animal history core readings

This is an evolving list with no pretensions to authority, completeness, or representativeness. It’s biased by my own academic training and research efforts, which have focused on human-animal relationships as seen through the lenses of environmental history and science and technology studies (STS), primarily in a North American context. The one hundred works listed fall within the disciplines of history, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and literary studies, but the primary focus is on history. Limiting the length of the list obviously entails excluding some important works and authors. I post it here in the hope that it might be helpful to graduate students and others trying to gain an intellectual foothold in the increasingly coherent but still dispersed field of animal studies. The list is ordered alphabetically by author.

  1. Adams, Carol J. 1990. The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. New York: Continuum.
  2. Agamben, Giorgio. 2004. The Open: Man and Animal. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  3. Anderson, Kay. 2007. Race and the Crisis of Humanism. New York: Routledge.
  4. Anderson, Virginia DeJohn. 2004. Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America. New York: Oxford University Press.
  5. Animal Studies Group. 2006. Killing Animals. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
  6. Arluke, Arnold and Clinton R. Sanders. 1996. Regarding Animals. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  7. Baker, Steve. 1993. Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity, and Representation. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  8. Baker, Steve. 2000. The Postmodern Animal. London: Reaktion.
  9. Bankoff, Greg and Sandra Swart, with Peter Boomgaard, William Clarence-Smith, Bernice de Jong Boers and Dhiravat no Pombejra. 2007. Breeds of Empire: The ‘Invention’ of the Horse in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa, 1500-1950. Copenhagen: NIAS Press.
  10. Barrow, Mark V. 1998. A Passion for Birds: American Ornithology after Audubon. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  11. Barrow, Mark V. 2009. Nature’s Ghosts: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  12. Beers, Diane. 2006. For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States. Athens: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press
  13. Berger, John. 1980. “Why Look at Animals?” in About Looking, 3-28. New York: Pantheon.
  14. Birke, Lynda, Arnold Arluke, and Mike Michael. 2007. The Sacrifice: How Scientific Experiments Transform Animals and People. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
  15. Boomgaard, Peter. 2001. Frontiers of Fear: Tigers and People in the Malay World, 1600-1950. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  16. Budiansky, Stephen. 1992. The Covenant of the Wild: Why Animals Chose Domestication. New York: W. Morrow.
  17. Bulliet, Richard W. 2005. Hunters, Herders and Hamburgers: The Past and Future of Human-Animal Relationships. New York: Columbia University Press.
  18. Burnett, D. Graham. 2007. Trying Leviathan: The Nineteenth-Century New York Court Case That Put the Whale on Trial and Challenged the Order of Nature. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  19. Callon, Michel. 1986. “Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: The Domestication of the Scallops and the Fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay.” In Power, Action and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge, ed. John Law, 196-223. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  20. Cartmill, Matt. 1993. A View to a Death in the Morning: Hunting and Nature through History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  21. Cavell, Stanley, Cora Diamond, John McDowell, Ian Hacking and Cary Wolfe. 2008. Philosophy and Animal  Life. New York: Columbia University Press.
  22. Clutton-Brock, Juliet. 1999. A Natural History of Domesticated Mammals, 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  23. Coleman, Jon T. 2004. Vicious: Wolves and Men in America. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  24. Cronon, William. 1991. Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. New York: W.W. Norton.
  25. Crosby, Alfred W. Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900, 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  26. Daston, Lorraine and Gregg Mitman, eds. 2005. Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism. New York: Columbia University Press.
  27. Deleuze, Giles and Félix Guattari. 1987. “1730: Becoming-Intense, Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Imperceptible….” In A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi, 256-341. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  28. Derrida, Jacques. 1991. “‘Eating Well,’ or the Calculation of the Subject: An Interview with Jacques Derrida.” In Who Comes After the Subject? ed. Eduardo Cadava, Peter Connor, and Jean-Luc Nancy, 96-119. New York: Routledge.
  29. Derrida, Jacques. 2008. The Animal That Therefore I Am, ed. Marie-Louise Mallet, trans. David Wills. New York: Fordham University Press.
  30. Dupré, John. 2002. Humans and Other Animals. Oxford: Clarendon.
  31. French, Richard D. 1975. Antivivisection and Medical Science in Victorian Society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  32. Fudge, Erica. 2000. Perceiving Animals: Humans and Beasts in Early Modern English Culture. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  33. Fudge, Erica, ed. 2004. Renaissance Beasts: Of Animals, Humans, and Other Wonderful Creatures. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.
  34. Fudge, Erica. 2006. Brutal Reasoning: Animals, Rationality, and Humanity in Early Modern England. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
  35. Geertz, Clifford. 1973. “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight.” In The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays, 412-53. New York: Basic Books.
  36. Grier, Katherine C. 2006. Pets in America: A History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  37. Guerrini, Anita. 2003. Experimenting with Humans and Animals: From Galen to Animal Rights. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  38. Haraway, Donna J. 1989. Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science. New York: Routledge.
  39. Haraway, Donna J. 2003. Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness. Chicago, IL: Prickly Paradigm.
  40. Haraway, Donna J. 2004. The Haraway Reader. New York: Routledge.
  41. Haraway, Donna J. 2008. When Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  42. Harris, Marvin. 1985. Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  43. Hearne, Vicki. 1994. Animal Happiness: A Moving Exploration of Animals and their Emotions. New York: HarperCollins.
  44. Hearne, Vicki. 2000. Adam’s Task: Calling Animals by Name. Pleasantville, NY: Akadine.
  45. Henninger-Voss, Mary, ed. 2002. Animals in Human Histories: The Mirror of Nature and Culture. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.
  46. Hribal, Jason. 2003. “‘Animals are Part of the Working Class’: A Challenge to Labor History.” Labor History 44:435-53.
  47. Ingold, Tim, ed. 1988. What Is an Animal? Boston: Unwin Hyman.
  48. Ingold, Tim. 1995. “Building, Dwelling, Living: How Animals and People Make Themselves at Home in the World.” In Shifting Contexts: Transformations in Anthropological Knowledge, ed. Marilyn Strathern, 57-89. London: Routledge.
  49. Isenberg, Andrew C. 2000. The Destruction of the Bison: An Environmental History, 1750-1920. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  50. Jones, Susan. 2003. Valuing Animals: Veterinarians and Their Patients in Modern America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  51. Kalof, Linda and Amy Fitzgerald, eds. 2007. The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings. Oxford: Berg.
  52. Kalof, Linda and Brigitte Resl, eds. 2007. A Cultural History of Animals. New York: Berg.
  53. Kalof, Linda. 2007. Looking at Animals in Human History. London: Reaktion.
  54. Knight, John, ed. 2005. Animals in Person: Cultural Perspectives on Human-Animal Intimacies. New York: Berg.
  55. Kohler, Robert. 1994. Lords of the Fly: Drosophila Genetics and the Experimental Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  56. Krech, Shepard, III. 1999. The Ecological Indian: Myth and History. New York: W.W. Norton.
  57. Landry, Donna. 2008. Noble Brutes: How Eastern Horses Transformed English Culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  58. Lansbury, Coral. 1985. The Old Brown Dog: Women, Workers, and Vivisection in Edwardian England. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
  59. Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1963. Totemism. Boston: Beacon Press.
  60. Lovejoy, Arthur O. 1936. The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  61. Lutts, Ralph H. 1990. The Nature Fakers: Wildlife, Science and Sentiment. Golden, CO: Fulcrum.
  62. MacKenzie, John M. 1988. The Empire of Nature: Hunting, Conservation, and British Imperialism. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  63. Manning, Aubrey and James Serpell, eds. 1994. Animals and Human Society: Changing Perspectives. New York: Routledge.
  64. Mason, Jennifer. 2005. Civilized Creatures: Urban Animals, Sentimental Culture, and American Literature, 1850-1900. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  65. McEvoy, Arthur F. 1986. The Fisherman’s Problem: Ecology and Law in the California Fisheries, 1850-1980. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  66. McShane, Clay and Joel A. Tarr. 2007. The Horse in the City: Living Machines in the Nineteenth Century. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  67. Melville, Elinor G. K. 1994. A Plague of Sheep: Environmental Consequences of the Conquest of Mexico. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  68. Midgley, Mary. 1984. Animals and Why They Matter. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
  69. Mighetto, Lisa. 1991. Wild Animals and American Environmental Ethics. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
  70. Mitman, Gregg. 1999. Reel Nature: America’s Romance with Wildlife on Film. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  71. Nash, Roderick F. 1989. The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
  72. Noske, Barbara. 1997. Beyond Boundaries: Humans and other Animals. New York: Black Rose Books.
  73. Pflugfelder, Gregory M. and Brett L. Walker, eds. 2005. JAPANimals: History and Culture in Japan’s Animal Life. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan.
  74. Philo, Chris and Chris Wilbert, eds. 2000. Animal Spaces, Beastly Places: New Geographies of Human-Animal Relations. New York: Routledge.
  75. Phineas, Charles. 1974. “Household Pets and Urban Alienation.” Journal of Social History 7:338-43. [A parody whose real target is a certain kind of Marxist historiography, but still worth reading.]
  76. Plumwood, Val. 1993. Feminism and the Mastery of Nature. New York: Routledge.
  77. Rader, Karen A. 2004. Making Mice: Standardizing Animals for American Biomedical Research, 1900-1955. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  78. Raffles, Hugh. 2010. Insectopedia. New York: Pantheon.
  79. Ritvo, Harriet. 1987. Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  80. Ritvo, Harriet. 1997. The Platypus and the Mermaid, and Other Figments of the Classifying Imagination. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  81. Robbins, Louise E. 2002. Elephant Slaves and Pampered Parrots: Exotic Animals in Eighteenth-Century Paris. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  82. Rothfels, Nigel, ed. 2003. Representing Animals. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  83. Rothfels, Nigel. 2002. Savages and Beasts: The Birth of the Modern Zoo. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  84. Schrepfer, Susan R. and Philip Scranton, eds. 2004. Industrializing Organisms: Introducing Evolutionary History. New York: Routledge.
  85. Serpell, James. 1986. In the Company of Animals: A Study of Human-Animal Relationships. New York: B. Blackwell.
  86. Shepard, Paul. 1996. The Others: How Animals Made Us Human. Washington, DC: Island Press.
  87. Singer, Peter. 1975. Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals. New York: Avon.
  88. Singer, Peter. 1998. Ethics into Action: Henry Spira and the Animal Rights Movement. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  89. Spiegel, Marjorie. 1996. The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery, rev. and expanded ed. New York: Mirror Books.
  90. Swabe, Joanna. 1999. Animals, Disease, and Human Society: Human-Animal Relations and the Rise of Veterinary Medicine. New York: Routledge.
  91. Tester, Keith. 1991. Animals and Society: The Humanity of Animal Rights. New York: Routledge.
  92. Thomas, Keith. 1983. Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England, 1500-1800. London: Allen Lane.
  93. Todes, Daniel. 2002. Pavlov’s Physiology Factory: Experiment, Interpretation, Laboratory Enterprise. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  94. Tuan, Yi-Fu. 1984. Dominance and Affection: The Making of Pets. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  95. Turner, James. 1980. Reckoning with the Beast: Animals, Pain, and Humanity in the Victorian Mind.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  96. Tyler, Tom and Manuela Rossini, eds. 2009. Animal Encounters. Boston: Brill.
  97. Walker, Brett. 2005. The Lost Wolves of Japan. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  98. White, Richard. 1994. “Animals and Enterprise.” In The Oxford History of the American West, ed. Clyde A. Milner II et al., 237-73. New York: Oxford University Press.
  99. Wolfe, Cary, ed. 2002. Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  100. Wolfe, Cary. 2003. Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Author: Etienne

Historian of science, technology, animals, and the environment.