Universiteit Leiden

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Environmental Humanities LU Talk

Birds of God - The journey of the birds of paradise

  • Marc Argeloo
Wednesday 12 June 2024
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

The 12 Environmental Humanities LU talk will be given by historical ecologist Marc Argeloo who will talk about his work on the colonial bird trade between Southeast Asia and Europe.

Birds of paradise were a popular trade item, especially between 1880 and 1930. The most important market was the fashion world in cities such as Paris, New York, London, Berlin and Amsterdam. Tens of thousands of birds were shot, transported from former German and Dutch New Guinea and sold as hat decorations. For Catholic missionaries, this trade provided much-needed income but would have been impossible without the knowledge of local hunters. In this talk, Marc Argeloo, a renowned expert on this topic, will explore the cultural and economic significance as well as the role of indigenous knowledge in this trade.

About the speaker

Marc Argeloo has been studying birds of paradise and the trade in these animals since 1993. The results provide a fascinating picture of how Asia and Europe have been connected for millennia, and have culminated in the exhibition 'Birds of God' in the Mission Museum in Steyl (until September 1, 2024).

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