Keeping Economies Alive: Animals, Medicine, and the Domestication of the French Empire, 1761-1814
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CitationHeintzman, Kathryn. 2019. Keeping Economies Alive: Animals, Medicine, and the Domestication of the French Empire, 1761-1814. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation tells the story of the foundation of Europe’s first veterinary schools in France in the 1760s as a turning point in the history of capitalism and empire. A new effort by the French monarchy to formalize their economic dependence on nonhuman inhabitants redefined the set of labourers who were central to agriculture and industry and redirected state services toward livestock, an idea which spread quickly throughout Europe. Focusing primarily on the first two schools, the École vétérinaire de Lyon and the École vétérinaire d’Alfort, I examine how the different iterations of Enlightenment governance across the French Revolution reconceptualized the importance of nonhuman animals to statecraft and then to nationalism, and I argue that veterinary medicine’s institutionalization ushered in a new mechanism for the state to either reify or challenge social dichotomies—urban/rural, metropolitan/colonial, foreign/exotic, local/national, and monarchial/republican. Based on multilingual research in more than 70 archives across Western and Central Europe and the Indian Ocean, I recast the political changes associated with the Enlightenment as a multispecies affair that reappraised the value of nonhuman life, the difference between protecting lives and ensuring quality of life, and how large structural forces, like capitalism and industrialization, creep into human-animal relations and medical science.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42106916
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