitsuda is Assistant Professor at Keio University, Japan. He was educated at Keio, Bonn, and Cambridge Universities. His research interests broadly cover the social and cultural history of food and animals in Europe and Japan. He received his Cambridge PhD in 2007, bearing the title: “The Horse in European History, circa 1550-1900”.
Memories of Japanese military horses of World War II
During the Asia-Pacific War, the Imperial Japanese Army commandeered an estimated half million horses for military service. Like other subaltern beings—both human and non-human—far from the levers of geopolitical and biopolitical power, horses were subjected to and actively participated in total war. This paper, while providing an overview of the roles these horses performed, examines how they have been remembered by focusing on three of the main equine-producing regions on the northern island of Hokkaido: Hidaka, Tokachi and Kushiro. A growing interest in the war combined with the efforts of former military and civilian horsemen from the late 1980s onward led to a proliferation of war horse narratives in various cultural forms—newspaper and magazine articles, television specials, memoirs and book chapters, a grade-school textbook story, and monuments constructed throughout Japan. Actual horses too played a role in the construction of memories, although they could not ‘speak’ for themselves and though “equine memories” have largely been co-opted to fit the agendas of human narrators. In short, this paper analyzes war as more than a human experience and contemplates the “biopolitics” of remembrance.
2004 Ph.D., East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University
- 2011 Empire of Dogs: Canines, Japan, and the Making of the Modern Imperial World, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011)
- 2011 “‘By Running…/By Fighting…/By Dying…’: Remembering, Glorifying, and Forgetting Japanese Olympian War Dead,” Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics 14, no. 4 (May 2011): 504-511
- Forthcoming “Dogs at War: Military Dogs in Film,” in Cinematic Canines: Dogs and Their Work in Narrative Film, ed. Adrienne L. McLean (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, under contract and submitted)
Horses as animal property in the countryside of Anatolia during the first half of the 17th century
Onur Usta - Horses as animal property in the countryside of Anatolia during the first half of the 17th century
This paper is aimed to demonstrate the economic value and position of horses in property relations between individuals in rural areas in the light of the documents provided by the Ottoman court records (kadi sijills) based on Urfa, Gaziantep, and Ankara circa 1620s and 1630s. It seeks to explain how local villagers and nomads assessed horses as good long-term investment and their partnership with each other in the purchase of horses. In this context, horses appear as a commercial property that changed hands frequently. In some instances, the most generous demand for horses might have come from the Ottoman Palace. Either for sale or rent, the requesting of horses for campaign use and general transport needs formed an important dimension of the local economy. Its impact on the economic growth of particular regions will be examined based on the data recorded in sales and long-term rental contracts.
Onur Usta is a PhD researcher at the Department of the Centre of Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies in the School of History and Cultures at University of Birmingham. He studies the social and economic history of nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes in Anatolia and their relation with the Ottoman State during the 16th and 17th centuries. He is currently preparing a dissertation on the pastoral economies in Anatolia from a regional perspective during the first half of the 17th century.
- With Dr. Oktay Özel, “Sedentarization of Turcomans in 16th century Cappadocia, Kayseri, 1484-1584”, in Between Religion and Language…ed. Evangelia Balta and Mehmet Ölmez (Istanbul: Eren Yayıncılık, 2011)
- “Celaliğin Türkmen Cephesi… (Turcoman Dimension of the Celaliism: Türkmen Voyvodası and the Turcomans in seventeenth-century Anatolian countryside),” Kebikeç (33)-2012
In autumn our horses are well-fed and ready for action – the Ch’ing Empire and its Mongolian cavalry
In defining the role of his erstwhile Mongolian allies – later subjects – the K’ang-hsi Emperor used the following words: “Of old, the Ch’in dynasty heaped up earth and stones and erected the Great Wall. Our dynasty has extended its mercies to the Khalkha and set them to guard the northern territories. They will be even stronger and firmer than the Great Wall.” It was horses that played the major part, ever since the nomadic steppe-peoples and sedentary China started their sometimes militant, sometimes peaceful interaction. To the Central-Asian Turks, Mongols, Tungus they lent speed and mobility, to the Chinese they constituted a necessity on their part to maintain an efficient cavalry. The last imperial house to rule China, the Manchurian Ch’ing, were themselves of Central-Asian origin. Well-versed, therefore, in the traditional steppe art of warfare – ruling from horseback – they made use of the Mongols as their allies, without whose supply of horses, of horse-lore or auxiliary cavalry troops the Manchus would neither have succeeded in conquering China nor would they have succeeded in maintaining their rule over that territory for nearly two hundred years. Nevertheless it also came to pass during the Ch’ing period, that this successful last Central-Asian “Rule from Horseback“ should reach its end, superseded by new ways of warfare. The superiority of the horse had become useless: L’ancien homme à cheval était à pied.
Veronika Veit is Professor of Central Asian Studies at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn (now retired). She is co-editor of Zentralasiatische Studien (International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, Halle – formerly Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden), and of Aetas Manjurica (in commission Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden). She has published on Mongolian History, Literature and Culture (13th to 20th century) and on the History of the Manchurian Ch'ing Dynasty (1644-1911) - with special focus on steppe politics and culture, and on the interaction of the steppe-peoples with China, from the times of the Hsiung-nu to the Mongols in present times. Professor Veit is Professor hon. causa of the University of Inner Mongolia, Hohhot (PR of China), and Holder of the Order "Altan Ghadasun" (Golden Polarstar) of the Mongolian Republic.
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William Gervase Clarence-Smith [Conference chair]
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