DE AMBIGUÏTEIT VAN DE DINOSAURUS | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 2, Issue 3-4
  • ISSN: 2588-8277
  • E-ISSN: 2667-162X



In the opening years of the twentieth century, the Scottish magnate Andrew Carnegie used the donation of plaster casts of the dinosaur a means to influence European heads of state in favor of his scheme for conflict arbitration. This contribution examines the way in which these casts became a border object between the worlds of science, high and popular culture, and politics, by looking at the history of the public assimilation of dinosaurs. Specifically, it focuses on an earlier example of such donations: the which were given away by the Belgian state and the Belgian king Leopold II personally, after 1890. These developments collided when Carnegie’s donation of a was cancelled after Leopold’s reputation began to suffer when details of the Congolese genocide became known to the public. This illustrates that for Carnegie, despite the cultural and scientific appeal of his donations, politics remained at the center of his campaign.


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