Why are Mammals called Mammals?

A story exploring the position of humankind in nature and of women in humankind.

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Why are Mammals called Mammals?

Medium: Online comic/zine, collage art, poetry
Reading Time: 10 minutes
Size: Variable, as per viewing screen
Year of Production: 2021-2022

The project is an adaptation of the paper, ‘Why are Mammals called Mammals? Gender Politics in Eighteenth Century Natural History’ by Dr. Londa Schiebinger. It talks about how the classification of mammals and inclusion of humans in the class is influenced by the cultural view of breasts, women and animals. As shared by Dr. Schiebinger, the term still exists Post-Darwinian Revolution.

Having not had the chance to study textbooks in school with a critical eye, reading the paper was an eye-opening experience for me. My motivation to work on the paper came from wanting to have conversations with people about how our society and science relate with each other. Collages and poetry helped in sharing complex relationships in a simple yet evocative manner. For storytelling purposes, wherever required, I have blurred spaces and time and used additional cultural references. This was the most challenging part of the project and while doing so, I have carefully tried to maintain the historical accuracy of ideas and thoughts.

I hope this project leads to a collective questioning on the persistence of the term and makes us reflect about our biases at large.

This project was made possible with the support of the British Council through the Creating Heroines Grant.

Conceptualised, directed, and storyboarded by Komal Jain
Visual Styling and image sourcing by Komal Jain and Ritika Jathar
Illustrations by Ritika Jathar
Web Development by Akhil Patil
Sound by Komal Jain

Click here to read the paper by Dr. Londa Schiebinger

Click here for the complete list of bibliography and image sources

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