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Presented By: Science, Technology & Society

Animal Psychology and the Venereal Unconscious: A Graduate Student Workshop

Liz McNeill (German) and Bassam Sidiki (English)

"Hans at the typewriter: His gaze forward is unimpeded by the blinders," in Karl Krall, Thinking Animals: Contributions to the Science of the Animal Soul Based on My Own Experiments [Denkende Tiere: Beiträge zur Tierseelenkunde auf Grund eigener Versuche] (Leipzig: F. Engelmann, 1912), 371. "Hans at the typewriter: His gaze forward is unimpeded by the blinders," in Karl Krall, Thinking Animals: Contributions to the Science of the Animal Soul Based on My Own Experiments [Denkende Tiere: Beiträge zur Tierseelenkunde auf Grund eigener Versuche] (Leipzig: F. Engelmann, 1912), 371.
"Hans at the typewriter: His gaze forward is unimpeded by the blinders," in Karl Krall, Thinking Animals: Contributions to the Science of the Animal Soul Based on My Own Experiments [Denkende Tiere: Beiträge zur Tierseelenkunde auf Grund eigener Versuche] (Leipzig: F. Engelmann, 1912), 371.
LIZ MCNEILL:
Materializing Interspecies Communication: Clever Hans and the Sprachkrise's [Language Crisis'] Animal Psychologists (1904-15)

In the fall of 1904, experimental psychologists in Berlin debunked the “equine savant” Clever Hans, who had become famous that summer for his supposed ability to read, write, and do arithmetic. For most readers of German news media, what eventually became known as “observer-expectancy effect” sated their curiosity. But for many, questions remained, questions which centered on Hans’ perception of human embodied communication acts which humans, themselves, could not perceive. Such a mode of animal communication below articulated human language is the focus of this chapter. For the philosopher of language Fritz Mauthner, dramatist Maurice Maeterlinck, and fiction writer Franz Kafka—whose works form the critical heart of this chapter—Hans was more than a horse who could produce German-language sentences through a highly mediated, complexly (im)material and embodied interspecies alphabet system. Hans and the horses who followed in his hoof-steps revealed the limits of scientific materialism, ultimately calling for an approach to studying animal psychology which did not begin and end with measuring head and eye movements. What, they wondered, does Hans have to say? Can we ever know?

BASSAM SIDIKI:
Venerealisms: Inter-Imperial Social Hygiene and the Anti-Marriage Plot

This chapter is a literary and cultural history of the “tropification” of venereal disease in the inter-imperial context of the early twentieth century. It argues that the colonial brothel—a rhetorical space bringing together first-wave liberal feminism, anxieties about alleged international prostitution networks deemed the “white slave trade,” and the transatlantic movement for social hygiene—is a powerful fugitive presence in canonical and popular Anglo-American novels published in the mid-1920s: E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India (1924), W. Somerset Maugham’s The Painted Veil (1925), and Sinclair Lewis’s Arrowsmith (1925). It argues further that these novels channeled the anxiety about the possible degeneration of white imperial women into sex workers by juxtaposing doomed heterosexual marriage or courtship plots with tropical epidemics like plague and cholera. These texts therefore repress what I call a “venereal unconscious:” their representations of nonvenereal infectious diseases signify the unmentionable venereal ones, and the latter are in turn constructed as especially prevalent among colonized tropical populations.
"Hans at the typewriter: His gaze forward is unimpeded by the blinders," in Karl Krall, Thinking Animals: Contributions to the Science of the Animal Soul Based on My Own Experiments [Denkende Tiere: Beiträge zur Tierseelenkunde auf Grund eigener Versuche] (Leipzig: F. Engelmann, 1912), 371. "Hans at the typewriter: His gaze forward is unimpeded by the blinders," in Karl Krall, Thinking Animals: Contributions to the Science of the Animal Soul Based on My Own Experiments [Denkende Tiere: Beiträge zur Tierseelenkunde auf Grund eigener Versuche] (Leipzig: F. Engelmann, 1912), 371.
"Hans at the typewriter: His gaze forward is unimpeded by the blinders," in Karl Krall, Thinking Animals: Contributions to the Science of the Animal Soul Based on My Own Experiments [Denkende Tiere: Beiträge zur Tierseelenkunde auf Grund eigener Versuche] (Leipzig: F. Engelmann, 1912), 371.

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