Faculty Research: Dr. Janet Davis presents at national conference of the Livestock Conservancy

Detail Thaddeus Wilkerson Postcard Sheep Fold Central Park NY

Sheep grazing in Central Park.
Thaddeus Wilkerson photo postcard #53, ‘Sheep Fold, Central Park, New York’

On Saturday, November 15, Dr. Janet Davis presented an invited lecture at the national conference of the Livestock Conservancy right here in Austin. Her talk, entitled “The Cattle Drives of Wall Street and Other Stories of Urban Livestock: 1866 – 1940,” considered how animals that once roamed through city streets disappeared prior to World War II.

See her abstract here:

In the middle of the nineteenth century, livestock were everywhere in the urban United States. In the nation’s largest city, cattle drives plodded through Wall Street and sheep manicured the grass at Central Park. Livestock muscle powered city transportation and commerce. Armies of hogs rooted through mounds of garbage, while chickens scratched for bits of food. In an age before refrigeration, American stockyards, dairies, slaughterhouses, and butcher shops spawned fetid olfactory clouds.  Yet on the eve of World War II, the nation’s urban landscape had changed dramatically with the virtual disappearance of livestock. This paper explores the historical processes that led to this disappearance, including motorized transportation and cooling technologies, sanitation reform, and the rise of the animal welfare movement. This paper will also examine the cultural, social, and economic consequences of this transformation, as well as the nascent resurgence of urban livestock today.

For more information about the conference, see the Livestock Conservancy website.

Announcement: Issue 4 of The End of Austin Now Available

Photo by Randy Lewis

Photo by Randy Lewis

Welcome back to school, everyone! We’re thrilled that Spring 2014 has kicked off and we’re excited to start sharing news and views from the department once again.

What better way to begin the semester than with an announcement about a new issue of The End of Austin, one of the department’s flagship digital humanities projects? Issue number 4 contains photography, nonfiction essays, memoir, prose poetry, video, and more about topics from hitchhiking around town to this summer’s abortion rights protests at the Texas State Capitol.

This issue also features the work of two of our department members: Dr. Jeff Meikle and graduate student Susan Quesal

Go forth and take a look – and leave a comment if any of the articles pique your interest.

Security/Insecurity in the News, Nov. 8 – Nov. 22

Certified safe

It’s that time again: here are some news and links relating to security and insecurity from the last two weeks.

How Many of Your Memories Are Fake? (The Atlantic)

The Truly Paranoid Style in American Politics (New York Magazine)

Haulin’ Data: How Trucking Became the Frontier of Work Surveillance (The Atlantic)

What are cities doing to humanity? (io9)

Bartitsu, the Sherlock Holmes art of self-defense, is coming back (The Atlantic)

How do reporters deal with dark news? (NPR)

Are robots the harbingers of a new libertarian age? (Politico Magazine)

Forum: the cost of being an artist (The New York Times)

Faculty Research: Dr. Randy Lewis Appears on Good Day Austin

We’re always thrilled when American Studies projects hit the big time in the Austin community and beyond, so we’re delighted to share some news about the End of Austin digital humanities project launched last week.

end of austin post

Click the image to see the interview

This morning, Dr. Randy Lewis appeared on local Fox affiliate’s Good Day Austin to talk about the project and the changes that confront Austin. Take a look at the full conversation here!