Organizer. Pig Out: Hogs and Humans in Global and Historical Perspective. Yale University. October 16, 2015 - October 18, 2015
The Yale Program in Agrarian Studies is thrilled to announce an international conference,
scheduled for October, 2015, which will will examine the role of pigs in human society in
comparative cultural and historical perspective. Presenters will be drawn from around the
world and across academic disciplines, including the natural, agricultural, and environmental
sciences; the humanities; and journalists, activists, and public intellectuals.
Across cultures and through time, pigs have worked their way into human communities,
urban and rural, and, in the process, have become the consummate intimate companions of
humans. Even in communities that prohibited the consumption of pig flesh, cohabitation
generated a complex symbolic economy: taboos on pork rested on both revulsion at the
“filth” of swine and recognition of the pig’s similarity and intimacy with humans.
Recognizing the complexity of this interspecies intimacy is a necessarily interdisciplinary
and cross-cultural endeavor. To avoid reducing the “problem of the pig” to either
contemporary controversies about meat or a universal symbolic economy of animality, we
will explore the pig in a range of methodological, historical, and geographic styles.
This conference will ask: What role did pigs have in the development of the earliest settled
agriculture and, thus, the emergent power relations of prehistoric human communities?
How have the political management and biological transformation of pigs been linked? How
do swine fit within and help to constitute both urban and rural ecologies? How stable are the
boundaries between the natural boar and the domesticated swine? How has the
domestication of swine, in turn, changed human culture? How has the symbolic economy of
the pig varied over time and across cultures? How, in particular, have religious beliefs
conditioned and been conditioned by the symbolic and material circulation of swine? In sum,
this conference poses these questions by stressing how pig bodies, animal agency, and
human politics are intertwined. We hope to see you there!
Service Performed By
October 16, 2015 - October 18, 2015
Service or Event Name
Pig Out: Hogs and Humans in Global and Historical Perspective
Location or Venue