We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Centering Animals in Latin American History

Writing Animals into Latin American History

edited by Martha Few and Zeb Tortorici

Publication Year: 2013

Centering Animals in Latin American History writes animals back into the history of colonial and postcolonial Latin America. This collection reveals how interactions between humans and other animals have significantly shaped narratives of Latin American histories and cultures. The contributors work through the methodological implications of centering animals within historical narratives, seeking to include nonhuman animals as social actors in the histories of Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Chile, Brazil, Peru, and Argentina. The essays discuss topics ranging from canine baptisms, weddings, and funerals in Bourbon Mexico to imported monkeys used in medical experimentation in Puerto Rico. Some contributors examine the role of animals in colonization efforts. Others explore the relationship between animals, medicine, and health. Finally, essays on the postcolonial period focus on the politics of hunting, the commodification of animals and animal parts, the protection of animals and the environment, and political symbolism.

Contributors. Neel Ahuja, Lauren Derby, Regina Horta Duarte, Martha Few, Erica Fudge, León García Garagarza, Reinaldo Funes Monzote, Heather L. McCrea, John Soluri, Zeb Tortorici, Adam Warren, Neil L. Whitehead

Published by: Duke University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (277.8 KB)
pp. i-vi


pdf iconDownload PDF (45.6 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (65.0 KB)
pp. ix-xii

A number of years ago I wrote about the need for a history of animals that would allow us to comprehend more fully how far we humans were ‘‘embedded within and reliant upon the natural order.’’∞ Since that essay was published, the field of the history of animals has grown exponentially. No longer regarded as marginal or perceived as eccentric or even semiserious, the ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (62.2 KB)
pp. xiii-xiv

The individuals who have contributed to this project in its various states are numerous. Centering Animals in Latin American History began as a conference panel titled ‘‘Animals, Colonialism, and the Atlantic World’’ for the2006 annual meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory, which took place in Williamsburg, Virginia. We are grateful to the participants and ...

read more

Introduction: Writing Animal Histories

pdf iconDownload PDF (132.7 KB)
pp. 1-28

On 12 January 1563, Juan Canuc was walking with his wife to a nearby ranch for livestock grazing when they heard a number of chickens clucking on the hillside near a large cross. According to Canuc’s testimony, which was translated from Yucatecan Maya to Spanish by a court-appointed interpreter, the couple found a young boy who ‘‘had his underwear loose and was sitting on...

Part I. Animals, Culture, and Colonialism

read more

1. The Year the People Turned into Cattle: The End of the World in New Spain, 1558

pdf iconDownload PDF (147.6 KB)
pp. 31-61

In 1558—the year 1-Rabbit according to the traditional Mexican calendar—the Franciscan friar Pedro Hernández apprehended a native religious leader named Juan Teton in Xalatlauhco, a town located between Toluca and the capital of New Spain, along with the native lords of the towns of Cohuatépec and Atlapolco.1 The prisoners were brought before the archbishop of...

read more

2. Killing Locusts in Colonial Guatemala

pdf iconDownload PDF (143.4 KB)
pp. 62-92

Aside from a few insects that we see as beneficial to humans—such as lady-bugs who kill other insects destructive to flowers and crops, or bees that produce honey—when we think of insects, we often want to kill them. We kill lice that infest our children’s hair, exterminate bedbugs that colonize the mattresses we sleep on, and ‘‘dip’’ our pets to eradicate fleas and ticks that...

read more

3. ‘‘In the Name of the Father and the Mother of All Dogs’’: Canine Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals in Bourbon Mexico

pdf iconDownload PDF (131.0 KB)
pp. 93-120

In the Name of the Father and the Mother of All Dogs’’In 1770 an odd festive occurrence involving two dogs caught the attention of the Mexican Inquisition due to its heretical nature and accompanying sacramental desecration.1 According to the voluntary denunciation of twenty-eight-year-old don Juan Antonio López de la Paliza, and those of...

Part II. Animals and Medicine, Science and Public Health

read more

4. From Natural History to Popular Remedy: Animals and Their Medicinal Applications among the Kallawaya in Colonial Peru

pdf iconDownload PDF (130.2 KB)
pp. 123-148

In recent years, scholars of Latin America have produced a large number of historical works that examine medicinal uses of plants in the context of a colonial science of botany, which linked New World intellectuals to their counterparts in Spain.1 Few studies, however, have paid much attention to zoology or the exchange of animals between colony and metropole. Even...

read more

5. Pest to Vector: Disease, Public Health, and the Challenges of State-Building in Yucatán, Mexico, 1833–1922

pdf iconDownload PDF (179.1 KB)
pp. 149-179

In 1889 two young boys, Frank and Fred, otherwise known as ‘‘The Boy Travellers,’’ headed for Mexico with their guide and mentor, Doctor Bronson, to chronicle ‘‘the land of the Aztecs, its history and resources, the manners and customs of its people, and the many curious things to be seen.’’1 Such was the premise of Thomas W. Knox’s novel,...

read more

6. Notes on Medicine, Culture, and the History of Imported Monkeys in Puerto Rico

pdf iconDownload PDF (244.5 KB)
pp. 180-206

In 2007, nearly seventy years after the first large-scale importations of ‘‘old world’’ monkeys to Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth’s Department of Agriculture proposed a regulation prohibiting the importation, trade, and possession of rhesus, patas, and squirrel monkeys—three species designated as ‘‘detrimental to agricultural interests and a threat or risk to the life and...

Part III. The Meanings and Politics of Postcolonial Animals

read more

7. Animal Labor and Protection in Cuba: Changes in Relationships with Animals in the Nineteenth Century

pdf iconDownload PDF (250.5 KB)
pp. 209-242

During the 1990s, Cuba faced an acute economic crisis as a result of thecollapse of the Eastern European socialist bloc and the disintegration of theSoviet Union, the nation’s principal trade and political partners, whichabsorbed over 80 percent of the commercial relations of the only socialistcountry in the Americas. Among the most visible changes was significant...

read more

8. On Edge: Fur Seals and Hunters along the Patagonian Littoral, 1860–1930

pdf iconDownload PDF (191.7 KB)
pp. 243-269

In 1889 the Chilean president José Manuel Balmaceda signed a decree that conceded 180,000 hectares of land in Tierra del Fuego to José Nogueira, a wealthy Portuguese immigrant based in Punta Arenas, the Chilean port on the Straits of Magellan. A few months later, Mauricio Braun received a concession to 170,000 hectares of land contiguous to that of...

read more

9. Birds and Scientists in Brazil: In Search of Protection, 1894–1938

pdf iconDownload PDF (254.0 KB)
pp. 270-301

During the first decades of the twentieth century, the processes of constructing national identities in various Latin American countries were decisively linked to the sciences of the natural world. Brazil’s renewed contact with international markets through the export of coffee, bananas, cocoa, sugar, and tobacco meant that natural history and biology stood out as the...

read more

10. Trujillo, the Goat: Of Beasts, Men, and Politics in the Dominican Republic

pdf iconDownload PDF (241.6 KB)
pp. 302-328

On the first anniversary of the death of Rafael Trujillo, the dictator who ruled the Dominican Republic with an iron fist for three decades (1930–61), celebratory antitrujillistas formed a new popular fête in his honor. Called la fiesta del chivo, the feast of the goat, these rites invoked the custom of rezos or prayers on the anniversary of a loved-one’s death, while inverting them...

read more

Conclusion: Loving, Being, Killing Animals

pdf iconDownload PDF (103.5 KB)
pp. 329-346

Since the appearance of Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation (1975), followed by Tom Regan and Singer’s Animal Rights and Human Obligations (1976), an incremental but clearly visible shift in the public view of human-animal relations has occurred, inspired by a growing output of books, articles, and films, the appearance of organizations and grassroots movements, and life-style...

Recommended Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.8 KB)
pp. 347-356


pdf iconDownload PDF (71.6 KB)
pp. 357-360


pdf iconDownload PDF (144.5 KB)
pp. 361-391

E-ISBN-13: 9780822397595
E-ISBN-10: 0822397595
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822353973
Print-ISBN-10: 0822353970

Page Count: 405
Illustrations: 20 photographs, 1 table
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1