The History of Human-Animal Relations (August 2017)

This essay first appeared in the August issue of Choice (volume 54 | issue 12).


Animals are everywhere. Whether as pets, pests, sources of food, fuel, or materials for manufacture, means of traction or source of motive power, or objects of veneration, fear, and wonder, animals have been our counterparts throughout human history. Only in recent years has a historical literature developed about animals and human relationships with them. This literature has been part of a larger so-called “animal turn” in the humanities, offering insights into peoples’ myriad and changing relationships with non-human animals and challenging convictions about humanity and the humanist endeavor. How we understand animals, what we understand them to be, what we unders…

View the Full Essay

About the author:

J. Wendel Cox is librarian for English and history at Dartmouth College Library.