Bovines have been bred for their milk, meat, urine, fodder, blood, and their ability to carry loads for millennia. Arguably more than any other nonhuman beings, cows and other bovines have played significant roles in the global histories of nationalism, colonialism, the economy, property law, science, and technology. Their centrality in various modes of work and production was then translated into their importance in the development of knowledge of geology, ecology, bacteriology, acclimatization, nutrition, reproduction, and sexuality.
The group project is dedicated to exploring this understudied sum of phenomena through the framework of intimate knowledge. We use bovines as a “model organism” for describing the historical and contemporary place of animals and their labor in the construction of knowledge, and more specifically, in forming and in defying different notions of time and place. Members of the group seek to employ cultural studies and feminist theory approaches to study the life, use, and knowledge of bovines, and for analyzing how changing proximities with these animals have shaped our understanding of the world and what it means to be human.