Going to the zoo has become such an ordinary ritual that we might wonder at a person who has never had the chance to marvel at the dexterity of an elephant's trunk or admire the spotted slope of a giraffe's neck. Our interactions and familiarity with zoo animals come under great scrutiny in this study, which focuses on how the act of going to the zoo manipulated the politics of looking at animals as it was made into a feature of the civilized, self-governing state. Centered on the history of the first public zoological garden to open outside of Europe and North America, The Nature of the Beasts decodes the Ueno Zoological Garden by focusing on its original incarnation, the Tokyo Imperial Zoo, established in 1882. Ian Jared Miller refers to this zoo as an “anthropological machine” (29) that is today deeply...

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