My doctoral research explored the study of natural history in the Spanish Empire in the years 1750-1850.
Following the completion of my PhD I have been working on a new research project on the collection, study and exhibition of exotic animals in Britain (c.1750-1880), with a comparative focus on France and Spain. This project explores how contemporaries conceptualised rare animals, where they encountered them and what symbolic, pedagogic and scientific value they attached to specimens in zoological gardens and touring menageries.
I use animals as a vehicle through which to examine issues of race, class, gender and colonialism. I focus especially on travelling menageries, whose appeal transcended social boundaries and whose personnel included an eclectic range of individuals, from female lion tamers to West Indian elephant keepers.