Oliver Lazarus

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University

2023 to 2024
Research Fellow

Domesticating Empire: American Power and the Industrialization of Life

My dissertation locates the foundations of the exponential growth in domestic animal life in the U.S. government’s attempts to industrialize and globalize an American model of industrial animal agriculture. Building on recent work that has located the formation of the American state in environmental and agricultural management programs in the late nineteenth century, I trace how the state-led industrialization of nonhuman life acted as a form of spatial management that meshed with U.S. global interests in the twentieth century. From establishing a model of colonial agricultural governance in the Philippines that sought to remake Filipino workers, its countryside, and its animals along American Midwestern lines, to ensuring the growth of animal agriculture throughout Latin America, to liberalizing land laws in the Global South, my dissertation examines the USDA’s work to create a global environmental infrastructure that ultimately supported state and private livestock interests over environmental and human health.