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Meat, Modernity, and the Rise of the Slaughterhouse
Paula Young Lee, ed.

Becoming Modern: New Nineteenth-Century Studies

New Hampshire
2008 • 320 pp. 51 b&w illus. 6 x 9"

$50.00 Hardcover, 978-1-58465-698-2

“One of the very few books we’ve seen on this subject. An unexpectedly fascinating collection of essays by historians, geographers, economists, and even an architectural historian (who is the general... [continued in Reviews below]”—Kitchen Arts & Letters

An interdisciplinary look at the rise of the slaughterhouse in nineteenth-century Europe and the Americas

Over the course of the nineteenth century, factory slaughterhouses replaced the hand-slaughter of livestock by individual butchers, who often performed this task in back rooms, letting blood run through streets. A wholly modern invention, the centralized municipal slaughterhouse was a political response to the public’s increasing lack of tolerance for “dirty” butchering practices, corresponding to changing norms of social hygiene and fear of meat-borne disease. The slaughterhouse, in Europe and the Americas, rationalized animal slaughter according to capitalist imperatives. What is lost and what is gained when meat becomes a commodity? What do the sites of animal slaughter reveal about our relationship to animals and nature? Essays by the best international scholars come together in this cutting-edge interdisciplinary volume to examine the cultural significance of the slaughterhouse and its impact on modernity.

Contributors include: Dorothee Brantz, Kyri Claflin, Jared Day, Roger Horowitz, Lindgren Johnson, Ian MacLachlan, Christopher Otter, Dominic Pacyga, Richard Perren, Jeffrey Pilcher, and Sydney Watts.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“One of the very few books we’ve seen on this subject. An unexpectedly fascinating collection of essays by historians, geographers, economists, and even an architectural historian (who is the general editor), covering France, Germany, Britain, the United States, and Mexico. The subjects range from technology to sanitation to humanitarian concerns, with rich material on the culture and traditions of the abbatoir.”—Kitchen Arts & Letters

“The centralized municipal slaughterhouse found in 19th century . . . was a modern invention . . . This interdisciplinary collection of essays . . . focuses on the effects of establishing slaughterhouses, meat commodification, and hygienic-slaughter practices in France, Germany, Britain, the United States, and Mexico.”—University of Chicago Magazine

“The centralization of animal slaughter and meat processing and marketing was a common late nineteenth-century experience in many industrial societies. A sense of this experience’s geographical range is provided in this handsomely produced and illustrated volume, with essays in three parts: France and Germany; Britain; and the US and Mexico . . . For assembling this material . . . the book’s editor should be congratulated.”—The Economic History Review

“This book is a unique compilation of articles that chronicle the transition of the meat processing industry in the nineteenth century. The collection illustrates the change from individual, community-based butchering to a centralized, municipally controlled process. Readers who enjoyed the popular books of Michael Pollan, Erich Schlosser, or Peter Singer would be drawn to this.”—The Social Science Journal

“This collection presents a cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary exploration of the emergence of industrialized animal slaughter, a disturbing and evocative subject that also reveals a great deal about less-hidden aspects of modern societies.”—Harriet Ritvo, Arthur J. Conner Professor of History, MIT

“Where’s the beef? This fascinating collection of essays gives some surprising and troubling answers. In its struggles to regulate animal slaughter, to make meat safer and its slaughter more sanitary, the 19th-century city sought desperately to create a modern metropolis. These scrupulously documented studies remind us that blood, guts, and entrails also figure in the civilizing process."—Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, Columbia University

PAULA YOUNG LEE teaches Art and Architectural History at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and is the author of a number of scholarly articles.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:02:10 -0500