Placing Animals drew back on a lot of what we have read earlier in the semester, particularly Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, but Julie Urbanik approaches these topics in a different way. This is most plainly seen in first chapter of her book, where she spends less time talking about animals and more time introducing and explaining geographic terms and concepts. It felt like I was actually reviewing stuff I read when I took cultural geography when reading the first couple chapters of Urbanik. She introduced concepts such as places and regions, and how areas are different for both spatial and temporal reasons. I even recognized a couple of geographers she cited, such as Carl Sauer and Doreen Massey.
There were also a lot of random facts that really stuck out to me. Like how the first known book to written to depict an animal’s perspective was published in 1887, or how there are more tigers living in captivity in the United States than there are living in the wild. I also liked Urbanik’s examination of the role animals play in language, and how we associate certain traits and personality characteristics to particular animals, like the clever fox, the brave lion, and the chicken chicken. Although there was a lot of interesting new perspectives, I still found a few parts to be repetitive because of their similarity to our previous readings.
Planet of the Baboons