Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226562285 Published August 2018
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Animal Labor and Colonial Warfare

James L. Hevia

Animal Labor and Colonial Warfare

James L. Hevia

320 pages | 13 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2018
Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226562285 Published August 2018
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226562148 Published August 2018
E-book $10.00 to $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226562315 Published August 2018
Until well into the twentieth century, pack animals were the primary mode of transport for supplying armies in the field. The British Indian Army was no exception. In the late nineteenth century, for example, it forcibly pressed into service thousands of camels of the Indus River basin to move supplies into and out of contested areas—a system that wreaked havoc on the delicately balanced multispecies environment of humans, animals, plants, and microbes living in this region of Northwest India.
 
In Animal Labor and Colonial Warfare, James Hevia examines the use of camels, mules, and donkeys in colonial campaigns of conquest and pacification, starting with the Second Afghan War—during which an astonishing 50,000 to 60,000 camels perished—and ending in the early twentieth century. Hevia explains how during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries a new set of human-animal relations were created as European powers and the United States expanded their colonial possessions and attempted to put both local economies and ecologies in the service of resource extraction. The results were devastating to animals and human communities alike, disrupting centuries-old ecological and economic relationships. And those effects were lasting: Hevia shows how a number of the key issues faced by the postcolonial nation-state of Pakistan—such as shortages of clean water for agriculture, humans, and animals, and limited resources for dealing with infectious diseases—can be directly traced to decisions made in the colonial past. An innovative study of an underexplored historical moment, Animal Labor and Colonial Warfare opens up the animal studies to non-Western contexts and provides an empirically rich contribution to the emerging field of multispecies historical ecology.
 
Review Quotes
David Arnold, University of Warwick
“In a richly documented and skilfully constructed story of animal bio-power, Hevia investigates the role that camels and mules played in the military logistics of British India as it struggled to recover from the disaster of the Anglo-Afghan War. Moving between frontier wars and global trade, local knowledge and imperial science, he sheds fresh light on animals at war and their impressment into service of the colonial war-state. His fascinating and meticulous discussion unites the intricacies of camel culture, mule breeding, animal dietetics, and human affect, with imperial strategy, army reform, environmental transformation, and veterinary science. Transcending many more conventional histories of animals and armies, this book makes a major contribution, substantively, methodologically, and intellectually, to how we conceptualize warfare, welfare, and the animal estate.”
Warwick Anderson, University of Sydney
Animal Labor and Colonial Warfare brilliantly reveals the brutal and bestial life of British imperialism. With exceptional panache, James Hevia assembles graceful and music-loving camels, well-bred mules, maddening insects, unremitting parasites, indispensable animal handlers, and cosmopolitan veterinarians, showing us how together they structured—or disrupted—the colonial human-animal biosecurity regime. Above all, we learn how the military on colonial frontiers forged a mechanism for managing human-animal interactions and rerouting local ecologies. After reading this book, it is hard to imagine how future historians of colonial biopolitics can ever again ignore frontier ecologies and the teeming—or teaming—non-human animals that made human life possible.”
David Gilmartin, North Carolina State University
“The role of animals in colonial conquest along the northwestern frontier of British India has never been subjected to scholarly analysis of the sort provided by this path-breaking book. Showing the shifting visions of power, science, and ecology intertwined in the establishment of the new forms of state power, Hevia details how changing relations between humans and animals can provide a critical key to understanding the transformations that have marked modern colonial history.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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