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The creation of the Vincennes Zoo

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  1. Introduction
  2. A scientific project of modernity service
  3. A showcase of modernity
  4. Need for renewal
  5. A project diverted from its primary goals
  6. Conclusion

In 1860, the director of the National Museum of Natural History, Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, wants to create a schedule to the Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes to study the behavior of animals in a larger and more similar space in their environment original life. The project is mainly driven by a strong commitment to scientific experimentation, considered impossible to drive under the Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes. Menageries, whose invention is old, have no scientific vocation. Rather, they are signs of wealth and power, and are a source of amusement and curiosity society. The Romans had a habit of keeping caged a number of mammals prepared to fight and used for circus games. European nobility was also a number of menageries from exotic animals to satisfy his pleasure and curiosity. The menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes, established after the Revolution, already breaks with this tradition by dedicating part in the research, a goal pursued at the time of the creation of the Vincennes Zoo in 1934.

The birth of the zoo is indeed marked by the ambitions of one of its founders, the scientist and professor Achille Urbain, more interested in botany and microbiology by the study of animals as such. The zoo embodies for him a place devoted to his experiences. It is particularly concerned with transposing veterinary methods of human medical microbiology.

[...] Scientism is part of this tradition. This is a form of positivism that experimental science has priority to interpret the world on other forms of apprehension of reality and especially about religion. Scientism wants to organize humanity scientifically giving total confidence in the principles and methods of the exact sciences in all fields. The late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century are strongly influenced by these currents in Europe and marked by significant scientific and technical discoveries. The period is characterized by improved auto and air transport, the first Boeing flies example in 1935. [...]


[...] Finally, Letrosne went very far in terms of the topology of the zoo through the technique of artificial rock, the most important is the Great Rock, now a symbol of the zoo. This technical feat from a height of 65 meters in height allows to hide a number of necessities such as s the water tanks or animal lodges. Its elevator is also long been the fastest in Europe. Transition : The zoo was opened on 2 June 1934 by Urbain (first director) and the President of the Republic Albert Lebrun, a resounding success from day one. [...]


[...] The Romans had a habit of keeping caged a number of mammals prepared to fight and used for circus games. European nobility was also a number of menageries from exotic animals to satisfy his pleasure and curiosity. The menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes, established after the Revolution, already breaks with this tradition by dedicating part in the research, a goal pursued at the time of the creation of the Vincennes Zoo in 1934. The birth of the zoo is indeed marked by the ambitions of one of its founders, the scientist and professor Achille Urbain, more interested in botany and microbiology by the study of animals as such. [...]


[...] The city of Paris will then allow its realization. Thus, the Vincennes zoo in its very foundation is a political ownership will become a showcase of French society. A project diverted from its primary goals Recovery policy imprint of imperialism and nationalism The philosopher Jacques Derrida said about the " question of animality "It was not an issue among many other it questioned all large s concepts for understanding man's own. But in the early twentieth century, own colonial societies was to assert their superiority. [...]


[...] In 1934, vocations of the new zoo in Paris are essentially scientific. This is first foster basic and applied research, but also to allow the conservation of species through the establishment of breeding programs for endangered species. The zoo must finally provide an educational function of knowledge dissemination to the public, but also to young researchers who come to train for it. This initiative is part of scientists and positivist movements of the time The creation of the Vincennes Zoo is involved in a European context particularly favorable to science. [...]

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