The rich histories that cattle have produced since the late 19th century tend to disappear behind the iconic character of the milk cow. The seminar sheds a light on a historical agent who generates businesses, organizations and research labs, for whom forage, slaughterhouses and cooling technologies are developed, who is a means and object of transportation and inspires social dispute.
Through the example of the cattle, an iconic „object“ of Swiss touristic, eoconomic and everyday historic reality, students learn how research and cultivation patterns, as well as technologies and logistics of production, transportation and consumption have evolved and changed since the late 19th century. For such an approach, they become familiarized with an “entangled-histories”-perspective, as well as with the symmetrical anthropology approach from the philosophy and sociology of technology (Latour/Callon). But above all, students learn how to read and interpret historical texts and sources on cattle as commodity, by identifying actors, interests and historical context. The fact that this commodity is a living creature, adds to the topic’s ethical complexity, but also serves the learning purpose.
Syllabus and texts will be listed and/or uploaded in the corresponding Moodle-course at the onset of the spring semester 2019.
Prerequisites / Notice
Texts and sources will be mainly in German, some in English. On a voluntary base, also French sources can be read.