Volume 8, Number 1 - Fall 2016


Daisy Domínguez

At the Intersection of Animal and Area Studies: Fostering Latin Americanist and Caribbeanist Animal Studies1

In her article “The Chicken or the Iegue: Human-Animal Relationships and the Columbian Exchange,” Marcy Norton contrasts the European human/beast hierarchy with the Caribbean and Central and South American indigenous institution known as iegue, where a tamed animal or human child is adopted, and the more essential distinction is tame/wild, regardless of species. Norton argues that Amerindians’ relationship with adopted non-human animals, rather than biology or wild mammal scarcity as writers like Jared Diamond suggest, is the reason these animals were not domesticated or consumed, leading her to question domestication as a “Eurocentric (or Eurasian-centric) modernization narrative” (30-31, 54-55). “By recovering iegue,” she writes, “we can destabilize domestication and the narrative of teleological, Eurocentric historical progress that goes along with it” (55). Her insightful study suggests ways that Native cultures may have influenced our understanding of the notion of “pets” and bolsters the case for using the Humanities as a way to debate contemporary animal personhood. It also questions the primacy of non-nativeand non-Nativeways of seeing (56-57). Norton’s study is an example of the innovative possibilities of Animal Studies scholarship that intersects with Area Studies.

Because Area Studies scholarship often deals with the history and legacy of colonialism, Area Studies-based Animal Studies offers opportunities to learn about intersecting systems of discrimination and oppression across species, race, ethnicity, and gender. Those familiar with Latin American and Caribbean2 history will logically seek and definitely find parallels between the exploitation of animals and humans in the colonization of the Americas. However, as Norton shows, these intersectional studies also offer other possibilities.

Area Studies-based Animal Studies scholarship, which is more likely to examine non-European epistemologies, also brings us one step closer to challenging our current perception of humankind’s relationship to animals because it forces us to shift and expand our understanding of the world. Likewise, connecting these two fields may serve as a way to recover the historical relationships to non-human animals of a multiplicity of cultures. Despite the influence of the European animal protection society model on its Latin American counterparts, Area Studies scholarship might uncover prioreven ancientnative examples of animal benevolence, like Indian Emperor (and Buddhist) Ashoka, who issued the world’s first known animal protection edict in the third century BCE (De Mello 396).

We might also reveal unexpected power dynamics between colonizers who lacked knowledge of native animals and the environment, and were therefore dependent on indigenous peoples’ knowledge. In “Global Entomologies: Insects, Empires, and the ‘Synthetic Age‘ in World History,” Edward D. Melillo concludes that

…the histories of shellac, silk and [Mexican] cochineal — coupled with the stories of their cultivators and consumers — have much to tell us about under-studied aspects of globalization, especially the unacknowledged dependencies of “the West” upon indigenous knowledge from outlying geographical regions and unfamiliar ecosystems. (269-270)

In the same vein, Sara Vicuña Guengerich argues that Spaniards’ inability to tame bison in colonial North America made them dependent on Pueblos and Plains Indians for bison products (266, 268).

As a historian, I decided to find the English and Spanish language3 Animal Studies histories related to Latin America published in the last decade and to examine to what extent these works were fulfilling the promise of this type of intersectional scholarship. I have included Animal Studies histories of nonhuman animals or species as well as histories that examine humankind’s relationships with nonhuman animals. At times, I make references to works related to colonial Spain when they contain references to “New World” animals and the American Southwest prior to U.S. annexation because of the Spanish influence there. I do this because it provides a fuller picture of anything whatsoever available related to Latin America. While animals have been an integral part of life in pre-Columbian indigenous civilizations and all communities in Latin America since, scholarship that describes or acknowledges these encounters and relationships alone does not constitute Animal Studies scholarship. This paper deals with Animal Studies proper, which I will explain in more detail below, but which basically means scholarship that makes human-animal relationships a central part of its argument. The fact that I felt the need to broaden my scope in this way underlines one of the findings of this paper: that we need to encourage more Animal Studies history scholarship relating to and emanating from Latin America.

As a librarian, I am also interested in ways that libraries can encourage this scholarship. The latter part of this paper provides a snapshot of library holdings at the intersection of Latin American Studies and Animal Studies. I discuss some ways that Animal Studies and Latin American Studies perspectives can inform the classification of monographs and the descriptions of special collections for better access. Finally, I offer examples of collection development efforts that would both support and encourage Animal Studies scholarship.

Animals in Latin American History. As may be seen in their artistry, cuisine, medicine, and in the spiritual realm, Pre-Columbian cultures held animals in high regard and had a close connection to them. To cite but a few examples, Aztecs offered an array of animalsincluding mollusks, fish, quetzals, snakes, wolves, jaguars, pumas, and crocodiles (which indicate extensive trade networks) to the Aztec gods Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli (Urbanus 16). Certain animals, like guinea pigs and spondylus in the Central Andes, were considered a high status food or used in jewelry and as currency, respectively (LeFebvre and de France 18). In his Letters, Cortes describes the many types of birds that lived in Moctezuma's ornamental gardens and pools, as well as all the fish it took to feed them: “Three hundred men were in charge of their feedingthey consumed daily 250 pounds of fish, taken from the lake surrounding the cityand there were also ‘veterinarians’ who attended the sick birds” (De Asúa 27-8).

Arriving European explorers, government officials, missionaries, and scientists also observed and admired Latin American and Caribbean animals, and have written about them with different ends in mind. Spanish imperial surveys, or relaciones geográficas, and other relaciones discussed how European livestock were faring in the Americas and mostly dealt with animals in terms of their economic value or liability and usefulness (Alves 10, 202-6, 211). Some chroniclers used animal products to judge social status, deeming those who hunted and/or ate cow and pig more civilized than those whose diet consisted mostly of vegetables and animals like snakes or locusts (Pavao-Zuckerman and Loren 207).

As indentured and free indigenous peoples, enslaved and free Africans and Afro-descendants, arriving Spaniards, and other immigrant groups formed what have become Latin American and Caribbean cultures, each group has contributed its own understandings to form new relationships vis-à-vis nonhuman animals. Free and enslaved Africans and Afro-descendants in seventeenth century Colombia and the Caribbean used hens and roosters as part of their curative practices (Restrepo 40-42). Animals feature prominently in works of literature, from the Popol Vuh, the K’iche Maya creation story, to contemporary Mayan folktales (Rodríguez-Mejía and Sexton). Since pre-Colombian times, Mesoamerican indigenous peoples have believed in nahualli and tonalli, concepts related to the projection of human souls onto animals and animal counterparts, respectively, both having undergone mythical and religious syncretism since the period of Contact (Musgrave-Portilla 3-4). Latin Americans have a long history with nonhuman animals. However, Latin American Animal Studies scholarship is a more recent phenomenon.

Latin American and Caribbean Animal Studies. Animal Studies scholarship4 began to emerge in the mid-1980s. It examines human-animal interactions and relationships and may also extend to concern for the plight of nonhuman animals. In her seminal chapter “A Left-Handed Blow: Writing the History of Animals,” the influential Animal Studies scholar Erica Fudge discusses the impossibility of writing a true history of animals because animals are unable to leave documentation. Indeed, this void is behind one of the key debates in the field; to wit, whether histories of animals can only be representational and anthropocentric since animals do not leave the types of documentation that historians are used to using, and because of our inability to understand them in any case.

For the most part, historians writing on this subject do not interpret non-human animals as having agency in the same way that humans do. In her work on colonial Guatemala, for example, Martha Few argues that while locust swarms did not have agency or sentience, they were nevertheless “historical agents” because the considerable amount of destruction they caused forced human response (69). However, some scholars, like Jason Hribal, are bolder in their claims, analyzing, for example, how draft animals actively resisted abuse at the hands of their human masters.5 In her more recent essay “Renaissance Things,” Fudge conceptualizes the history of animals much more broadly, allowing even inanimate animals some level of agency. By bringing Actor Network Theory and Thing Theory to bear on Animal Studies, she argues that even animal products, which form objects in subject-object relationships, assert themselves by altering how subjects perceive themselves (41-56).6 Including historical inquiries of “objectified animals, that is, animals living or dead” (44) in our understanding of Animal Studies is an important shift because it encourages analysis of the main way that many people see or (sometimes unconsciously) interact with animals: as objects. “Without human intention, and indeed potentially against human intention, the animal-made-object can be seen from [Thing Theory] perspective to construct new meanings, beings, and relationships,” Fudge writes (45), thereby opening up many more possibilities for us to consider nonhuman (and human) animals.

Previously, Fudge created a threefold classification system for animal histories: intellectual, humane, and holistic. In brief, intellectual histories are those that primarily focus on how humans have perceived animals. Mid-twentieth century animal histories, which predate the emergence of Animal Studies, can largely be classified as intellectual because they tended to be chronological histories about how national or regional species or fauna were used in the colonization of the Americas. These works include Robert Moorman Denhardt’s The Horse of the Americas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1947) and John Grier Varner and Jeannette Johnson Varner’s Dogs of the Conquest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983). More recent examples include Miguel Rodríguez’s Tras las Huellas del Perro Indígena: Estudio arqueológico del llamado perro “mudo” de nuestros indios Taínos7 (Hato Rey, Puerto Rico: Publicaciones Puertorriqueñas Editores, 2007), an archaeological and historical study that traces the pre-Columbian dog in Puerto Rico. Dunmire's New Mexico's Spanish Livestock Heritage: Four Centuries of Animals, Land, and People (University of New Mexico 2013) is a history of the economies, transformations, and conflicts that surrounded the introduction of Spanish livestock into the Caribbean, Mesoamerica, and later, present-day New Mexico, once part of Spanish-ruled New Spain. Although Dunmire is not concerned with human-animal relationships like the others, his history evinces how important European livestock was to the colonization and development of cultures in the New Worldas food, transportation, clothing, fertilizer, soap, barter, and as agricultural workers.

This foundational research is necessary but differs in kind from studies that analyze human-animal relationships and what these say about us as humans. Fudge labels these “humane histories.” Animal Studies scholarship in this category often questions human exceptionalism and human/animal or wild/domestic binaries (Few and Tortorici 5). Historians debate how new methodologies might support a “history from below” or one that uses interdisciplinary scholarship in an attempt to see from the animals’ perspective.8 Because Latin Americanist scholarship has until recently dealt more with animals in symbolic or representational terms (Few and Tortorici 7), this questioning of anthropocentric thinking might seem more prevalent in North American and European scholarship, which includes more histories related to animal welfare and companion animals.

However, as recent scholarship makes clear, animal welfare is not a new concern for Latin Americans.9 There are several examples of Latin American animal advocates and thinkers who pondered animal well-being. Mexican novelist José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi’s El Periquillo Sarniento, written in the early 19th century, includes a denunciation of bullfighting on humane grounds (Gómez-Centurión Jiménez 173; Alves 198-9). Several images of Latin America’s patron saint of animals, San Martin de Porres, depict the cleric feeding multiple speciesa dog, a cat, a mouse, and sometimes a birdwho are normally seen as enemies.10 While Alves notes that this symbolically served as a socio-political metaphor for inter-human harmony (176-177), Porres really did minister to animals. Further, Latin American animal protection societies go back to at least 1882 in Cuba (Funes Monzote 220).11 Funes Monzote and Exbalin Oberto both mention less formal public concern for both livestock in mid-19th century Cuba and the killing of stray dogs in mid 19th century Mexico, respectively (Funes Monzote 222; Exbalin Oberto 108).

The 19th and early 20th centuries saw various efforts to institutionalize animal welfare. Reinaldo Funes Monzote’s chapter on the Cuban Society for the Protection of Animals and Plants of the Island of Cuba (Sociedad Protectora de Animales y Plantas de la Isla de Cuba) traces how the writing of a variety of professionals made the case for animal welfareon anthropocentric grounds such as hygiene and the effect animal cruelty had on mankind’s humanity, as well as making connections between slavery and cruelty toward children (225, 234). The multiplicity of motivations behind animal welfare initiatives also relates to Mauricio Alejandro Goméz's article “Legislación e higiene veterinaria: Medellín, 1913-1926,” where he notes that despite the creation of an animal protection society for animals in Medellín, Colombia in 1917, veterinary science was used to protect human, not animal, health (and primarily concerned with urban areas which is where the modernist discourse of progress played out). An example of research that straddles Fudge’s “intellectual”/“humane” divide is Regina Horta Duarte’s chapter on the bird protection movement in early 20th century Brazil, which discusses the influence of both European and North American feather consumption patterns and foreign bird conservation organizations and campaigns on Brazil. Her article also discusses the way that birds in early 20th century Brazil were anthropomorphized with qualities that writers aspired for children, women, and citizens (290-292). Birds were portrayed as “tireless collaborators in the greatness of the nation, ‘little workmen’,” and compared to the “citizen-worker who, in struggling for his own individual wealth, would never, even for a moment, cease to fight for the wealth of the nation as well” (290).

Silvia Urich’s Los perritos bandidos: la protección de los animales de la Ley Sarmiento a la Ley Perón, seeks to unearth the history of Argentina’s robust animal welfare movement which stretches back until at least the late 19th century and, along with Cuba, is the longest standing animal welfare movement in Latin America.12 Although Urich states that her book chronicles the Argentine animal welfare movement and not the animals themselves, I would argue that it is a “humane” history because it documents how people concerned with animals not only perceived the latter, but actively defended them. The revelation that two of Argentina’s most well known presidents, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1868-1874) and Juan Domingo Perón (1946-1955, 1973-1974), played important roles in this movement will perhaps be of interest to a wider readership. Sarmiento was responsible for the first march for animals in the Plaza de Mayo, and petitioned against the reintroduction of bullfights in Buenos Aires; Perón was an animal lover and petitioned for the animal protection Penal Law that passed in 1954. Urich shares fascinating insights into the peculiarities of and dissonance within the Argentinian animal welfare movement. One of these is the discourse surrounding bullfighting. While President Sarmiento viewed the practice as an unnationalistic colonialist imposition (34-6), President Carlos Pellegrini would later argue that it was necessary in order to moderate Argentinian virility (65). Another interesting twist is that early in the movement Sarmiento promoted the national zoo and deemed it as the ideal destination for visitors celebrating Animal Day, until later when zoos were deemed cruel institutions (101-2).

While Animal Studies scholarship related to Latin America and other parts of the world holds the promise of debunking myths that concern for animal welfare is derived from Europe, I should note that currently the literature mostly evidences how the European animal protection society model influenced similar societies in Latin America. In Los perros bandidos, for example, Urich uncovers collaborations between the British Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty toward Animals, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and their counterpart in Argentina, the Sociedad Argentina para la Protección Animal, including their mutual fight to improve the condition of horses by way of new shoes and water fountains (42). This connection complicates my optimism about home-grown animal benevolence, as well as animal welfarists’ historical recognition of intersecting systems of oppression, since even in Latin America animal welfare societies were historically dominated by white elites (whether nationals or Europeans) and have advocated for animal welfare while evincing bias and disregard toward the lower classes (Horta Duarte 281; Funes Monzote 221).

Fudge’s third category, the “holistic” history, is defined as one that goes the furthest by problematizing and helping us question what it is to be human. The strongest example of this type of historical scholarship is Gazir Sued’s Tiranía antropocéntrica: historia de la crueldad contra primates no-humanos en Puerto Rico, 1936-2012,13 a passionate and well-researched history of the U.S.-supported primate monkey colonies of Puerto Rico. Tracing their history as far back as the late 1930s when the Indian government as well as American and Indian animal welfare advocates protested the exportation of monkeys to the Americas on religious and cultural as well as humane grounds (43, 46), Sued meticulously documents the importation, maintenance, and experimentation on these primate populations, detailing the many cases of death by malnutrition, suffocation, and dehydration. Throughout, he argues that much of the experimentation purportedly carried out for the benefit of humans has really just been cloaked in scientific rhetoric. Examples of their mistreatment and torture include releasing monkeys into new territories without adequate provisions to test their ability to adapt to a new environment (147-9); deliberately injuring them to test foregone conclusions, as when monkeys are asphyxiated before (or after) birth to discover whether this will cause mental retardation or learning defects (125); deliberately blinding them to test their survival and development (192-3); and surgically giving the monkeys brain lesions in order to observe their subsequent behavior: the monkeys were attacked or pushed out by their peers and eventually died (158-9). Sued’s conclusion, an impassioned plea for the Puerto Rican and human population to rethink our relationship with these and other captive animals, such as those in the Puerto Rican national circus, squarely situates his work within Critical Animal Studies (CAS), which has been differentiated from Animal Studies as being more explicitly concerned with animal liberation. This monograph is also remarkable because CAS tends to be dominated by social scientists.

Interestingly, the two most recent major works on animal welfareeither as a movement (Urich) or as the impetus behind his research (Sued)are in Spanish. By contrast, a significant amount of current English language scholarship relates to the Columbian Exchange. Latin American scholars’ proximity to local archival materials in Latin America, coupled with the relative novelty of Latin American and Caribbean-based Animal Studies scholarship, might explain these diverging tendencies. It will be interesting to track whether these interests merge as Animal Studies becomes more widely encouraged and accepted as a path of scholarly inquiry. These English language scholarly works cover a wide gamut of study, including animals as vectors of disease;14 cases of bestiality; the environmental impact that Old World animals had on the human and animal populations of the Americas; and more symbolic work on ways that Europeans interpreted the Americas through its animals or how indigenous peoples viewed European animals. In The Animals of Spain: An Introduction to Imperial Perceptions and Human Interaction with Other Animals, 1492-1826, Abel A. Alves analyzes the scholarly writings of 16th century scholars Francisco de Vitoria and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, who discussed animal-human hierarchies as a means to argue for indigenous peoples’ standing in the Spanish empire (Alves 49). In his chapter “The Year the People Turned into Cattle: The End of the World in New Spain, 1558,” León García Garagarza discusses the eschatological concerns that led the 16th century indigenous Mexican diviner Juan Teton to exhort his people not to eat or wear products derived from European animals, so that they would not be turned into the same at the end of their cosmic cycle (31-61). In his study “Los perros de la guerra o el ‘canibalismo canino’ en la conquista,” Ricardo Piqueras Céspedes relates how European dogs used by conquistadors to terrorize, subdue, and kill indigenous peoples, homosexuals, traitors, women who were unwilling to submit to sexual coercion, and for sheer sport (193-4).  By deeming these dogs (some of whom became so famous that we still know their names: Becerillo in Puerto Rico; his son, Leoncico, from Santo Domingo; and Bruto in Florida) “canine cannibals,” the author implicates the colonizers for using the dogs as proxies during the early years of colonization and later dismissing them, once Indians became essential as tributary labor and the dogs became a menace to livestock (191-192, 196, 200).

Like much of the most thought-provoking Animal Studies scholarship, recent works centering on the period of Contact involve epistemological questioning. As Miguel de Asúa and Roger French note in A New World of Animals: Early Modern Europeans on the Creatures of Iberian America, historical research on the Contact period involves analyses of colliding cosmologies where, for example, Europeans tried to make sense of and to name animals unknown to them (xv). In The Animals of Spain, Alves discusses how the 18th century Mexican historian Francisco Javier Clavijero countered claims (by the Comte de Buffon and Cornelius de Pauw) that animals of the Americas were inferior, by challenging the Linnaean classification system and pointing to various large indigenous animals such as guanacos (Alves 206-8).

Latin Americanist histories of animals also often examine and make parallels between human and nonhuman animals’ experience of colonialism and imperialism in the same way that Animal Studies scholarship that is not Area Studies-based makes parallels between the exploitation of animals and women or enslaved peoples. Martha Few uses locust extermination campaigns in colonial Guatemala as a way to examine the broader colonialist project of subduing not only human populations, but also the environment and animals (83-4). In his article “Colonialism and Wildlife in Belize,” Richard R. Wilk critiques an urban European population that reinforced the peripheral status of rural populations through culinary and extractive hunting practices:

The hunt brought men together in sociable groups, emphasized colonial racial boundaries, and dramatically symbolized the dominion of white men over the landscapes which the Empire had conquered and controlled. In many parts of the empire the hunt was a dramatically public event which enlisted ranks of local people as beaters, bearers and servants, and involved a series of ceremonies and rituals. It often violated local customs or taboos and led to the destruction of crops and property (9).

How Can Librarians Foster Animal Studies Scholarship? As a Latin Americanist librarian with a background in Latin American Studies, History, and Library Science, I would like to note some trends in how this scholarship is being cataloged, collected, and referenced. The Animal Studies literature within the field of Latin American Studies is still relatively new, which requires collection development librarians to actively seek this material out. Using traditional methods like catalogs, databases, and finding aidswhich in turn involves the leadership of catalogers, book dealers, and archivistsis a good start. I hope this assessment will help not only librarians who are building collections and helping patrons at their institutions, but other scholars who may be correctly convinced that there is more out there on their topic if only they could find it.

Of particular concern to anyone interested in seeing these works more broadly disseminated is the issue of how they are cataloged. This is obvious to librarians who help other scholars at the point of need or who, in their collection development capacity, are building collections for these scholars’ (future) needs. But it is also important for scholars who are searching for these books on their own because the subject headings assigned to books are pathways to those books. The more accurate those subject headings are, the easier it will be to find those books.

Most academic library books are cataloged in the online catalog WorldCat using the Library of Congress classification system, which means that their call numbers are assigned based on one of the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) used to describe them. These are all the LCSH I was able to compile for existing histories of animals in the Caribbean and Latin America (excluding animal products). I use brackets where there are multiple possibilities as in species, animal name, country, territory, or century:

[Species/Animal name][Country/Territory]History.
Animal culture[Country/Territory][Province/State]History.
Animal rights movement[Country/Territory]History.
Animal welfare[Species/animal name/Country/Territory]History.
Animal welfareLaw and legislation[Country/Territory]History.
Animal welfare[Country/Territory]History.
AnimalsLatin AmericaHistory.
AnimalsSymbolic aspectsLatin America.
Bestiaries[Country/Territory][History and criticism].
Domestic animals[Country/Territory]History.
Human-animal relationships[Country/Territory/Latin America] History.
Human-animal relationships[Country/Territory/Latin America]History[#] century.
Livestock -- [Country/Territory]History
Pets -- [Country/Territory]History.
Pets -- [Country/Territory]History[#] century.
Primates as laboratory animals[Country/Territory]History.
Wildlife conservation[Country/Territory]History.

Using critical theory to question oppressive systems in librarianship, librarians writing within the field of Critical Librarianship have discussed how subject headings and controlled vocabulary may contain implicit prejudice (Drabinski, 198-9; Morales, Knowles, & Bourg, 445). In the majority of the examples above, the subject headings are classified using a “Country/Territory/Latin America” structure, thereby prioritizing national boundaries. This is problematic for pre-Columbian civilizations and contemporary ethnic groups who straddle multiple nations. To classify their relationships with animals by nation-state is to falsely demarcate the extensiveness of their epistemologies both in the present and historically. Below, I include some subject headings I found for books that are not Animal Studies histories in order to show that there are indeed some LCSH which include civilizations or ethnic categories with or without regard to nation-state.

Animals[Country]Nomenclature [(Popular)]Dictionaries[Language, including indigenous languages]
[Civilization/ethnic group]15Domestic animals.
Indians of MexicoEthnozoology 
Indians of South AmericaDomestic animals[Country][Province]

These monographs classified by ethnic group, however, do not include as many subheadings, but rather choose separate LCSH to achieve their goal. For example, one is more likely to find a book with a LCSH such as “Animals,” “Animals in art,” or “Marine animals in art” used in addition to an LCSH related to a civilization or ethnic group such as “Nahuatl languageTexts.” It is surprising that there is no LCSH for “Human-animal relationships[Civilization/Ethnic group]history,” which gives the impression that indigenous peoples do not have ancient relationships with and knowledge of animals.

The Animal Studies histories subject headings above are on a par with the LCSHs for histories of animals in the United States and Great Britain, except that the latter include a few more headings, as well as variations and granular information or subheadings, noted in bold below:

Animal welfare[Country]History[#] century.
Animals and civilization[Country/Continent]History[date]
Animals and history.
Domestic animals[Country]History[#] century.
Domestic animalsSocial aspectsEnglandHistory19th century.
Human BeingsAnimal NatureHistory.
Pet owners[Country][City]History[date].
PetsSocial aspects[Country][City]History19th century.
Pet ownersHistory.

As more histories are written, more variations on these LCSHs should follow, but the prioritization of nation-state over civilization or ethnic subheadings is something that could be rectified in the short term.

Cumbersome for scholars is the interesting fact that Spanish-language monographs may not be consistently classified with English-language Library of Congress Subject Headings, and may therefore be overlooked. Monographs are also not always classified with Spanish-language  subject headings, and even when they are there is no consistency, since there is no one standard for Spanish language subject headings, or encabezamientos (Kreyche 390).

The issue of language may not be unique to the cataloging of histories of animals but rather, Latin Americanistand  more broadly, some area studieslibrarianship. Monographs are also not always classified using French or Portuguese subject headings, let alone indigenous language subject headings. In order to truly make this (and all) scholarship accessible to all and to build upon the work of indigenous language revitalization projects, multilingual subject heading standardization would be a very welcome endeavor.

For this study related to Spanish-language scholarship, the following is a list of some of the encabezamientos I was able to find that relate to animal welfare. Interestingly, some headings only include the nation-state Spain rather than [País] as a subheading because no Latin American countries were classified under that heading.

Animales domésticosEn el arte.
Animales domésticosEn la literatura
Animales domésticosHistoriaSiglo XVIII.
Animales exóticosEspaña.
AnimalesProtección[Derecho][España].
AnimalesDerechos.
Animales, Trato de los[Derecho/Protección][País].
Animales de laboratorio.
Animales en vías de extinciónProtección[Países de la Unión Europea]. Animales silvestres[País/Territorio]Historia.
AvesProtección.
Bienestar animal[Derecho][País].
Bienestar animalDerecho comunitario
Bienestar de los animales[País].
Corridas de torosAspectos morales.
Derechos de los animales[País].
Experimentación con animalesAspectos morales.
FaunaProtección.
Industria agropecuariaAspectos morales y éticos.
Mamíferos en vías de extinción[Países de la Unión Europea].
PerrosChileSantiago.
Relaciones hombre animal[Aspecto religioso/Aspectos éticos][Iglesia Católica].
Responsabilidad por daños de animalesEspaña.
Trato de los animales[Aspectos jurídicos/ Aspecto(s) moral(es y éticos)/Aspectos psicológicos/Aspecto religioso][País].
Trato de los animales[Legislación][País].

Only one of the histories of animals that is germane to this study, Lydia Vázquez and Juan Manuel Ibeas Altamira’s Perros y gatos del Rococó, was classified with encabezamientos alone. The book relates to Spain, but I would like to use it as an example because it is probably not a coincidence that it is also the only book I could not obtain via inter-library loan, as there were no circulating copies in North America. In other words, it is possible that monographs only cataloged with these Spanish language subject headings do not receive as much visibility or attention as do those cataloged with LCSHs. It is important for librarians and other scholars who are searching for more animal histories to seek out possible encabezamientos because this strategy may unearth overlooked books. With such an encouraging and rich list of Animal Studies related encabezamientos, it is interesting to note that the majority of them do not denote histories (and therefore the books thus classified were not included in this study).

Although the recent English-language monographs discussed in this paper are held at several hundred libraries, the 2012 and 2013 Spanish-language titles are held at only 4 and 5 libraries, respectively, despite having been classified with (English-language) LCSHs (see table below). Since these two monographs were published in Puerto Rico and Argentina, respectively, and not by academic presses, it is possible that they were overlooked because they were left out of library approval plans. These plans, used by librarians to coordinate their acquisitions with book dealers based abroad, outline the types of material published in Latin America and the Caribbean that will be acquired by a library. If Animal Studies is not currently a category in library approval plans, one way to be an advocate for this field of study is to request that book dealers include it in library profiles.

WorldCat Holdings for the Most Recently Published Animal Studies Books


Title

Holdings

LCSHs used to classify these books

Sued, Gazir. Tiranía antropocéntrica: historia de la crueldad contra primates no-humanos en Puerto Rico, 1936-2012. San Juan, Puerto Rico: La Grieta, 2012. Print.

4

PrimatesPuerto RicoHistory.
Animal welfarePuerto RicoHistory.
Primates as laboratory animals Puerto RicoHistory.
Rhesus monkeyPuerto RicoHistory.
Patas monkeyPuerto RicoHistory.

Urich, Silvia. Los perritos bandidos: la protección de los animales de la Ley Sarmiento a la Ley Perón. Buenos Aires: Catálogos, 2013. Print.

5

Animal welfareArgentinaHistory.
Human-animal relationships ArgentinaHistory.
Animal welfareLaw and legislation ArgentinaHistory.
Animal rights movementArgentinaHistory.

De Asúa, Miguel and Roger French. A New World of Animals: Early Modern Europeans on the Creatures of Iberian America. Burlington:Ashgate, 2005. Print.

214

AnimalsLatin AmericaHistory.

Few, Martha and Zeb Tortorici, eds. Centering Animals in Latin American History. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013. Print

362

AnimalsLatin AmericaHistory.
Human-animal relationshipsLatin America.
AnimalsSymbolic aspectsLatin America.

Dunmire, William W. New Mexico's Spanish Livestock Heritage: Four Centuries of Animals, Land, and People. Albuquerque: University of Mexico Press, 2013. Print.

552

LivestockNew MexicoHistory.
LivestockSpainHistory.
Domestic animalsNew MexicoHistory.

Alves, Abel A. The Animals of Spain: An Introduction to Imperial Perceptions and Human Interaction with Other Animals. Boston: Brill,2011. Print.

962

Human-animal relationshipsLatin America.
Human-animal relationshipsSpain History.
AnimalsSpain.

Librarians have been critical of the LCSH system for being chauvinistic, classist, heteronormative, and more (Drabinski 198-9; Schroeder 62). Librarians interested in Animal Studies would add speciesism to that list, objecting to how anthropocentric many subject headings are, for their main interest is how animal lives affect human lives rather than the other way around. One way we might begin to decenter the human in Animal Studies related descriptors is to attempt to classify from animals’ perspective. For example, I have yet to see a descriptor that relates two or more nonhuman animals or species as in the subject heading “Human-animal relationships.” Another example of human privilege is the neutral LCSH assigned to Sued’s disturbing account of primate research in Puerto Rico: “Primates as laboratory animalsPuerto RicoHistory.” From the primates’ perspective, the descriptor terminology might include words like “confinement,” “crimes against,” “cruelty,” “torture,” or “violence against.” There are indeed LCSHs for “Domestic animalsCrimes against” and “Pets Crimes against,” which is a start, but these indicate humans’ selective relationship with companion animals. The broader subject headings “Animal Rights,” “Cruelty to animals,” and “Speciesism” do exist. However, these subject headings may not be used when cataloging an animal history related to institutions that are deemed benign or neutral by some and cruel by others, like circuses, research laboratories, and zoos, among others.

Another example of anthropocentric thinking relates to scholarship that centers on microbes and insects, which are not uniformly classified as Animal Studies, even while scholars concede that these animals, like mammals, are “inadvertent historical actors” (McNeill 3). Martha Few discusses the methodological and theoretical difficulty of writing about insects, animals not seen as worthy of protection or conservation (64). The LCSHs for John Robert McNeill’s Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620-1914 offer a case in point:

Human ecologyCaribbean AreaHistory. 
NatureEffect of human beings onCaribbean AreaHistory. 
Yellow feverEnvironmental aspectsCaribbean AreaHistory. 
MalariaEnvironmental aspectsCaribbean Area -- History. 
EpidemicsCaribbean AreaHistory. 
MalariaCaribbean AreaHistory. 
Yellow feverCaribbean AreaHistory. 
MosquitoesCaribbean Areapathogenicity.
Ecological and Environmental ProcessesCaribbean Region.

The only subject heading that refers to the mosquito itself is not referenced as a history, as would be the case with other nonhuman animals. There is a tendency for historians to see insects as pests (Melillo 238) or objects of study in the LCSHs they are assigned:

FliesControl [State][County]History20th century.
Insect pestsHistory.
Insects as carriers of diseaseHistory.
MosquitoesControl[Country]History[century].
TephritidaeResearchHawaiiHistory.

This tendency seems related to the insect in question and the region being covered. For example, insects like bees, beetles, and butterflies, which have better reputations where humans are concerned, have less menacing LCSHs:

Entomology[Country]History.
Bees[Region]History.
BeesReligious aspects.
Beetles[Country]Religious AspectsHistory.
Butterflies[Country]History[Century].
InsectsReligious AspectsHistory.
Introduced insectsAustraliaHistory.
Stag beetles[Country]History.

Entomology-related subject headings, which often refer to animal products, offer some examples on how Animal Studies descriptors may be expanded to integrate histories of “things.” By also monitoring monographs about animal products, we can keep abreast of material of interest to Animal Studies scholars, even though those items may not be considered Animal Studies themselves. Below are some examples of animal product LCSHs:

Bee culture[Country/State]History.
ButterfliesCollection and preservation[Country]History.
Leather industry and trade[Country]History.
Lepidopterology[Country]History.
MothsCollection and preservation[Country]History.
Silk [industry][Country]History.
Silk weaving[Country]History.

The subject-heading discussion above relates to monographic classification in catalogs, but this study includes many articles as well. My bibliographic approach to these intersecting fields of study has afforded me a newfound respect for the importance of area studies databases, which is where we generally turn to find research on a much more focused level: articles and, sometimes, isolated book chapters not found in monographic records for anthologies. General databases do not do justice to all the francophone, hispanophone, and lusophone Animal Studies scholarship in Latin American Studies. Databases such as the Hispanic American Periodicals Index (or HAPI) index foreign language material not covered in predominantly English language databases, and work alongside other complementary full text databases such as the Red de Revistas Científicas de América Latina y el Caribe, España y Portugal (or RedALyC). Although history articles in Animal Studies are not plentiful, archaeological scholarship that would be of interest to Animal Studies scholars is particularly well covered. Area Studies scholars should not consider a search complete until they have consulted specialized databases in order to counter the tendency to focus on English language material alone.

Scholarship in indigenous languages continues to be marginalized since “advanced search” features do not regularly include Native languages as options. It may be that this is related to the low scholarly output in indigenous languages or to the staff’s lack of fluency in these languages. Including these languages as options would signal a more inclusive environment and would be another act of advocacy, because it would mean that these organizations not only cared to actively seek this material out, but also that they hired fluent speakers to catalog this material specifically.

Collection Development. Latin Americanist historians writing animal histories are conducting research using a wide array of specialized and archival sources, such as hunting manuals, sugar-production handbooks, ornithological texts, fashion magazines, ship logs, travel accounts, recetarios, and hybrid alphabetic and pictographic annals. Sources also include some novel finds, like historical accounts written not by historians but by research scientists at the rhesus macaque and patas monkey research colony in the Cayo Santiago islet of Puerto Rico (Ahuja 198). There are undoubtedly a myriad books that may be mined for different perspectives on all sorts of historical human-animal relationships. Below, I note some of the ones that have occurred to me:

1. Historical indigenous language dictionaries serve as “ethnographic compendia” (Norton 37) through which colonial historians (and others) investigate the ways that colonial indigenous peoples named and therefore understood both Amerindian and European animals. These dictionaries are a basic component for an Animal Studies collection.

2. Librarians should collect the writings of several key scholars and naturalists, such as the Comte de Buffon and Father Feijoo, who are repeatedly referenced by historians because of their writings on nature and fauna, and seek out Latin American scholars who have written on this topic.

3. Replicas of manuscripts like the Florentine Codex or Guamán Poma de Ayala’s Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno, which are widely held at academic libraries, contain animal imagery and text that help to decipher how pre-Columbian and newly colonized societies perceived nonhuman animals in practical, spiritual and symbolic terms. A robust collection of this nature would undoubtedly expand our understanding of pre-colonial and colonial animal-human relationships and interactions.

4. Contemporary ethological research is important to Animal Studies scholars who are trying to better understand animal behavior.

5. While Norton advises scholars to be conscious of tendencies to use contemporary anthropological (and ethnographic) scholarship to “upstream,” or overlay past indigenous societies with a timeless “ethnographic present,” or not allow for local and regional variations (35-36), these works are indeed used to write interdisciplinary animal histories because they help historians understand indigenous perceptions of nonhuman animals.

6. There are a host of monographs from other disciplines, which will be useful to Animal Studies scholars. To name only a few: archaeological works could lead to knowledge of spiritual, culinary, and other practices involving animals; artwork, including postcards and photography, are often used as primary source material; and environmental research that discusses such things as pesticides and the endangering of animal habitats can be closely tied to this field of study as well.

7. It would be impossible to list all the types of publications related to animal products that would be of interest to Animal Studies scholars, but some include cookbooks; books on clothing and fashion; and medical/veterinary books detailing such things as animal tissue valves and animal testing.  There are likewise many types of archival materials one could list, but some examples would be documents that list pre-Columbian tributary animal products, and documentation from obrajes where forced indigenous labor was used to create textiles, likely dyed using insects.

8. Police records, import/export ledgers and documentation, and legislative archives are other broad categories that would be of interest to Animal Studies scholars as a way to trace animal-related crimes, trade, and laws.

9. On a more panoramic note, research related to Central America and South America (with the exception of Argentina) is sparse. More bibliographic sleuthing may be warranted to discover research on these areas or to unearth primary documentation that will make it possible.

Archival and Special Collections. There are several ways that archivists can help make Animal Studies related collections more visible. The least labor intensive is to create and edit finding aids with Human-Animal Studies scholarship in mind. Because this is a relatively new field, currently held archival and special collections are likely to be of interest Animal Studies scholars, but were never described in a way that this population would find them. By including the phrase “Animal Studies” and related terminology in online descriptions to relevant collections, scholars would be more likely to find these collections. There is also work to be done in identifying and preserving historical literature. Urich, for example, identifies several key publications from the Argentinian animal welfare movement, including Mosquito, El Zoófilo Argentino (the official publication of SAPA) and Boletín de la Sarmiento (one of the other early animal protection organizations in Argentina), and in Cuba El boletín de la Sociedad Protectora de Animales y Plantas. There are most likely dozens more to be identified for many more Caribbean and Latin American nations. In addition, there may also be curricular material or material geared toward youth used in local and/or national animal awareness or animal cruelty prevention initiatives such as Brazil’s “Bird Day” proposed in 1911 (Horta Duarte 286). Librarians’ international book buying trips could include stops at animal welfare societies whose publications and records are of interest because they are related to the animal welfare movement. There are other types of documents, including ephemera, related to industries such as circuses and zoos; trade such as leather, silk, and wool; and any other number of animal products that are important to archive and preserve as well. These types of archives are of particular concern because they are more likely be found in storage or not methodically collected and not necessarily in a proper archive, as is more likely the case with material in municipal, state, or national archives that are traditionally used by scholars. Archivists (and other librarians) should advocate for these documents to be archived and possibly housed in an environment conducive to their preservation and accessibility. These unique materials are also candidates for digitization, which is of particular importance for unique periodical literature that contains articles and advertisements.

Meeting and Renewing at Shifting Intersections. A lot more needs to be produced to reach the critical mass achieved in American and European scholarship, but the Latin American-based Animal Studies histories published in the last decade demonstrate that area-based scholarship offers various innovative ways to understand marginalized human and animal cultures. Scholarship about intersectional human-animal oppression resulting from colonial and imperialist societies is important and is in fact lacking from certain regions in Latin America. Also needed are more of those histories which subvert accepted narratives and intersections, unearthing and paving ways for different epistemologies and value systems.

Caribbeanist and Latin Americanist librarians are passionate about creating well-rounded collections that cover all our regions and that include and reflect the experience of marginalized populations. Nonhuman animals may be the most marginalized yet, as they are not accorded the rights that come with humanity. Animal Studies affords us a special opportunity to acknowledge new peripheries that are farther afield than we are accustomed to going. As our gaze shifts, humanity is cast in a new light. We learn how we have related to animals and how we have treated them historically. Unfortunately, we need not go back to the original colonization of the Americas to make connections between the continued exploitation of animals and humans. To cite but one particularly ironic example with a colonialist undercurrent, the New York Times recently published an account of enslaved labor aboard fishing vessels who are used to catch seafood used in pet and livestock food in the United States.16 I also write in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement and at a time when the concerns of LGBTQ, disabled people, and other communities currently not considered normative, have made us reflect on the term “privilege” with greater nuance. One would be hard pressed to read and learn about the more poignant work in Animal Studies and Critical Animal Studies without challenging one’s own positionality vis-à-vis any number of marginalized communities. This novel field, which encourages interdisciplinarity and acknowledges intersectionality, is worthy of attention because in pushing the limits of understanding what it might mean and feel to be different, it might help prompt us to examine, evaluate, contest, and reevaluate perhaps the most abiding epistemologies of all: our own.

Notes

1. An earlier version of this paper was first presented at the 59th SALALM (Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials) Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in May of 2014. I would like to thank panel attendee and colleague David Woken for his comments during my presentation and Steven Ovadia, Zeb Tortorici and the Humanimalia editors and anonymous reviewers in particular for their generous and helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

2. All future references to Latin America include the Caribbean as well.

3. I have basic reading level knowledge of French, Kichwa (Ecuadorean dialect of Quechua), and Portuguese, and no knowledge of other indigenous languages. Were I not to have these language limitations, I would have opened this study up to other languages.

4. Animal Studies is also known as Human-Animal Studies or Anthrozoology, although the former term is the one generally used by scholars whose work stems from the Humanities (DeMello 5).

5. See Hribal, 101-112.

6. Thank you to Zeb Tortorici for pointing out this source. In her review of Centering Animals in Latin American History, Emily Wakild remarks that it is curious that Erica Fudge, a Renaissance and Animal Studies scholar, was used as a “theoretical focus” throughout that book and suggested other Anglophone scholars, if an Anglophone theorist was preferred. I think that Fudge's “A Left Handed Blow” is a seminal work in Animal Studies scholarship no matter the regional focus, but would have gladly also incorporated Latin American Animal Studies theorists in this paper if I had been able to find them.

7. The title translates to On the Trails of the Indigenous Dog: Archaeological Study of the So-Called Mute Dog of our Taino Indians (but there is not yet an English translation of the book).

8. Alves and Exbalin Oberto in particular bring ethological research to bear on their work and Marcy Norton, while cautious about historical pitfalls, does an impressive job connecting observations from the 15th through 21st centuries, particularly in the field of anthropology. The editors of Centering Animals in Latin American History also encourage historians to use methodologies from other disciplines like ethology, or the study of animal behavior; ethnography; oral history; and literary studies (Few and Tortorici 10).

9. There are also numerous active animal welfare movements in Latin America and the Caribbean today. I am monitoring #OrdenanzaAnimalesCuenca on social media, a hashtag being used by animal advocates demanding the first animal protection ordinance in Cuenca, Ecuador. A vegetarian colleague who lived in Argentina for a time raised eyebrows when acquaintances asked how he fared in that beef-loving country because they were not aware that there is a vegetarian community in Argentina. Animal Studies scholarship is also sometimes directly involved in animal welfare. However nominal, the proceeds of the anthology Centering Animals in Latin American History, for example, will be donated to Latin American animal welfare organizations (Few and Tortorici 9).

10. Incidentally, there is also at least one instance of religious figures being linked to the death of animals. The Virgin Mary, Saint Augustine, and, in particular, San Nicolás de Tolentino were historically called upon in Guatemala to repel locust swarms that endangered crops (Few 73).

11. Spain’s first humane society was created in 1872 in Cadiz (Proctor 20).

12. Animal welfare organizations were created in Uruguay in 1888; in Paraguay in 1905; and in Medellín, Colombia in 1917 (Urich 62; Gómez 190). My colleague Marisol Ramos of the University of Connecticut recently shared with me an 1876 satire by Puerto Rican writer Alejandro Tapia y Rivera entitled “Puerto Rico visto sin espejuelos por un cegato,” where he references animal welfare consciousness, suggesting that there may have been other contemporaneous movements in the Caribbean.

13. The title translates to Anthropocentric Tyranny: a History of Cruelty against Non-Human Primates in Puerto Rico, 1936-2012.

14. See J. R. McNeill, Mosquito Empire: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620-1914; Martha Few, “Killing Locusts in Colonial Guatemala”; and Heather McCrea, “Pests to Vector: Disease, Public Health, and the Challenges of State-Building in Yucatán, Mexico, 1833-1922.”

15. The categories so far include Inca, Maya, Quechua Indians, and Quijo Indians.

16. See Ian Urbina, “’Sea Slaves’: The Human Misery that Feeds Pets and Livestock.”

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