Brian Caton on "The Invisible Animal and the Visible Institution"

Brian Caton describes his Fall 2012 sabbatical research on animals in India in his latest essay, published in the Fall 2013 edition of Agora: Luther College in Conversation. It is entitled, "The Invisible Animal and the Visible Institution: The Government Cattle Farm, Hissar, 1800-1845."

His essay begins with the following, thought-provoking paragraph:

"Animals are all around us. This may seem patently obvious to students on Luther's campus, charmed by the arboreal rats perhaps better known as eastern gray squirrels, and to any urban Indian troubled by feral dogs, with their looming threat of rabid bites. But animals also have a history, which in some cases may be measured through individual lives but most often can be traced through generational shifts. For example, in the past fifteen years, vultures have disappeared from north India's skies and house sparrows from its grounds--the former a result of overuse of antibiotics in cattle, whose carcasses formed a major portion of vultures' former diets, and the latter a result of causes not yet clear, though massive urbanization and motor vehicle use are likely to have made a contribution."

Brian Caton joined the Luther faculty in 2003 and is an associate professor in the history department, teaching courses on South Asian and environmental history. Caton is involved in numerous scholarly societies including the American Institute for Pakistan Studies and the Society for Advancing the History of South Asia,  where he is both a founding member and a member of the executive committee. He was instrumental in creating a new minor in Asian Studies at Luther and he will be the director of Luther's Nottingham Study Centre in 2014-15.