Animals, Humans, and US Environments in Crisis
- PUBLISHED: June 2023
- SUBJECT LISTING: Environmental Studies, History / American History, Nature and Environment
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 256 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 14 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780295751429
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
A multispecies history of the globalized United States, Bellwether Histories reveals how animals have been ensnared in colonialism, capitalism, and environmental destruction as human decisions created and perpetuated untenable and unequal interspecies relationships. The collection's authors explore how people misunderstood or ignored animal crises precipitated by habitat destruction and population declines, sudden dependence on human aid, shifts from freedom to captivity, or subjection to overextended management systems. Chapters address a range of themes, including the links between antislavery and anti-animal-cruelty advocacy; how cattle, horse, and pig behavior shaped human life and technology; and the politics of caring for and trafficking wild animals. This volume interrogates the history of animal disposability and its ideological twin in US history, human exceptionalism—the anthropocentric myth that people could harm animals without harming themselves. Today's mass extinctions and ecological breakdowns ensure deadly zoonotic pandemics and global warming will harass us far into the future. Bellwether Histories looks back at how animals have been warning us of our collective fate and asks why they were so seldom heard.
Authors & Contributors
Susan Nance is professor of history at the University of Guelph and affiliated faculty with the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare. She is author of three books, including Rodeo: An Animal History. Jennifer Marks is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Iowa and works as a technical writer in Portland, Oregon. Contributors: Vanessa Bateman, Joshua Abram Kercsmar, John M. Kinder, Jennifer Marks, Susan Nance, Andrea Ringer, Mary Trachsel, and Jessica Wang
Preface Introduction: The Mule in the Coal Mine 1. Interspecies Anticapitalism in English and American Humanitarian Writings, ca. 1800–1850 Joshua Abram Kercsmar 2. Chicago’s 1872 Equine Influenza Epizootic and the Evolution of Urban Transit Technology Jennifer G. Marks 3. Cattle and Blizzards: Lessons from the Big Die-Up in 1880s Montana Susan Nance 4. Animal Photography and the "Elk Problem" in Modern Wyoming Vanessa Bateman 5. Animals, Infrastructure, and Empire: Insects and Birds as Biological Control Agents in Early Twentieth-Century Hawai‘i Jessica Wang 6. Captive Breeding and the Commodification of "Surplus" Animals at the Central Park Zoo, 1886–1974 Andrea Ringer 7. The Destructive Ecology of Human-Pig Relations in Iowa since 1950 Mary Trachsel 8. "The Next Meal for the Lions": The US Occupation of the Baghdad Zoo, 2003–2004 John M. Kinder List of Contributors Index
"These chapters bring animals into the historical picture to reframe the ecological disruptions of the past and produce new insights as to how our current environment came to be."- Ann Norton Greene, author of Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America
"A provocative and nimble series of chapters that demonstrate the maturity and sophistication of animal history. The case studies are complex, interweaving human and animal perspectives while keeping questions of morality at the forefront."- Jon T. Coleman, author of Nature Shock: Getting Lost in America