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Workers, mothers, pests: Co-evolutionary perspectives on domesticated cattle in early twentieth century North India

Price, Lloyd Edward 2019. Workers, mothers, pests: Co-evolutionary perspectives on domesticated cattle in early twentieth century North India. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis builds upon political, environmental and veterinary histories of domesticated cattle in South Asia, by offering the first study of animal husbandry in British Imperial and Hindu Nationalist discourses at the turn of the twentieth century. Drawing upon English and vernacular Hindi archives, comparative analysis demonstrates that the socio-cultural, material and environmental dynamics of animal domestication were influenced by perceptions of animal behaviour. It shows that in textbooks, reports and journals published by agriculturalists,cattle breeders and dairy farmers, four primary behaviours of cattle became the subject of competing ideas about the development and decline of cattle populations and agricultural society. These were the instincts to consume, rear, mate and live as a herd. North India offers a unique context in which to explore why colonial science and indigenous knowledge formed competing perspectives of how these behaviours contributed towards the coevolution of humans and cattle. Previous narratives shared the assumption that prior to the formalisation of animal husbandry in imperial institutions of the 1930s, human-cattle relations were unchanged from time immemorial. The purpose of this thesis is to challenge this assumption, to demonstrate that early twentieth century animal husbandry was shaped by a confluence of socio-cultural, environmental, and behavioural forces. Drawing on social, environmental, and animal histories, this thesis is able to demonstrate that changing norms of domestication were the product of compromise, interaction with and responses to, the physiology and behaviour of cattle.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Funders: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 September 2019
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2021 11:27

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