Projets achevés

The Asian Bestiary

Axe de rattachement au Ceped : Axe 3 - Éducation et Savoirs au Sud

Responsables scientifiques

Partenariats dans le pays de recherche

Partenariat avec convention
National University of Singapore (Singapour)

Membres du Ceped participant au projet

Membres extérieurs au Ceped participant au projet



The pharmaceutical industry, be it “traditional” or “biomedical”, uses animal life or products of animal origin at different stages of innovation and manufacturing. For example, mice and macaques are used in experiments during the innovation phase ; fat of porcine or bovine origin is used in the manufacture of gelatin to coat medicinal capsules ; the hide of donkeys is used as a medicine in traditional Chinese pharmacopeia or TCM practices. Every year, millions of animals are culled, and millions of tons of products of animal origin are used all over the world in order to treat diseases and cure people.
In this context, The Asian Bestiary is a website project initiated by Annu Jalais, Mathieu Quet, Marine Al Dahdah, Aarthi Sridhar. This site has been illustrated and designed by the artist Maïda Chavak, propelled by the website development and web design of 9twentycreative. It is a pedagogical project, funded by the National University of Singapore, the Université de Paris and the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche, and it takes place under the broad rubric of the Indian Ocean collaboratory– the Southern Collective. The Asian Bestiary is inspired by the Southern Collective’s collaborative ethos of ‘democratizing knowledge’ and enabling ‘participative collaboratories’, to bring scholarly knowledge and artistic engagement into a broader pedagogical arena.
The website is conceptualised as a work-in-progress and as a participatory educational tool, representing animals whose products or body parts are used to promote health and healing. The pedagogical aspect also involves an academic course on human relations with nonhumans taught by Mathieu Quet in France and by Annu Jalais in Singapore (until 2021) and at Krea University in India (from 2022). Students attending the course are sensitized to the historical entanglements, common geographies, symbolic meanings, and shared zoonotic diseases between humans and many forms of nonhumans. Thereafter, students are invited to select a ‘nonhuman’ (mythical or otherwise) and introduce it to the public through a short essay covering its biological and social properties, the various stories surrounding it, and the multiple religious or medicinal uses it offers.


Indian ocean, pharmaceuticals, non-humans, traditional medicine

Zone géographique (terrains de recherche)

Indian ocean




courriel : mathieu.quet chez
Site web :

Résultats et valorisation

  • 13 octobre 2021 : mise en ligne du site
  • 13 octobre 2021 : « Imagining Asian Nonhumans », webinaire art/science dans le cadre du lancement du site internet et de l’exposition en ligne (coordination par Annu Jalais avec M. Al Dahdah, M. Chavak, M. Quet, A. Sridhar)