ABSTRACT

Instead of focusing on bilateral human-animal relations, environmental historians tend to analyse the connections between people, animals, and changing landscapes. Even though staying true to this general orientation, since the first decade of the 21st century, environmental historians have shifted their approach towards non-human animals. From tools in human landscape projects, they became full-fledged agents shaping the course and contours of environmental change. This chapter explores this “Animal (Agency) Turn” by examining three of its most innovative strands: the animal resignification of human-influenced environments, the role of wild predators in shaping their (human) symbolic representations, and the human-animal co-production of waterscapes. What emerges from this historiographical review is the sense of a collective, not-yet-fully articulated push toward an expanded notion of culture encompassing non-human animals. This includes not only considering so-called “animal cultures” but also, and perhaps most fundamentally, how animals participate – with their own embodied ways of being and knowing – in creating more-than-human cultural systems.