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Academic Seminars


Seeing Good Blood: Cattle Images, Cattle Breeding, and the Aesthetics of Domesticated Bodies, 1790-1860


Emily Pawley

(AAS-NEH Long-term Fellow and Ph.D. in the History of Science from the University of Pennsylvania)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 4:30 p.m.
Elmarion Room, Goddard-Daniels House
190 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Massachusetts

PRÉCIS: Between 1790 and 1860, British and American domesticated animals changed. "Purebred" animals came in new shapes and colors and were grown to enormous sizes. Breeders believed that the images that proliferated in advertisements and agricultural journals were key to these changes. Animal beauty was functional—bone structure and hair patterns indicated "dispositions" to fatten or produce milk. Accurate images could train the eye in the judgment required for correct breeding. This paper argues that animal imagery constituted a significant form of natural knowledge, linking living bodies to the rising market. Such images illuminate the ways in which bodies, including human bodies, were understood in the nineteenth century.


Refreshments will be provided after the paper, which will be followed by a dutch-treat dinner in Worcester. If you plan to attend, please notify Ann-Cathrine Rapp at AAS no later than Friday, January 29. Email her at arapp[at], or go to the calendar and electronic registration form.

The Society regrets that it is unable to make refunds after that date.

Reservations are suggested (and deeply appreciated) for attending the seminar. Reservations are required to attend the supper.