Abstract

The article examines meat agriculture as a site for the production of knowledge about gender, race, and sexuality that spanned human and nonhuman animals. Livestock breeders and commentators alike parsed animal bodies for their susceptibility and resistance to “race suicide,” a popular early twentieth-century concept that, when applied to humans, signaled concern that white middle-class reproduction and masculine vigor were faltering. Race suicide discourses gained traction in breeding literature precisely because animal breeding functioned as a popular laboratory of racial knowledge and biopolitical management. Porcine racial categories stabilized the rapidly reconfiguring infrastructures of American meat consumption and discourses of racial decline and contamination that included both human and nonhuman animals. These categories both reflected and constituted understandings of human race, and thus the article demonstrates how human and nonhuman racial knowledges were locked in a fluid conversation about what types of lives were livable and what types of bodies were fit to receive violence.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 49-73
Launched on MUSE
2016-03-31
Open Access
No
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