Ecologies of Beef: Epizootics, Science, and Society in Eighteenth-Century Venice


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project investigates the history of epizootics in eighteenth-century Venice. By examining the political and scientific debates surrounding the health of livestock, it shows that the eighteenth-century revolution in agrarian productivity that set the stage for the economic and social transformation of Europe in the following centuries relied in part on the ability of western Europeans to shift the environmental costs of large-scale stock keeping onto central Europe, thereby preserving valuable arable land for staple crops. It also argues that the experience of regular and devastating outbreaks of zoonotic diseases provided an important impetus for the establishment of veterinary medicine as a distinct science.