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Dr Chris Pearson: 'Canine Visiting Cards': The Problem of Dog Mess in 20th Century Paris

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Location: R0.14 Ramphal building, University of Warwick
Presentation and discussion, with refreshments. All are welcome.

Focussing on anti-faeces campaigns in interwar period and in the latter decades of the twentieth century, this paper tracks the management of Parisian dog excrement and its contestation. Beginning with the “discovery” of dog mess in the late-1920s, it explores how public hygienists framed it as a problem in need of medical and administrative solutions. Through an examination of opinion polls, campaign materials and newspaper reports, it then explores how Chirac’s administration sought to observe, understand and contain the risks posed by dog excrement through education, technology and the creation of new excremental spaces. A tension between liberal and more coercive attempts to manage the messy modernity of dog excrement runs throughout the varied attempts to create a hygienic form of modern human-canine cohabitation. This paper argues that examining 'Canine Visiting Cards' allows us to explore histories of disgust, medicine, citizenship, human-animal relations and the control of urban public space.

colour photo of Paris street sign re dog mess

Tags: seminar

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