The Bear: Culture, Nature, Heritage
Owen T. Nevin, Ian Convery, Peter Davis
Bears are iconic animals, playing a variety of roles in human culture. They have been portrayed as gods, monsters, kings, fools, brothers, lovers, and dancers; they are seen as protectors of the forest; symbols of masculinity; a comfort for children; and act as symbols for conservation and environmental issues. They also symbolise wilderness, reinforcing and maintaining our connection to the natural world. And stories abound of cultures that gathered berries in the same fields as bears and fished on the same rivers; consequently a wealth of myths, legends and folklore has informed us of our place in the world and the deep connection we have with bears. The essays collected here provide a rich selection of views on the human/bear relationships. They explore how bears are an influence in contemporary art, and how they are represented in the illustrations in children's literature and in museum exhibitions. The connection between bears and native peoples, and how contemporary society lives alongside these animals, provides an understanding of current attitudes and approaches to bear management and conservation. The history of captive bears is brought into contemporary relief by considering the fate of captive bears held in Asian countries for bile production. Other pieces look at how bears feature in gay culture, and are an intrinsic component to research on the Yeti and Sasquatch. Together, these articles present an insight into the changing face of attitudes towards nature, species survival and the significance of conservation engagement in the twenty-first century. Biologists, historians, anthropologists, cultural theorists, conservationists and museologists will all find riches in the detail presented in this bear cornucopia. OWEN NEVIN is Associate Vice-Chancellor, Gladstone Region, CQUniversity, Australia; IAN CONVERY is Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Cumbria; PETER DAVIS is Emeritus Professor of Museology in the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies at Newcastle University. Contributors: Philip Charles, Melanie Clapham, Ian Convery, Koen Cuyten, Elizabeth O Davis, Peter Davis, Sarah Elmeligi, Beatrice Frank, Barrie K. Gilbert, Jenny Anne Glikman, Tracy Ann Hayes, Mike Jeffries, Jón Jónsson, John Kitchin, Miha Krofel, Gareth Longstaff, Henry McGhie, Jeff Meldrum, Owen T. Nevin, Heather Prince, Lynn Rogers, Kristinn Schram, Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir, Russ Van Horn, Mark Wilson, Samantha Young.