Lecturer, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University
2019 to 2020
Medicine Unbridled: Veterinarians and Multispecies Statecraft, 1750-1815
My work argues that the foundation of the first veterinary schools in 1760s France was the beginning of a new type of multispecies governance at the dawn of European nationalism. Humans have been intervening on animal health since at least the beginning of livestock domestication, and military equine medicine has been crucial to statecraft throughout the early modern world, but the opening of the first schools marked the government’s acknowledgement of its dependence on the non-human inhabitants of France. Following the veterinary purview over time, I examine how different animals became “healable” and meritorious of financial and intellectual resources in the eyes of the state before, during, and after the French Revolution. Each chapter examines the addition of new animals into the category of healable, from horses to cattle, sheep, pigs, cats, dogs, and poultry, and what it reveals about importance of governing the nonhuman to European statecraft.