Bellwether Histories: Animals, Humans, and US Environments in Crisis


Available for Pre-order. Due May 2023.
Bellwether Histories: Animals, Humans, and US Environments in Crisis Editors: Jennifer Marks, Susan Nance Format: Paperback / softback First Published: Published By: University of Washington Press
Illustrations and other contents: 14 Illustrations, black and white Language: English ISBN: 9780295751429 Categories: , ,

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.

Weight0.5 kg


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Author Biography

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