Symposium 30–31 May 2016: Animals wild and tame – peering beyond categories

The symposium ”Animals wild and tame – peering beyond categories” will take place in University of Turku 30–31 May 2016.

Depending on their position in human society, animals are often categorized as either wild or tame. Although seemingly mutually exclusive categories, in practice, however, the borderline between wildness and tameness is ambiguous. The complexity and diversity of the phenomenon exceeds the limits of two clear cut categories and requires a more elaborate and nuanced examination.

What is more, categories of wildness and tameness are historically in constant flux, resulting from changing interactions of both humans and animals. No animal species, of course, has originally been “tame”, but their tameness results from the changing human-animal relationship, where wild may become domesticated or otherwise adapt to human presence. Alternatively, there are numerous examples of tame or domesticated animals becoming feral. Although grouping of animals according to their wildness and tameness eludes ontological reasoning, it nevertheless defines the way animals are perceived and treated in human societies as species and individuals.  The symposium, organized by the research project Animal Agency in Human Society – Finnish Perspectives 1890–2040, discusses the problems and repercussions of the concepts wild and tame.

CFP Wildness and Tameness until 29 February 2016 (pdf-file).


The programme of the symposium is now available. All interested are welcome to attend the keynote lectures.

The symposium participants are guided to consult the programme sheet for a map and detailed information on the symposium venues.

The symposium is organized by the research project Animal Agency in Human Societies, funded by the Academy of Finland.

Please contact symposium coordinator Johanna Skurnik ( if you have any questions.


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