The dogs that didn't bark in the Blitz: transpecies and transpersonal emotional geographies on the British home front
Journal of Historical Geography
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Howell, P., & Kean, H. (2018). The dogs that didn't bark in the Blitz: transpecies and transpersonal emotional geographies on the British home front. Journal of Historical Geography, 61 44-52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhg.2018.06.001
This paper uses a case study of animals in wartime to ask how historical animal geographers might approach the historical geography of emotions. Its substantive focus is the entangled emotional experiences of humans and companion animals during the Second World War on the British home front. Arguing against a focus on the practical and political difficulties of keeping pets, this paper moves away from the preemptive killing of pets during the phoney war of 1939-40 to evidence for the value placed on pets by pet owners, civilians in general and the British state. Drawing principally on Mass-Observation surveys, this paper investigates the complexities of the emotional dynamics of the home front, where affect and emotion between people and individual companion animals were transmitted and amplified. Moreover, it is emphasised that transpecies emotions were portrayed as valuable to wartime morale, and thus became part of governmental calculation. Taking morale as a distinct form of collective affect targeted by the wartime state, we can thus add a more-than-human dimension to historical geographies of emotion. In sum, this paper argues that emotion should be considered as both a transpersonal and a transpecies phenomenon: transpersonal because collectively mediated, and transpecies because of the emotional interactions between people and nonhuman animals.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhg.2018.06.001
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/283364