Sheep-work: food empires and pastoral resistance in the Intermountain West

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department English
Author Savage, Katy
Title Sheep-work: food empires and pastoral resistance in the Intermountain West
Date 2010-12
Description The following thesis is an attempt to analyze current and historical patterns of violence through the lens of a species of domesticated animal--sheep. I begin by setting down some founding provisions of the economic, political, and social systems within which sheep-work emerged, briefly tracking some of the historical roles sheep have played in the displacement, alienation and domination of other humans by others, from the time of sheep-domestication to the Mormon conquest of Utah. In this trajectory, sheep, embodying cultural ideals of „property? and „work,? show themselves repeatedly as able tools of land-theft and genocide. This analysis then opens the way to explore how these same beasts, and the same attempts to set down the meanings of 'property' and 'work,' have been necessary for resistance movements to these atrocities, which clarifies the central importance of food-economies in political and racial conflict. This sets the stage for my second chapter, which explores the forces of oppression in modern sheepwork and its related industries, linking this oppression back to the historical devaluation of food-work. Finally, because I write this in the urgency of ecocide, the privatization of the last remaining peasant commons, and the disappearance of agricultural skills in a forced march to the cities, my last chapter focuses on the paths of resistance brought to light by this analysis of sheep-work. Those same concepts of 'property' and 'work' which have for millennia been tools in the abuse of both humans and ecosystems open themselves up for radical renegotiation by 'neo-pastoralists' and other food activists. This reconceptualizing work, carried out by those in active solidarity with both farmworkers and small farmers, holds out the promise of forming pragmatic, functioning communities where ecological care is born out of human egalitarianism and joined labor on the land, rather than through the urban-centered coerciveness of federal mandates which seek to 'preserve' Nature by clearing 'wilderness' of those who work there.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Animal ethics; Environmental justice; Pastoralism; Property; Sheep; Utah; Shepherds
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Master of Arts
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Katy Savage 2010
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 710,725 bytes
Source original in Marriott Library Special Collections ; SF16.5 2010 .S38
ARK ark:/87278/s6fj2xhq
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2012-04-24
Date Modified 2018-03-15
ID 194551
Reference URL