Feature video

Back to the Future: Teddy Roosevelt’s Anthropocene with Iain McCalman

In July 1909, Theodore Roosevelt embarked on an 11-month, post-presidential shooting safari that doubled as a scientific expedition to provide the Smithsonian Museum in Washington with complete samples of East Africa’s rich wildlife. McCalman contends that Roosevelt’s famous African safari proved in fact to be a harbinger and agent of transformative social and environmental forces that he both regretted and extolled. Despite his lifelong disgust at "game butchers" and "trophy hunters," his own safari behavior savored uncomfortably of both. His "science safari" became the catalyst for a new type of commercialized safari industry that would ultimately threaten the biodiversity of the wildlife that he celebrated in newspaper articles and his best-selling book, "African Game Trails."

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