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Breeds, Brands and Hybrids: How "Heritage Pigs" Matter

Hosted by the Department of Anthropology and presented by Brad Weiss, professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary. RESCHEDULED, WITH NEW TITLE.

Apr 17, 2017
from 04:00 PM to 05:30 PM

Andrews Conference Room, 2203 SS&H

My overarching question is: What is materialized in the category of “breed,” what concrete qualities rendered in the creation of “heritage breeds?” I argue that the distinction between “breeds” as definitive types, or categories of life, and “breeding,” a process of selection and biosocial reproduction in animal husbandry is characterized by a number of tensions that inform the production of categories like “specialty,” “pedigree,” and “heritage,” and these tensions have implications for the social conditions under which such animals are produced to circulate. It explores in some detail the history and development of a particular kind of pig, The Ossabaw Island Hog, and considers the relationships between breeds (and, crucially, hybrids) as a natural-cultural categories, heritage as a “value-added” dimension of animals, and brands as a way of knowing animals, food, and their producers.

Brad Weiss is a professor of anthropology at William and Mary and author of The Making and Unmaking of the Haya Lived World (Chicago) and Hip Hop Barbershops in Tanzania (Duke).