Blown out: the science and enthusiasm of egg collecting in the Oologists' Record, 1921–1969

Cole, E. (2016) Blown out: the science and enthusiasm of egg collecting in the Oologists' Record, 1921–1969. Journal of Historical Geography, 51, pp. 18-28. (doi: 10.1016/j.jhg.2015.10.014)

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This paper offers an 'almost-animal' geography of egg collecting, also known as 'oology', through a sustained engagement with the contents of the Oologists’ Record (OR), a specialist journal published between 1921 and 1969. It seeks to investigate egg collecting as a 'culture of nature', organised and represented in the print spaces of the OR through which egg collectors, often widely separated geographically, could convene to define, celebrate and defend their chosen pastime. This paper contributes to existing geographical work on 'cultures of enthusiasm' by discussing how, in the OR, birds' eggs were the focus of scientific enquiries and more visceral forms of enthusiasm, coming together in a leisure practice whose validity was increasingly contested by oppositional lobby groups. By considering how the ambiguous status of birds' eggs - on the boundary of the animal and not-animal – was important in ethical contestations about egg collecting, this paper also raises wider ontological questions about the 'almost-animal' that should extend the reach of animal geographies. Finally, the case of the OR presents the unusual spectacle of a special interest community that was declining and dying in print: as its individual members reached the end of their lives; and collectively, as oology changed in status from being a respectable pastime to a wildlife crime.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cole, Mr Edward
Authors: Cole, E.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Historical Geography
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1095-8614
Published Online:18 November 2015

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