Fotografie des Gorillas Bobby bei der Präparation.
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Call for Papers Workshop "Logistical Natures" (Deadline September 20, 2019) PDF Icon cfp_logistical_natures.pdf

Zoological Gardens and Natural History Museum Berlin, 1810 to 2020

“Animals as Objects. Zoological Gardens and Natural History Museum Berlin, 1810 to 2020” is a cooperative research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research between the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, the Humboldt-University of Berlin and the Berlin Zoo plc. It investigates the processes by which animals are turned into objects – living zoo attraction, museum exhibits, diplomatic matters, teaching tools and data sets. The project investigates four, in many ways related scientific collections: the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, the Zoological Garden, part of which are also the Aquarium and the Tierpark, as well as the Teaching Collection of the Zoological Institute of the Humboldt University Berlin. Focus of the research are the traffics and transformations of animal-objects within and between these Berlin-based sites of knowledge in their global, political, scientific and cultural context. Investigations of the animal-objects center on their material, data and discursive ecologies which form and inform their care, conservation and sustainability.

Research Areas

1. Making Animals Talk: Logistics, Science, Presentation (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

2. The Political Language of Animals (Zoologischer Garten Berlin)

3. The Language of Data Animals (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin)
The sub-project „The language of data-animals“ connects social research with cultural and historical studies approaches in order to investigate the animal-object through and in data practices in Zoo and Museum. Digitisation as well as novel methods of analysis based on molecular biology and new imaging technologies are turning animal-objects in museums into sources of data which feed into different global information infrastructures such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), GenBank or the Barcode of Life. These distinct data practices bring together different orders, standards, technologies, histories and interest that shift the animal-object’s apprehensions and attributions. The aim is to comprehend and describe the specific data ecologies of animal-objects in the Zoo and the Museum and analytically apply these to new interpretations of animal-objects and their workings within knowledge culture.


3 years (09/01/2018 until 08/31/2021)

Cooperation Partners

The research project is carried out in cooperation with the Institut für Kulturwissenschaft der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Zoologischen Garten Berlin.


Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.