Meat, Mercy, Morality: Animals and Humanitarianism in Colonial Bengal, 1850-1920

ISBN : 9780190129132

Samiparna Samanta
288 Pages
46 x 221 mm
Pub date
Oct 2021
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This book disentangles complex discourses around humanitarianism to understand the nature of British colonialism in India. It contends that the colonial project of animal protection in late nineteenth-century Bengal mirrored an irony. Emerging notions of public health and debates on cruelty against animals exposed the disjunction between the claims of a benevolent Empire and a powerful imperial reality where the state constantly sought to discipline its subjects-both human and nonhuman. Centered around stories of animals as diseased, eaten, and overworked, the book shows how such contests over appropriate measures for controlling animals became part of wider discussions surrounding environmental ethics, diet, sanitation, and the politics of race and class. The author combines history with archive, arguing that colonial humanitarianism was not only an idiom of rule, but was also translated into Bengali dietetics, anxieties, vegetarianism, and vigilantism, the effect of which can be seen in contemporary politics of animal slaughter in India.


List of Legislations
List of Tables and Figures
Introduction: Writing Embodied Histories-Humans and Non-humans in Nature, Science, and Imperialism
1. Historicizing Humanitarianism in Colonial India
2. The Politics of Care: Veterinarians and Humanitarians
3. Meat: To Eat or Not to Eat?
4. The Anomaly of 'Animal': Unburdening the Beast
Conclusion: Liminal Boundaries, Colonial Ironies
About the Author

About the author: 

Samiparna Samanta is an Associate Professor of History at Jindal Global Law School, O. P Jindal Global University (JGU), India.

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