About the Conference
Across cultures and through time, pigs have worked their way into human communities, urban and rural, and, in the process, have become the consummate intimate companions of humans. Even in communities that prohibited the consumption of pig flesh, cohabitation generated a complex symbolic economy: taboos on pork rested on both revulsion at the “filth” of swine and recognition of the pig’s similarity and intimacy with humans.
Recognizing the complexity of this interspecies intimacy is a necessarily interdisciplinary and cross-cultural endeavor. To avoid reducing the “problem of the pig” to either contemporary controversies about meat or a universal symbolic economy of animality, we explore the pig in a range of methodological, historical, and geographic styles.
This conference asks:
- What role did pigs have in the development of the earliest settled agriculture and, thus, the emergent power relations of prehistoric human communities?
- How have the political management and biological transformation of pigs been linked?
- How do swine fit within and help to constitute both urban and rural ecologies?
- How stable are the boundaries between the natural boar and the domesticated swine?
- How has the domestication of swine, in turn, changed human culture?
- How has the symbolic economy of the pig varied over time and across cultures?
- How, in particular, have religious beliefs conditioned and been conditioned by the symbolic and material circulation of swine?
In sum, this conference poses these questions by stressing how pig bodies, animal agency, and human politics are intertwined.
The conference is open to academic researchers, students, farmers, and other professionals with an interest in human-animal relationships, past and present.
Registration is free, and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. However, space is limited, and advance registration is required no later than 5:00pm EDT on Thursday, 15 October. We ask that those who register be conscientious of other participants and commit to partake actively and attentively in the majority of the conference panels. See additional information on the Registration page.
Last updated 20 October 2015 (Tuesday) at 10:06:08 EDT △