Writings from 1492 to 1826 reveal that the history of animals in the Spanish empire transcended the bullfight. The early modern Spanish empire was shaped by its animal actors, and authors from Cervantes to the local officials who wrote the relaciones geográficas were aware of this. Nonhuman animals provided food, clothing, labor, entertainment and companionship. Functioning as allegories of human behavior, nonhuman animals were perceived by Spanish and Amerindian authors alike as bearing some relationship to humans. On occasion, they even were appreciated as unique and fascinating beings. Through empirical observation and metaphor, some in the Spanish empire saw themselves as related in some way to other animals, recognizing, before Darwin, a "difference in degree rather than kind."
This suite of essays is a first for historical writing about southern Africa: they recover an animal’s ubiquitous, yet hidden presence in human history. The authors have used the dog as a way “to think about human society”. The dog is the connecting thread binding these essays, which each reveals a different part of the complex social history of southern Africa.
The essays range widely from concerns over disease, bestiality, and social degradation through greyhound gambling, to anxieties over social status reflected through breed classifications, to social rebellion through resistance to the dog tax imposed by colonial authorities. With its focus on dogs in human history, this project is part of what has been termed the ‘animal turn’ in the social sciences, which investigates the spaces which animals inhabit in human society and the way in which animal and human lives interconnect.
From Capture to Sale illuminates the experience of African slaves transported to Spanish America by the Portuguese in the early seventeenth century. It draws on exceptionally rich accounts of one of the most prominent slave traders, Manuel Bautista Pérez. These papers cover the whole journey of the slaves from Africa, through Colombia and Panama to their final sale in Peru. The prime focus of the study is on the diet, health and medical care of the slaves. It will not only be of interest to scholars of the slave trade, but also to those interested in the impact of the Columbian Exchange on diets, medicine and medical practice in the early modern period. The book is well illustrated and contains over thirty tables and seven appendices.
From Capture to Sale has been selected by
Outstanding Academic Title (2007).