People in Peril, Environments at Risk: The History of Tigers in Singapore
Lecture by Asst Prof Miles Powell, Nanyang Technological University
National Museum of Singapore
9 April 2017
Tigers are everywhere in present-day Singapore. They adorn cans of Tiger Beer, tins of Tiger Balm, and the airplanes of Tiger Air. Yet living, breathing tigers can only be found within the confines of zoos and visiting circus acts. What happened to Singapore's once-abundant Malaysian tiger population, and why do they figure so prominently in the nation's identity? In this talk, Dr Miles Powell will discuss the horrors of tiger attacks in colonial Singapore, and how the island's various settler communities responded by hunting and ultimately exterminating Singapore's tiger population. Dr Powell will consider what lessons this history offers for our relationship to nature and, ultimately, each other.
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About the speaker
Dr Miles Powell received his BA and MA from Simon Fraser University, where he researched the environmental history of Native herring fisheries in British Columbia. He completed doctoral studies at the University of California-Davis, developing fields in environmental history, American history, and world history. His first book, Vanishing America: Species Extinction, Racial Peril, and The Origins of Conservation (Harvard UP, 2016), uses discourses of extinction to explore connections between racial attitudes and environmental thought in late-19th and early-20th-century America. He is presently an Assistant Professor of Environmental History at NTU in Singapore, where he is researching the global history of human interactions with sharks in the 20th century.
HistoriaSG is a lecture series that focuses on important but lesser-known aspects of Singapore’s history. With in-depth presentations by local and international academics on a range of topics viewed through a variety of lens from business to science and technology, the environment and specific communities, the series sheds new light on Singapore’s culture, history and heritage. Organised by the National Museum of Singapore, HistoriaSG is part of the museum’s efforts to promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of Singapore’s history. Please visit National Museum of Singapore's website for information on upcoming lectures.