Humanimalia | Breed | automne 2018

Humanimalia, vol. 10, n° 1, Fall 2018 ; Special Issue: Breed. Edited by Kristen Guest and Monica Mattfeld


Humanimalia is a peer-reviewed, online journal, published twice a year at DePauw University.

Numéro complet en ligne (pdf disponibles) :


Breed: Introduction

Humanimalia Roundtable on Breed with Margaret Derry, Donna Haraway, Donna Landry, Harriet Ritvo, and Sandra Swart

Richard NashA Perfect Nicking Pattern

The ideological underpinnings of the Early Modern practice of animal breeding that brought into being the animal now designated as the thoroughbred horse are explored here by attending to the terminology and original meaning of a breeding theory that persists even in contemporary practice, albeit in a dramatically altered form from its eighteenth-century origins.  A significant component of today’s multi-billion dollar commercial breeding industry is a tool of analysis known as attention to “nicking patterns”— patterns that inform decisions about managed breeding of stallions and mares. Moving quickly beyond a brief discussion of how nicking patterns function today to locate the origin of this theory in Early Modern Animal Breeding practice; the discussion proceeds to illustrate how this practice keeps in play a series of underlying tensions that operate as powerfully in our current era as in the age in which the thoroughbred arose.

Michael Worboys.Inventing Dog Breeds: Jack Russell Terriers

Today Jack Russell Terriers (JRTs) are among the most popular dogs in Britain and are seen to have long history, dating back to the fox terriers bred by Parson Jack Russell in the early and mid-Victorian period. Yet, JRTs are the dog breed most recently recognized by the British Kennel Club, only being allowed to enter dog shows and to be registered in the Club’s stud book since 2016. This essay explores this paradox and tells the story of struggles between different groups over the physical form and cultural meaning of this particular type of dog, but similar histories of the contested and contingent creation could be told of every dog breed. Modern dog breeds were invented materially and culturally in the Victorian era, first in Britain before being spread around the world. Then and since, the conformation of individual breeds has been subject to continual reimagining and reinvention by dog fanciers, along with the proliferation breeds to produce the 344 breeds now recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). History shows that breed could have been differently conceived and specific dog breeds differently made.

Scout Calvert. Ready for the Robot: Bovines in the Integrated Circuit

Situating cows as co-laborers in global technology sectors, “Ready for the Robot” explores the predicament of cows working as robot operators, information workers, and data producers. The data cows produce shape the conditions in which they work, including their own bodies, as statistical evaluations of cattle abstract profitable traits and warp their connection to breed. Milking robots are posited as providing freedom to dairy cows, but this is far from guaranteed. Rather, cow bodies are programmed to fit the limitations of the robot and the routines of the automated farm, coding that breaches categories of breed. Drawing on Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto, this article argues for a “cowborg politics” that shapes technology for new research questions and methods that produce genuinely better working conditions for cows and their human companions and co-workers.

Jeannette Vaught.A Question of Sex: Cloning, Culture, and Legitimacy Among American Quarter Horses

Quarter Horses are considered one of the earliest and most enduringly popular breeds of horse that is “native” to the United States.

The American Quarter Horse Association formed as a breed registry in 1940, and set clear rules for what horses could be called Quarter Horses in its stud book. In 1940, no reliable methods of human-assisted equine reproduction existed, so the stud book rules governing acceptable horse congress were designed to regulate physical sexual encounters between horses in order to prevent genetic fraud. However, in a more recent age of DNA identification and the proliferation of reproductive technologies, the AQHA studbook’s rules for equine mating have come under pressure.

In fact, after several years of legal back-and-forth on whether to allow cloned horses to be eligible for AQHA registration, the AQHA denied that clones could be Quarter Horses, and rewrote its studbook parentage requirements to explicitly state that a registered horse must have two parents — one male, one female.  Echoing the rhetoric of contemporary anti-gay marriage legislation such as the 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, the AQHA objected to the inherent queerness of cloning, and retreated to conservative ideas of an offspring’s legitimacy. This essay traces the contentious debate about the place of cloning in a breed-defining studbook — one that is historically invested in American cultural traditions tied to conservative definitions of family and kin (whether human or animal) that support heteronormative sex. The example of Quarter Horse cloning situates this technology as a key marker of the biological Anthropocene, and illuminates cultural ideas that have shaped what it means to breed and to be a breed.  Cloning cracks open the foundations — genetic and cultural — that have supported the ties between “America” and “America’s Horse,” and offers a broader examination of its redemptive potential in light of its challenge to conservative definitions of a life form’s legitimacy based on its parentage.

Karin Bolender. If Not for Her Spots: on the art of un/naming a new ass breed

This essay explores an interdisciplinary art practice of un/naming rooted in the complex fascination of one human artist with a special breed of domestic beast of burden, known as the American Spotted Ass. Through almost two decades of creative adventures — and, more importantly, daily care and intimate becomings with one gentle, wise tri-colored donkey and her herd of kin — this practice has explored fertile cracks found within hidden histories and colorful promises of this peculiarly “American” ass breed. For all the critical questions and biopolitical frissons that append to the act of splattering spots onto the hides of unassuming Equus asinus, I reckon here with a certain complicity, with knotty shames and passions borne in the privileges of breeding domestic species to suit cultural and personal tastes. After all, it was those troublesome spots that brought me to meet her in the first place, and so to live long and happily with a beloved barnyard companion, one special so-called spotted ass respectfully (un)named Aliass.

Other articles

Erica Von Essen. “We Need to Talk…” Evolving Conversations about Wildlife Ethics in Hunting Media

Paul HansenFuzzy Bounds: Doing Ethnography at the Limits of the Network and Animal Metaphor

Review Articles

John MacNeill MillerMeat Cultures (Carol J. Adams, Burger; Ted Geier, Meat Markets: The Cultural History of Bloody London)

Stephanie TurnerArtists Unsettling Anthropocentrism (Giovanni Aloi, Speculative Taxidermy: Natural History, Animal Surfaces, and Art in the Anthropocene)


Annie Potts (Ed.), Meat Culture (Carrie P. Freeman)

Anna Tsing, Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan, Nils Bubandt, Eds. Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene (Nathaniel Otjen)

Julian Yates, Of Sheep, Oranges, and Yeast: A Multispecies Impression (Martin Wallen)

Karoliina Lummaa, Kui trittitii! Finnish Avian Poetics (Ann-Sofie Lönngren)

Human Animal Research Network Editorial Collective, editors. Animals in the Anthropocene: Critical Perspectives on Non-Human Futures (Christopher V. Dolle)

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Honorine Tellier (2018, 17 septembre). Humanimalia | Breed | automne 2018. Animots. Consulté le 21 juin 2024, à l’adresse

Honorine Tellier

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