restricted access American Cows in Antarctica: Richard Byrd's polar dairy as symbolic settler colonialism


Few people are aware that dairy cows form part of Antarctic exploration history. Richard Byrd's second expedition of 1933–35 took with it three Guernseys, ostensibly to provide milk for the men. We outline the cows' Antarctica experience, discussing the way in which their celebrity benefited the expedition and its sponsors. Contextualizing the episode within the cultural history of milk in the US, we suggest some lenses through which the Guernseys can be read. These cows, we argue, enabled Byrd to enact a form of symbolic settler colonialism on the Antarctic continent.