The pursuit of hippo-ness : hippopotamus and human
Franks, Alan Everett.
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The relationship between human and animal is a complex and strange one, and many have written and theorized on the matter over the centuries. Animal theory has become ensconced in a debate that has evolved with public discourse and now exists in a realm that has become clouded with misperceptions. In this thesis, I explore ideas about human-animal relationships through the example of the hippopotamus and provide historical and cultural context for a reading of my accompanying film, "The Pursuit of Hippo-ness". Through both the film and the paper, I aim to raise questions about how we see and interact with the hippopotamus, drawing mainly from individual stories to reflect a multiplicity of an animal that is often seen in a negative light. By raising these questions about how we perceive animals, we should begin to recognize the impacts that it can have on conservation when some animals are seen as inferior in terms of their "value." Being cognizant of these prejudices or highly misconstrued understandings of animals, particularly those with negative connotations attached, we should begin to recognize the intrinsic value of the animals and the way in which our lives are intertwined with theirs.