What was it like to be a cow? History and animal studies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter outlines where the history of animals is now, and suggests where it and the historiographical issues raised by the inclusion of animals in a study of the past might go in the future. The chapter traces shifts in the idea that animals recorded in textual documentation are always and only human representations, looks at the potential for animals to be historical agents and at the questions of animal agency and the possibility of recovering an animal's point of view in historical work using the findings of animal welfare science. It also engages with the nature of the documents available to historians of animals, and uses some contemporary theoretical work—particularly that of Vinciane Despret—to think about new ways of engaging with the intraspecific and interspecific encounters of animals and humans in history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Animal Studies
EditorsLinda Kalof
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9780199927142
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2017


  • animal studies
  • animal historiography
  • representation
  • agency
  • point of view
  • animal welfare science
  • interspecific encounters
  • intraspecific encounters


Dive into the research topics of 'What was it like to be a cow? History and animal studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this