CRG Seminar: One night with free-roaming Nguni cattle - Emotional priming for writing on cattle's experiences of colonialism

In preparation for writing a history of cattle’s experiences of Dutch and British colonialism in southern Africa, visiting fellow Michael Glover spent 30 days with a herd of free-roaming Nguni cattle. In this seminar, he recounts some of what he learned about cattle during this fieldwork. In particular, he narrates his experience of following the herd during one night. He offers reflections on the herd’s social cohesion, interpersonal relations, and intelligence. He suggests that this experience emotionally and empathetically primed him for writing about cattle’s experiences of major colonial impacts. He will also respond to some objections regarding the relevance of studying cattle via fieldwork in 2019 for writing about cattle historically. These fieldwork reflections form part of the monograph he is completing about cattle’s experiences of colonialism. If time permits, he will outline the main research questions of his monograph and indicate the thematic structure of his answers to these questions.


This seminar is organised by the CRG 'Trans-species perspectives on African Studies'.

This event will be held physically in Leiden. For registrees who cannot travel to Leiden a link to an online platform will be sent one day before the start of the event.

Dr Michael Glover is an animal historian interested principally in animals’ subjective historical experiences. His current focus area is mostly southern Africa, and his work is preoccupied with cattle. He is a postdoctoral research fellow at the International Studies Group, University of the Free State (UFS), and is based in Cape Town, South Africa. Michael conducted his PhD research via Leiden University and the UFS. His thesis was titled Cattle and colonialism: an animal-centred history of southern Africa, 1652-1980s and was awarded in 2021.




Date, time and location

16 October 2023
16.00 - 17.00
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 1.A27