Hunters, Herders, and Hamburgers: The Past and Future of Human-Animal Relationships / Edition 1

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Overview

Richard W. Bulliet has long been a leading figure in the study of human-animal relations, and in his newest work, Hunters, Herders, and Hamburgers, he offers a sweeping and engaging perspective on this dynamic relationship from prehistory to the present. By considering the shifting roles of donkeys, camels, cows, and other domesticated animals in human society, as well as their place in the social imagination, Bulliet reveals the different ways various cultures have reinforced, symbolized, and rationalized their relations with animals.

Bulliet identifies and explores four stages in the history of the human-animal relationship-separation, predomesticity, domesticity, and postdomesticity. He begins with the question of when and why humans began to consider themselves distinct from other species and continues with a fresh look at how a few species became domesticated. He demonstrates that during the domestic era many species fell from being admired and even worshipped to being little more than raw materials for various animal-product industries. Throughout the work, Bulliet discusses how social and technological developments and changing philosophical, religious, and aesthetic viewpoints have shaped attitudes toward animals.

Our relationship to animals continues to evolve in the twenty-first century. Bulliet writes, "We are today living through a new watershed in human-animal relations, one that appears likely to affect our material, social, and imaginative lives as profoundly as did the original emergence of domestic species." The United States, Britain, and a few other countries are leading a move from domesticity, marked by nearly universal familiarity with domestic species, to an era of postdomesticity, in which dependence on animal products continues but most people have no contact with producing animals. Elective vegetarianism and the animal-liberation movement have combined with new attitudes toward animal science, pets, and the presentation of animals in popular culture to impart a distinctive moral, psychological, and spiritual tone to postdomestic life.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement - Juliet Clutton-Brock

Bulliet has an impressive knowledge of archaeozoology and the history of human relationships with animals.

Utne - Scott Carlson

Bulliet's writing is irreverent seasoned with humor, and sprinkled with pop references that draw in nonscholarly readers.

Washington Post - Glynis Ridley

This provocative thesis is arresting in its originality.

Ecologist - Mark Thompson

You may never look at a pet, or a burger, in quite the same way again.

Science Books & Films - Linda Wiener

The book is notable for many stimulating and original ideas.

Anthropological Forum - Barbara Noske

This is an original, well-written and fascinating work, a riveting read.

Technology and Culture - Edmund Russell

This book is a welcome addition to the literature... We need more such works.

Booklist

A precisely researched, logically presented, and candidly intriguing apologia for humankind's inconsistent relationship with animals.

Times Literary Supplement
Bulliet has an impressive knowledge of archaeozoology and the history of human relationships with animals.

— Juliet Clutton-Brock

Utne
Bulliet's writing is irreverent seasoned with humor, and sprinkled with pop references that draw in nonscholarly readers.

— Scott Carlson

Washington Post
This provocative thesis is arresting in its originality.

— Glynis Ridley

Ecologist
You may never look at a pet, or a burger, in quite the same way again.

— Mark Thompson

Science Books & Films
The book is notable for many stimulating and original ideas.

— Linda Wiener

Anthropological Forum
This is an original, well-written and fascinating work, a riveting read.

— Barbara Noske

Technology and Culture
This book is a welcome addition to the literature... We need more such works.

— Edmund Russell

Glynis Ridley
… Bulliet is never less than intensely thought-provoking. One can only hope that publishers will be beating a path to his door -- giving us the prospect of more food for thought.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Columbia University historian Bulliet (The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization) admits he is not "a scientific researcher in the field of animal studies," but his book presents a provocative look at human-animal relations that offers a heady but highly readable mix of anthropology, archeology, zoology, environmentalism and philosophy. His main argument is that we live in an era of "postdomesticity" in which people live far away, "both physically and psychologically," from the animals whose food and hides they rely on. The bulk of the book is a look at various stages of human-animal relationships from antiquity to today, with remarkable explorations of related issues, such as the real-and nonnutritional-reason for human consumption of milk, and the way the industrialization of animal exploitation has caused a "spiritual and imaginative impoverishment of our outlook on the animal world." But what will surely cause the biggest controversy is Bulliet's fascinating argument that an "increasing fascination with fantasies of sex and blood" among post-WWII Americans is a subliminal reaction to the removal of animals other than pets-along with animal slaughter and animal sex-from their childhood experiences. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231130776
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 6/26/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard W. Bulliet is professor of history at Columbia University. He is the author of The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization; Islam: The View from the Edge; and The Camel and The Wheel and the editor of The Columbia History of the Twentieth Century.

Columbia University Press

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Read an Excerpt

We are today living through a new watershed in human-animal relations that is affecting our material, social, and imaginative lives.

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Table of Contents

1 - Postdomesticity: Our Lives with Animals2 - The Stages of Human-Animal Relations 3 - Separation: The Human-Animal Divide4 - Predomesticity 5 - Where the Tame Things Are6 - Domestication and Usefulness7 - From Mighty Hunter to Yajamana8 - Early Domesticity: My Ass and Yours9 - Late Domestic Divergences10 - Toward Postdomesticity11 - The Future of Human-Animal Relations

NotesSuggested Reading

Columbia University Press

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