'과학기술사'에 해당되는 글 3건

  1. 2018.06.04 UCLA_18S_K296A_W8
  2. 2018.02.27 과학기술사 참고문헌 목록 (18년 3월 19일자)
  3. 2018.01.26 Tiago Saraiva, Fascist Pigs (2016)
독서/STS2018. 6. 4. 20:29

 History of science and technology is an ever-growing, vibrant field of historical inquiries that asks historical meanings, usages, contexts, interactions, and effects of a wide range as well as variety of hitherto untouched, or taken-for-granted, concepts and topics which have been understood in scientific and technical terms such as objectivity, chemistry, and soundscape.[1] It should be noted that this discipline, forming a part of the broad science, technology, and society studies (STS), shares a number of epistemological (asking modes of knowing entities) and ontological (studying the being of entities) assumptions and perspectives with environmental and medical histories due to certain overlapping features such as a varying degree of focusing on agency of nonhuman things and decentering endeavors that unmask the hegemonic mode of understanding.[2] Reflecting the growing social necessity of historically asking certain phenomena, colleges in the US have offered different graduate programs for those interested in history of science, technology, environment, and medicine (STEM hereafter).[3] Especially, environmental history has recently drawn a lot of attention from various fields and disciplines, for it succeeds in shifting researchers’ focuses of question to unconventional, nonhuman subjects that were crucial in shaping as well as understanding historical actualities.[4]

 Eight articles of this week clearly show the nascent status,[5] (un)popularity as well as achievements of studying history of STEM in the Korean history field. Understanding the genealogy as well as context of Korean research on STEM history seems to be necessary. However, it should be more important, I believe, to critically appreciate those articles in order to get insight, inspiration, and imagination that could altogether benefit our works.

 Dongwon Kim’s two articles with Taeho Kim’s book chapter, albeit with certain limitations in interpretations as well as narratives, hint at how history of science is done in a Korean historical context: history of modern, or Western, science has been a constant source for this endeavor and how Koreans historically tinkered with physical, chemical (agricultural), and atomic phenomena (B. Whisoh Lee, 1935-1977) should be powerful sites to be investigated. Additionally, as seen in the aforementioned texts, there are at least more than three actors that creates history together: scientists who conduct, define, and reproduce ‘science’; those (e.g. state, government, private companies) who want to put their own bridle on ‘doing science,’ by controlling the flow of funds towards scientific projects; and participants (e.g. citizens, workers, end-users) which engages with certain schemes with a varying degree of initiative, intention, and impact.

 Choi’s works in history of technology have certain dimensions in common, such as different actors and their transnational interactions with international entities (Japan and America in most cases), with history of science articles. In addition to grasping these points, closely looking at keywords of his works could be useful in appreciating the history of technology field. From my perspective, proper attention should be paid on the following terms: “a process of co-evolution” (2007, 55) and “a nuanced story” (2017, 917). It is widely recognized that both Koreas have been in rivalry during and after the Cold War period and that they have staunchly pursued economic development at the expense of their citizens and the principle of democracy. In different phases of this process, both Koreas tried to import technologies from outside, intentionally selecting and transforming them to fit in their specific systemic and technological environments. However, as every historical actor, facing an array of circumscribed options, has to change, improvise, and abandon previous technologies and relevant ideas. Choi aptly points out this by historicizing the rise of the TMS as “a process of co-evolution of political ideology and management technology” and by arguing for telling “a nuanced story” of modern Korean technology, where imported knowledge (which equals to “no innovators”) have prevented researchers from grasping the richness and diverse dynamics embedded in it.[6]

 Informed by Micah Muscolino’s concept of “the energetics of militarized landscapes,”[7] Fedman probes “the exigencies of war reconfigure the energy flows that sustain both military operations and civilian life” (Fedman, 2) by looking into how the Japanese Empire attempted to reserve, mobilize, and exploit Korean sylvan resources and to regulate the everyday lives of the Korean people via caloric control. Having a great resonance with the crafting of environmental history in the English-speaking academia, Fedman’s work provides historians with a number of possible topics such as forestry (natural resources and state power), ondol (residential environments and architectural technologies), and fuel consumption (consumption behavior, state propaganda, and conduct of war) that could be historically examined in the near future.[8]

 History of medicine is another promising field which has constantly attracted an army of researchers. Interest on history of biopolitics as well as researchers’ attention to an innumerable number of medical records as primary sources seem to partly constitute the reasons.[9] Both John and Suh, although with strikingly different timeframes, deal with Korean history of medicine through the lens of medical technology and change of the meaning of the term. As in history of science and technology, both national and transnational actors come on the stage, creatively making different moves that either crack or cement the realities they encounter. In addition, these two clearly reveal that not only the physical projection of power from the state but also variegated representations from non-state actors jointly form the changing definition of things, which urgently calls for resolutely historical investigation to be conducted.


Works Cited


David Fedman, “Wartime Forestry and the “Low Temperature Lifestyle” in Late Colonial Korea, 1937–1945,” The Journal of Asian Studies 77:2 (2018), 333-350.

Dong-Won Kim, “Imaginary Savior: The Image of the Nuclear Bomb in Korea, 1945‑1960.” Historia scientiarum: international journal of the History of Science Society of Japan 19:2 (2008), 105‑118.

Dong-Won Kim, “The Conflict between the Image and Role of Physics in South Korea,” Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 33:1 (2002), 107-129.

Hyungsub Choi, “Rationalizing the Guerilla State: North Korean Factory Management Reform, 1953–61,” History and Technology 20:1 (2007), 53-74.

Hyungsub Choi, “The Social Construction of Imported Technologies: Reflections on the Social History of Technology in Modern Korea,” Technology and Culture 58:4 (2017), 905-920.

John DiMoia, Reconstructing Bodies: Biomedicine, Health, and Nation-Building in South Korea Since 1945 (Stanford University Press, 2013). Intro+Ch 4.

Soyoung Suh, Naming the Local: Medicine, Language, and Identity in Korea since the Fifteenth Century (Harvard University Press, 2017). Intro+Ch 5.

Tae-Ho Kim, Social History of Rice in Modern Korea (Tŭllyŏk, 2017). Intro+Ch 4.

[1] Lorraine J. Daston and Peter Galisonks, Objectivity (Zone Books, 2007); Michael D. Gordin, Scientific Babel: How Science Was Done Before and After Global English (The University of Chicago Press, 2015); Emily Thompson, The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933 (MIT Press, 2002).

[2] I refer to the usage of one promising STS scholar in defining epistemology and ontology. Tiago Saraiva, Fascist Pigs: Technoscientific Organisms and the History of Fascism (The MIT Press, 2016).

[3] For instance, UCLA History department provides the “Graduate Program in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology” and one of the authors of this week, Soyoung Suh, received her doctorate from this program.

[4] Though not regarded as an environmental ‘history’ book, Timothy Mitchell’s book on oil and democracy is widely known. Timothy Mitchell, Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil (Verso, 2011). Victor Seow’s PhD dissertation is written in a similar vein with Timothy’s, but his articles deals with modern Asian history of energy and political imagination. Victor Seow, “Carbon Technocracy: East Asian Energy Regimes and the Industrial Modern, 1900-1957” (Harvard University PhD dissertation, 2014).

[5] There are only a few universities in South Korea, where researchers study history of STEM at graduate level. For example, though the “Program in History and Philosophy of Science” was established in Seoul National University in 1984, it is not unsafe to say that only a handful of STEM history students were trained so far and that the international collaboration among STEM history researchers has just begun.

[6] Gabrielle Hecht ed., Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War ((The MIT Press, 2011); Eden Medina, Ivan da Costa Marques and Christina Holmes eds., Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America (The MIT Press, 2014).

[7] For a detailed explanation of the concept, see Micah S. Muscolino, The Ecology of War in China: Henan Province, the Yellow River, and Beyond, 1938–1950 (Cambridge University Press, 2014), 4-9.

[8] Certain works could be useful for this endeavor. Seonmin Kim, Ginseng and Borderland: Territorial Boundaries and Political Relations Between Qing China and Choson Korea, 1636-1912 (University of California Press, 2017); Judd C. Kinzley, Natural Resources and the New Frontier: Constructing Modern China's Borderlands (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming).

[9] Theodore Porter, Genetics in the Madhouse: The Unknown History of Human Heredity (Princeton University Press, forthcoming).

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UCLA_18S_K296A_W8  (0) 2018.06.04
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자료/참고문헌 목록2018. 2. 27. 23:23

"고에너지 연구소의 시멘뉴슈킨이 이끄는 연구팀이 미래의 순수한 반양성자 빔을 위한 전기장치를 두고 작업하고 있다. 이 과업에서 소비에트 일꾼들은 사회주의형제국가에서 온 동지들과 협업하고 있다." (1960년 5월 10일)

이 목록은 철저하게 작성자의 취향에 따라, 가급적 2000년 이후 출간됐고 영어로 쓰인 관련 저작들 가운데 현대사/냉전사/소련사/물리학/원자력/고전 등을 기준으로 하여 정리한 것입니다. 따라서 이 목록은 과학기술사에 필요한 모든 논저를 다루지 않습니다. 예컨대, 환경사나 의학사 등 과학기술사의 중요한 축을 형성하는 주제에 대한 논저는 이 목록에 많이 담지 않았습니다. 한편 지역적으로, 중국과 일본, 월남을 주제로 한 과학기술사 단행본은 점차 증가일로에 있지만, 안타깝게도 한국/북한을 주제로 한 유의미한 단행본은 아직 찾을 수 없었습니다. 목록에 대한 여러분들의 추가 제안은 언제든 대환영입니다!

목록 사용법: '찾기' 기능을 이용해 단어별로 우선 검색을 해보시길 바랍니다.

* 출판사와 출판년도는 부정확할 가능성이 있습니다. 인용 전에 꼭 직접 확인 하십시오.

Aaron Stephen Moore, Constructing East Asia: Technology, Ideology, and Empire in Japan’s Wartime Era, 1931-1945 (Stanford University Press, 2013) (p)

Adriana Petryna, Life Exposed: Biological Citizens after Chernobyl (Princeton University Press, 2002) (p)

Alexei B. Kojevnikov, Stalin's Great Science: The Times and Adventures of Soviet Physicists (Imperial College Press, 2004) (p)

Amy E. Slaton, Reinforced Concrete and the Modernization of American Building, 1900–1930 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001) (p)

Anique Hommels, Jessica Mesman and Wiebe E. Bijker eds., Vulnerability in Technological Cultures: New Directions in Research and Governance (The MIT Press, 2014) (p)

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (Princeton University Press, 2005) (p)

Andrew Feenberg, Between Reason and Experience: Essays in Technology and Modernity (The MIT Press, 2010) (p)

Annemarie Mol, The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice (Duke University Press, 2003) (p)

Atsushi Akera, Calculating a Natural World: Scientists, Engineers, and Computers During the Rise of U.S. Cold War Research (The MIT Press, 2007) (p)

Benjamin Peters, How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (The MIT Press, 2016) (p)

Bruce J. Hunt, Pursuing Power and Light: Technology and Physics from James Watt to Albert Einstein (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005) (p)

Bruno Latour, Alan Sheridan trans., The Pasteurization of France (Harvard University Press, 1993) (p)

Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel eds., Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy (The MIT Press, 2005) (p)

Christine Hine, Systematics as Cyberscience: Computers, Change, and Continuity in Science (The MIT Press, 2008) (p)

Christopher J. Bright, Continental Defense in the Eisenhower Era: Nuclear Antiaircraft Arms and the Cold War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) (p)

Christopher R. Henke, Cultivating Science, Harvesting Power: Science and Industrial Agriculture in California (The MIT Press, 2008) (p)

Cyrus C. M. Mody, Instrumental Community: Probe Microscopy and the Path to Nanotechnology (The MIT Press, 2011) (p)

Daqing Yang, Technology of Empire: Telecommunications and Japanese Expansion in Asia, 1883-1945 (Harvard University Press, 2011)

David Edgerton, The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 (Oxford University Press, 2008) (p)

___, Warfare State: Britain, 1920-1970 (Cambridge University Press, 2006) (p)

David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy, 1939-1956 (Yale University Press, 1994)

David Joravsky, The Lysenko Affair (The University of Chicago Press, 1970) (p)

Deborah R. Coen, The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science from Lisbon to Richter (The University of Chicago Press, 2013)

Diana Coole and Samantha Frost eds., New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Duke University Press, 2010) (p)

Dick van Lente ed., The Nuclear Age in Popular Media: A Transnational History, 1945-1965 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) (p)

Dominique Vinck, Everyday Engineering: An Ethnography of Design and Innovation (The MIT Press, 2003) (p)

Donald Mackenzie, An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets (The MIT Press, 2006) (p)

___, Knowing Machines: Essays on Technical Change (The MIT Press, 1996) (p)

___, Mechanizing Proof: Computing, Risk, and Trust (The MIT Press, 2001) (p)

Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (Routledge, 1990) (p)

Eden Medina, Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile (The MIT Press, 2011) (p-i)

Eden Medina, Ivan da Costa Marques and Christina Holmes eds., Beyond Imported Magic (The MIT Press, 2014) (p-i)

Edmund Russell, Evolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth (Cambridge University Press, 2011) (p)

Edward J. Hackett, Olga Amsterdamska, Michael E. Lynch and Judy Wajcman eds., The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Third Edition (The MIT Press, 2007) (p-i)

Emily Thompson, The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900–1933 (The MIT Press, 2002) (p-i)

Ethan Pollock, Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars (Princeton University Press, 2008) (p-i)

Frederick Seitz, Stalin's Captive: Nikolaus Riehl and the Soviet Race for the Bomb (Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, 1996)

Gabrielle Hecht, Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade (The MIT Press, 2012) (p-i)

___, Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War (The MIT Press, 2011) (p-i)

___, The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II (The MIT Press, 2009) (p-i)

Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star, Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences (The MIT Press, 2000) (p)

George T. Mazuzan and J. Samuel Walker, Controlling the Atom: The Beginnings of Nuclear Regulation, 1946-1962 (University of California Press, 1984) (p)

Harry Collins, Gravity’s Shadow: The Search for Gravitational Waves (The University of Chicago Press, 2004) (p)

Hiromi Mizuno, Science for the Empire: Scientific Nationalism in Modern Japan (Stanford University Press, 2008) (p)

Hiromi Mizuno,‎ Aaron S. Moore and John DiMoia eds., Engineering Asia: Technology, Colonial Development and the Cold War Order (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018)

Ian Hacking, Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science (Cambridge University Press, 1983) (p)

James Mahaffey, Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters: From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima (Pegasus Books, 2015) (p-ii)

Janet Abbate, Inventing the Internet (The MIT Press, 1999) (p)

Janis Mimura, Planning for Empire: Reform Bureaucrats and the Japanese Wartime State (Cornell University Press, 2011)

Jenny Leigh Smith, Works in Progress: Plans and Realities on Soviet Farms, 1930-1963 (Yale University Press, 2014)

Jeremy Bernstein, One Physicist's Guide to Nuclear Weapons: A global perspective (IOP Publishing Ltd, 2016) (p-i)

Jeronim Perović ed., Cold War Energy: A Transnational History of Soviet Oil and Gas (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) (p)

Joel Andreas, Rise of the Red Engineers: The Cultural Revolution and the Origins of China's New Class (Stanford University Press, 2009) (p-i)

John Krige, American Hegemony and the Postwar Reconstruction of Science in Europe (The MIT Press, 2006) (p)

John Law, Aircraft Stories: Decentering the Object in Technoscience (Duke University Press, 2002) (p-i)

___, After Method: Mess in Social Science Research (Routledge, 2004) (p)

John Tresch, The Romantic Machine: Utopian Science and Technology after Napoloen (The University of Chicago Press, 2012) (p-i)

Jonathan Coopersmith, The Electrification of Russia, 1880–1926 (Cornell University Press, 1992) (p)

Jonathan E. Helmreich, Gathering Rare Ores: The Diplomacy of Uranium Acquisition, 1943-1954 (Princeton University Press, 1986)

Joseph Masco, The Nuclear Borderlands: The Manhattan Project in Post-Cold War New Mexico (Princeton University Press, 2006) (p)

Joy Rohde, Armed with Expertise: The Militarization of American Social Research during the Cold War (Cornell University Press, 2013)

Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Duke University Press, 2007)

Karin Bijsterveld, Mechanical Sound: Technology, Culture, and Public Problems of Noise in theTwentieth Century (The MIT Press, 2008) (p)

Kate Brown, Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2013) (p-p)

Katherine C. Epstein, Torpedo: Inventing the Military-Industrial Complex in the United States and Great Britain (Harvard University Press, 2014) (p)

Ken Alder, Engineering the Revolution: Arms and Enlightenment in France, 1763-1815 (The University of Chicago Press, 2010) (p-i)

Kerry Smith, A Time of Crisis: Japan, the Great Depression, and Rural Revitalization (Harvard University Press, 2001)

Kostas Gavroglu and Ana Simões, Neither Physics nor Chemistry: A History of Quantum Chemistry (The MIT Press, 2011) (p)

Kostas Gavroglu and Jürgen Renn eds., Positioning the History of Science (Springer, 2007) (p)

Lawrence Badash, A Nuclear Winter's Tale: Science and Politics in the 1980s (The MIT Press, 2009) (p)

___, Scientists and the Development of Nuclear Weapons (Prometheus Books, 1995)

Lorraine J. Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity (The MIT Press, 2007) (p-i)

Loren Graham, Moscow Stories (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006)

___, Science in Russia and the Soviet Union: A Short History (Cambridge University Press, 1993) (p)

___, Science, Philosophy, and Human Behavior in the Soviet Union (Columbia University Press, 1987) (p)

Loren Graham ed., Science and the Soviet Social Order (Harvard University Press, 1990) (p)

Lucy Suchman, Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions (Cambridge University Press, 2007) (p)

Lynn R. Sykes, Silencing the Bomb: One Scientist's Quest to Halt Nuclear Testing (Columbia University Press, 2017)

Mark Solovey and Hamilton Cravens eds., Cold War Social Science: Knowledge Production, Liberal Democracy, and Human Nature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) (p)

Matthew Lavine, The First Atomic Age: Scientists, Radiations, and the American Public, 1895–1945 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) (p)

Michael D. Gordin, Red Cloud at Dawn: Truman, Stalin, and the End of the Atomic Monopoly (Farrar, Straus and Girous, 2009)

___, Scientific Babel: How Science Was Done Before and After Global English (The University of Chicago Press, 2015) (p-i)

Matthias Gross, Ignorance and Surprise: Science, Society, and Ecological Design (The MIT Press, 2010) (p)

Michael Kort, The Columbia Guide to Hiroshima and the Bomb (Columbia University Press, 2007)

Michelle Murphy, Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers (Duke University Press, 2006) (p)

Michael Thad Allen, The Business of Genocide: The SS, Slave Labor, and the Concentration Camps (The University of North Carolina Press, 2002) (p)

Milton Leitenberg and Raymond A. Zilinskas with Jens H. Kuhn, The Soviet Biological Weapons Program: A History (Harvard University Press, 2012)

Morana Alač, Handling Digital Brains: A Laboratory Study of Multimodal Semiotic Interaction in the Age of Computers (The MIT Press, 2011) (p)

Naomi Oreskes and John Krige eds., Science and Technology in the Global Cold War (The MIT Press, 2014) (p-i)

Nelly Oudshoorn and Trevor Pinch eds., How Users Matter: The Co-Construction of Users and Technology (The MIT Press, 2003) (p)

Nigel Thrift, Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect (Routledge, 2007) (p)

Park Doing, Velvet Revolution at the Synchrotron: Biology, Physics, and Change in Science (The MIT Press, 2009) (p)

Paul Betts and Stephen A. Smith eds., Science, Religion and Communism in Cold War Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

Paul Josephson, Red Atom: Russia's Nuclear Power Program From Stalin To Today (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005)

Paul R. Josephson, Lenin's Laureate: Zhores Alferov's Life in Communist Science (The MIT Press, 2010) (p)

___, Physics and Politics in Revolutionary Russia (University of California Press, 1991) (p)

Paul Rubinson, Redefining Science: Scientists, the National Security State, and Nuclear Weapons in Cold War America (University of Massachusetts Press, 2016)

Peter Galison, Einstein's Clocks and Poincare's Maps: Empires of Time (W. W. Norton & Company, 2003) (p-i)

Nikolai Krementsov, Stalinist Science (Princeton University Press, 1997) (p)

Peter Keating and Alberto Cambrosio, Biomedical Platforms: Realigning the Normal and the Pathological in Late-Twentieth-Century Medicine (The MIT Press, 2003) (p)

Pierre-Yves Donzé and Shigehiro Nishimura eds., Organizing Global Technology Flows: Institutions, Actors, and Processes (Routledge, 2013) (p)

Raymond G. Stokes, Constructing Socialism: Technology and Change in East Germany 1945-1990 (Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000) (p)

Rebecca Slayton, Arguments that Count Physics, Computing, and Missile Defense, 1949-2012 (The MIT Press, 2013) (p)

Richard Rhodes.

Richard Rottenburg, Allison Brown and Tom Lampert trans., Far-Fetched Facts: A Parable of Development Aid (The MIT Press, 2009) (p)

Robert M. Neer, Napalm: An American Biography (Harvard University Press, 2015) (p)

Ronald E. Deol, Kristine C. Harper and Matthias Heymann eds., Exploring Greenland: Cold War Science and Technology on Ice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) (p)

Ronald N. Giere, Science without Laws (The University of Chicago Press, 1999) (p)

Ruth Oldenziel and Karin Zachmann eds., Cold War Kitchen: Americanization, Technology, and European Users (The MIT Press, 2009) (p)

Ruth Schwartz Cowan, Heredity and Hope: The Case for Genetic Screening (Harvard University Press, 2008) (p)

___, More Work For Mother: The Ironies Of Household Technology From The Open Hearth To The Microwave (Basic Books, 1985) (p)

Sarah Bridger, Scientists at War: The Ethics of Cold War Weapons Research (Harvard University Press, 2015) (p-p)

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Sheila Jasanoff, States of Knowledge: The Co-production of Science and the Social Order (Routledge, 2004) (p)

Shobita Parthasarathy, Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care (The MIT Press, 2007) (p)

Simon Ings, Stalin and the Scientists: A History of Triumph and Tragedy, 1905-1953 (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017) (p)

Slava Gerovitch, From Newspeak to Cyberspeak: A History of Soviet Cybernetics (The MIT Press, 2002) (p)

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Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life (Princeton University Press, 1985) (p)

Sonja D. Schmid, Producing Power: The Pre-Chernobyl History of the Soviet Nuclear Industry (The MIT Press, 2015) (p-ii)

Susan Schrepfer and Philip Scranton eds., Industrializing Organisms: Introducing Evolutionary History (Routledge, 2004) (p)

Thomas B. Cochran, Making The Russian Bomb: From Stalin To Yeltsin (Westview Press, 1995)

Thomas J. Misa, Philip Brey and Andrew Feenberg eds., Modernity and Technology (The MIT Press, 2003) (p)

Tiago Saraiva, Fascist Pigs: Technoscientific Organisms and the History of Fascism (The MIT Press, 2016) (p-i)

Trevor Pinch and Richard Swedberg eds., Living in a Material World: Economic Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies (The MIT Press, 2008) (p)

Wiebe E. Bijker and John Law, Shaping Technology / Building Society: Studies in Sociotechnical Change (The MIT Press, 1992) (p)

Wiebe Bijker, Thomas P. Hughes, and Trevor Pinch, eds., The Social Construction of Technological Systems (MIT Press, 1987) (p-i)

William deJong-Lambert, The Cold War Politics of Genetic Research: An Introduction to the Lysenko Affair (Springer, 2012) (p)

Yaron Ezrahi, E. Mendelsohn and Howard Segal, Technology, Pessimism, and Postmodernism (Springer Netherlands, 1994) (p)

Yoshitaka Okada ed., Japan’s Industrial Technology Development: The Role of Cooperative Learning and Institutions (Springer, 1999) (p)

Yoshiyuki Kikuchi, Anglo-American Connections in Japanese Chemistry: The Lab as Contact Zone (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) (p)

Yukiko Fukasaku, Technology and Industrial Growth in Pre-War Japan: The Mitsubishi-Nagasaki Shipyard 1884-1934 (Routledge, 1992) (p)

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독서/STS2018. 1. 26. 22:30

Tiago Saraiva, Fascist Pigs: Technoscientific Organisms and the History of Fascism (The MIT Press, 2016)




I Nation


1. Wheat

2. Wheat

3. Potatoes

4. Pigs

II Empire


5. Coffee, Rubber, and Cotton

6. Sheep






Fascism as biopolitics. The making and growing of animals and plants embodying fascism. The point is to extend the notion of biopolitics. Fascist collectives included organisms that breeders of plants and animals produced through new practices of the sciences of heredity—life forms as important as human bodies in making fascism. This book builds on Canguilhem’s attention to specific technoscientific organisms to explore the historical dynamics of fascism.


Fascism as Alternative Modernity

Roger Griffin, fascism as a modernist political ideology (a coherent political project of national rebirth promising a sense of transcendence and purpose to societies allegedly under the modern menaces of individualism, social anomy, alienation, and instability). Fascism, much more than a radicalized version of old-fashioned conservatism; it is an all-encompassing modernist social experiment with the purpose of inventing a new national community.

Food and the Fascist Organic Nation

In fascist studies food is a lumper whereas race is a splitter. Food was central to translating the fascist ideology of the organic nation into concrete policies. The Battaglia del Grano (Battle of Wheat, 1925), soon to be reproduced in Portugal (Wheat Campaign, 1929) and later in Germany (Erzeugunsschlacht; Battle for Production, 1934). All mobilized to protect the national community.

Model Organisms, Industrialized Organisms, and Fascism

It emphasized the fact that such organisms were technoscientific organisms—modern products of scientific breeding operations. Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, “epistemology of the concrete.” The particular forms modernity assumed in different historical contexts. The author points at the need to complicate the notions of modernity. The increasing ability to tinker with plant and animal life—my extended version of biopolitics—enabled the materialization of different political projects, alternative modernities, good and bad, fascism being clearly among the bad ones.

Fascist Ontology and the Structure of the Book

Fascism is taken as a historical context to which scientists’ practices and objects contributed; the argument is less about fascist epistemology than about fascist ontology. Such a formulation is a direct reference to the alleged recent ontological turn in STS and the increased interest in studying the being of entities (ontology) at the expense of inquiring about modes of knowing entities (epistemology).

Annemarie Mol, The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice (Duke University Press, 2003)

John Law, Aircraft Stories: Decentering the Object in Technoscience (Duke University Press, 2002)

Diana Coole and Samantha Frost, New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Duke University Press, 2010)

Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Duke University Press, 2007)

Steve Woolgar and Javier Lezaun, “The wrong bin bag”

The very same notion of technoscience, pointing at knowledge production more as a mode of intervention than as revelation or discovery, leads to a conflation of epistemology and ontology.

Bruno Latour, The Pasteurization of France (Harvard University Press, 1993)

Peter Galison, Einstein's Clocks and Poincare's Maps: Empires of Time (Norton, 2003)




“Think things”: “a phrase meant to invoke the multiple meanings ascribed to particular material artifacts, even those apparently subject to the thinning regime of modern science.” Scientific things, it is argued, encapsulate a much richer world than the one associated with the thin scientific objects of traditional historical narratives characterized by their detachment from culture. To achieve a better understanding of how fascist societies came into being and how they expanded. I have insisted on using the explanatory power of historical narratives of technoscientific things to explore the nature of concrete political regimes. M. Norton Wise urged historians to embrace their typical methodology of talking “the individual case as representative of larger developments, even though it can never be abstracted from its specific circumstances.” As model organisms are not abstract entities and their actual existence in the real world often leads scientists into unforeseen phenomena, so the intense tinkering with concrete historical technoscientific things led the historical research into unexpected paths. The weaving of Things histories seems, in fact, an adequate narrative technique with which to make sense of practices aimed at producing fascist collectives through the scientific production of things.


I Nation


The author argues that pigs and potatoes were at the core of a major effort by the Nazi regime to root Germans in the national soil—an effort that was aimed at transforming German society into a national community, a Gesellschaft into a Gemeinschaft. A crude notion of culture: In too many narratives we are left with no more than a set of values and beliefs that are supposed to characterize fascism movements and regimes. Beliefs entail those actions. (My comment: would it be more appropriate to use ‘practices’ than ‘actions’? The author would agree that still we need to analyze those beliefs and its meanings embodied on ‘expressed beliefs’ and those of others’.) The main question here is how the making and growing of new strains of plants and animals could embody a new political regime. Performativity. Wheat, potatoes, and pigs performed fascism and thus are properly considered fascist wheat, fascist potatoes, and fascist pigs.


1 Wheat: Food Battles, Elite Breeds, and Mussolini’s Fascist Regime


The Italian War for Bread Independence

Fascist envisaged Italy as an autarkic economy, able to release itself from dependency on the “plutocratic states” that dominated the world economy: the British Empire and the US

Producing and Circulating Purity

The Seeds of Victory

The targeting of small landholders didn’t change the fact that large farmers were the main beneficiaries of the system. In order for Ardito to circulate from the geneticist’s experimental plot to the farmers’ fields, the fields had to be converted into spaces reproducing the laboratory conditions of the experiment station. The lodging-resistant Ardito delivered on the fascists’ promise of stronger nationalism but not on the promise of egalitarianism.

Human and Non-Human Arditi

The human Arditi were a recurrent symbol of fascist iconography. The naming of the strain leaves few doubts about the political allegiances of Strampelli, who would join the National Fascist Party in 1925. It suggested that the new wheat strain could materialize the constant mobilization demanded by fascist ideology, making indistinguishable war in the trenches and cultivation of the national soil.

The combination of mass mobilization, charismatic leadership, state power, and ideology of the land was characteristically fascist. In Italy, before the Battle of Wheat launched in 1925, there had been no comparable initiative able to bring all these features together.


2 Wheat: The Integral Nation, Genetics, and Salazar’s Corporatist Fascist State


Integral Wheat Fields

Jose Pequito Rebelo (1892-1983), a large landowner who developed Integral Method. Strong ideas about the national soil were central to Integralists’ visions of the organic nation. Ruralization was to become one of the main features of the recently inaugurated dictatorial regime.

The Portuguese Wheat Campaign: Chemical Fertilizers and Large Estates

In 1929, the dictatorship launched a national mobilization for bread self-sufficiency.

Ardito in Portugal: Plant Breeding and the Fascist Corporatist State

The circulation of geneticists’ artifacts was not an automatic procedure. Locality was still crucial in genetic flows. António de Sousa da Câmara (1901-1971), the executive organizer of the Wheat Campaign. Scientists and their technoscientific organisms—high-yielding seeds—participating directly in the building of a corporatist state that removed all mechanisms of liberal representation and replaced them with an allegedly organic structure based on “economic solidarities.”

Modernism, Genetics, and the New State

In Portugal, as in Italy, there was no contradiction between ruralization and modernization. It was through agriculture that the new alternative modernity of Salazar’s fascist corporatist state came into being. Câmara’s echoing the organic corporatist state (p. 65). Propaganda Secretariat campaign: Everything was rural, but a streamlined rural as if seen through futurist lenses.


3 Potatoes: Pests, Plant Breeding, and the Growth of the Nazi State


World War I Famines and Potatoes

Because potatoes were among the few staples that the German soil produced in sufficient quantities, they became important to the rootedness of the national community envisaged by the Nazis. In the 1930s the vast majority of German adults had had acute personal experiences of hunger. The starvation events of World War I were repeatedly used in subsequent years to justify increasing support for the plant pathology research.


Wart disease was first detected in Germany in 1908 in Westphalia. By 1927 it was present in every region of the country. The research on wart disease had also led to an important development in the methodology for classifying potato varieties.

The BRA and the RNS: The Streamlined Estate and the 1934 Seed Decree

The Seed Decree issued by Darre’s Ministry in March 1934, established a compulsory registering system in which only the best varieties of each crop were allowed into the list, these being the only ones that could be sold in the market. In subsequent years, the exclusion of some varieties would extend to cultivation itself. Potatoes that after having been tested at the BRA (Biologische Bundesanstalt für Land- und Forstwirtschaft) were considered as not contributing to the nutritional independence of the Volk didn’t have a place in Nazi Germany. Reichsnährstand (RNS—Reich Food Estate) exercised more or less direct control over more than 25 percent of Germany’s GDP and constituted the largest economic unit in the world. After the Nazis seized power, the seed market, like everything else related to agriculture, would be centrally regulated. Eduard Riehm, the director of the BRA from Otto Appel’s retirement in 1933 till 1945. The Seed Decree of March 1934 confirms the importance of seed circulation for the streamlined RNS. The fact that a seed decree was issued no more than a year into Nazi rule merits reflection. It was not for the market to decide the value of a variety; such value was defined at the BRA in accordance with the general food policy of the regime as established by the RNS.

The Colorado Potato Beetle

The effort to eradicate beetle became an effective way of getting rural people, children, and women included, to participate in the defense of the fatherland. The training courses, the images on children’s calendars, and the demonstration kits all contributed to making the Colorado Beetle into an enemy menacing the survival of the national community. Every finding and subsequent elimination of a beetle was transformed into a significant contribution to the food battle keeping the German race alive. A kind of participatory science.

Late Blight


The different combinations of potato varieties, pathogen strains, and inoculation methods constituted generative experimental systems that led to new epistemic objects and the possibility of incorporating new techniques. The different experimental systems that structured the organizational chart of the BRA were built on resources previously developed by other sections of the BRA.

Experimental Systems and the Expansion of the Nazi Regime

To tinker with combinations of potatoes, pathogens, and inoculation tests, to tinker with experimental systems, led to new epistemic things such as Muller’s phytoalexin. The RNS based its control of the seed circuit on the tests developed at the BRA. In the opposite direction, the BRA used the RNS’s regional structure to guarantee that its standards would reach the entire country. It probably is better to speak of co-production of science and the state than to speak of resources as if science and politics were two different spheres. The particular politics associated with Nazism that phytopathology work contributed to. Potatoes proved to be significant historical subjects to understand the Nazi regime at work.


4 Pigs: The Bodenständig Scientific Community in Nazi Germany


Breeding and Feeding Pigs and Germans

Richard Walther Darré—the main agrarian ideologue of Nazi Germany, “Blut und Boden” and Minister of Food and Agriculture from 1933 to 1942. His essay “The pig as a distinguishing feature for northern peoples and semites” (Das Schwein als Kriterium für nordische Völker und Semiten). The life trajectories of himself and his high esteem for the place of pigs in the German national community provide a vantage point from which to explore the entanglements between science and Nazism. There is no doubt his own account of the profound effects of those three scientists (Theodor Roemer, Gustav Frolich and Johannes Walther). As suggestive as these analogies between humans and pigs may be, we now know how little practical effect they had in cultivating an SS aristocracy. The very concrete experience of hunger familiar to the German population during World War I (My comment: Very much interesting. Reducing the size of the German pig herd as a plot by Jewish academics to eliminate the German race. Shows how historical narratives, whether be real or mythical, works in embodying fascist policies). Darré always combined the themes of peasant revival with those of mobilization for food production, equating the Volk with an organism dependent on nutrition for survival.

German Academia and Pig Modernization in the Interwar Years: The Emergence of Performance Records

Performance Tests and the Nazi Bureaucracy

The fattening performance tests developed at academic institutes offered standards with which to evaluate animals’ potential contribution to the building of the Nazi regime. But performance tests could have such large effects only if connected with an extended bureaucracy reaching the entire territory. An important part of academic research in animal breeding in the Nazi years was to explore the relations between form and performance, promising to overcome the differences between commercial breeders’ visual evaluations and academic breeder’s tests.

Nutritional Freedom and Fats

Jonas Schmidt. The idea was not to produce hybrid breeding animals; it was to have the first generation of hybrid swine used exclusively for fattening, not for reproduction.

Bodenständigkeit (Rootedness in the soil)

The challenge was to increase fat and protein production through animals avoiding fodder imports from abroad. Swine were evolving in the desired direction. The changing geography of pig production also reflected the changing nature of pigs during the Nazi years. All those animals not complying with the standard of rootedness in the soil established by academic animal breeders were to be slaughtered. Only the new fat pigs, making efficient use of national fodders, sustained the community of Blut und Boden announced by Darre and guaranteed the nutritional freedom of the German Volk as articulated by Backe.

Fascist Pigs

The political Nazi imagination was already being molded by Frolich and by other scientists who were tinkering with the possibilities of producing animals less dependent on foreign imports. The combination of performance tests, fats, and rootedness in the soil may guide us in systematizing the connections between pigs and the fascist nature of Nazism. Closely associate with fascist militarism was exacerbated nationalism, nurtured by the feeding of the people through produce from the national soil. Pigs served first and foremost to nurture the national community, not to thrive in capitalist markets. This transcendent nature of peg rearing and feeding was also made present by RNS leaflets urging German women to feed animals on leftovers from their households. The mammoth state structure of the RNS was built on the implementation of such standards as the animal performance tests developed at Gottingen and Halle. Performance tests ensured that pigs were fat and rooted in the soil, making pigs contributing to the Nazi regime through militarism, nationalism, transcendentalism, and statism. Performance tests were designed to produce fascist pigs. Nazism, Heidegger asserted, became part of the “machinations” and “Total Mobilization” characteristic of Modernity, with science enlisted in the “domination and regulation of all objects for the sake of their usefulness and breeding.” Breeding, for Heidegger, made life useful, objectified it, forming part of the overarching modern process of uprooting humans from the soil through the forgetting of Being. The paradox lies in the fact that animal breeders used rootedness in the soil (Bodenständigkeit) as the guiding principle of their activities. Heidegger could have claimed that German breeders such as Frolich and Schmidt didn’t understand that their hogs were indistinguishable from American or British ones: they were just all modern. The animals scientists designed were intended to perform the transition of German society into a national community, embodying Nazi alternative modernity.


II Empire


In all three cases, strong claims about the importance of the national soil for the survival of the organic nation translated into imperial expansionism. The author contends that organisms were central in materializing dangerously murderous imperial visions into concrete projects in the European possessions (Poland and Ukraine) and the African possession (Libya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola) of the three fascist regimes. The author uses the concrete cases of the raising of Karakul sheep and the cultivation of the rubber substitute kok-sagyz to explore Nazi Germany’s occupation of eastern Europe through the lenses of colonial history. In crude terms, the Third Reich points to fascism while the Third Portuguese Empire and Mussolini’s Great Italy point to colonialism. Fascist states were colonial latecomers. Bouda Etemad’s estimation: whereas about 130 colonial wars from 1871 to 1914 implied between 280,000 and 300,000 dead soldiers among European powers, they were responsible for 50 million to 60 m deaths among the colonized populations, 90 percent of the victims civilians.

Bouda Etemad, POSSESSING THE WORLD: Taking the Measurements of Colonisation from the 18th to the 20th Century (Berghahn Books, 2007)

Western nations would have been less appalled by the violence of Italy’s occupation of Ethiopia in 1935 if the undertaking had occurred about 40 years earlier. It is telling that at the moment Europeans powers were undertaking reforms of their colonial labor systems, Portugal was starting a gigantic cotton production scheme based on the violent labor practices of the Belgian Congo being subject of reform. Fascist empires were built on, and in reaction to, other European imperial experiences. Fascist regimes allowed less space, if any, for reform or for accommodation of claims made by indigenous populations. Also, their wars of occupation came late, in the German and Italian cases facing well-developed state structures and thus resulting in more brutal conflicts. The breeding of animals and of plants is particularly relevant for such an exercise since, as I argue throughout this book, the fascists’ imperial ambitions were materialized largely through agriculture undertakings. The different breeds organizing the narrative reveal intentions, challenges, realities, and failures of the fascist imperial new order.


5 Coffee, Rubber, and Cotton: Cash Crops, Forces Labor, and Fascist Imperialism in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Eastern Europe


Coffee promised to turn Mussolini’s takeover in eastern Africa into a profitable operation, Hitler dreamed that the eastern European steppes would produce rubber for the Nazi war machine, and Salazar envisioned masses of Mozambique native cultivators sustaining Portugal’s textile industry. The mobilization of indigenous people’s work for commodities production, emphasizing the continuity of fascist colonialism with other European post-slavery imperial experiences.


Coffee and the Colonization of Italian East Africa

1936. Armando Maugini, director of the Colonial Agricultural Institute in Florence and chief technical advisor to the Ministry of Colonies during the occupation of Ethiopia. The Experimental Agricultural and Zootechnic Center for Italian Oriental Africa (CSAZAOI) began to operate in 1938. To test these varieties under Ethiopian conditions and to hybridize them with local landraces. Coffee arabica also migrated originally from the Ethiopian plateau to the mountains of Yemen and from there into all the other important coffee production areas of the world. If wheat proved essential to feed the colonial army and the builders of the colonial infrastructure, coffee was the main commodity that enabled Italians to dream of Ethiopia as an important source of revenue. Coffee embodied for the white settler the promise of a way out of the miserable peasant life of metropolitan Italy. Coffee production condensed all different forms of colonial practices in the territory. Italian breeders couldn’t have been more enthusiastic about the opportunity of tinkering with coffee diversity at tis center of origin where variability was the highest.

European Heart of Darkness: Rubber and the Role of Auschwitz as a Colonial Agricultural Experiment Station

Heinrich Himmler’s grandiloquent titles, his nomination in Feb 1943 as Plenipotentiary for All Issues Related to Plant Rubber (Reichsführer-SS als Sonderbeauftragter für Pflanzenkautschuk). The push toward rubber autarky explains much of the investment in the expensive production of synthetic rubber—Buna—by IG Farben and its gigantic facility in Auschwitz. The immediate needs to carry on the war effort were covered by the taking over of rubber stocks from conquered territories, but a more sustainable source was needed. Susanne Heim’s archival sources. As Mark Mazower has suggested, and as Nazi rubber confirms, the history of the twentieth century fully justifies the description of Europe as a “Dark Continent.” Taraxacum kok-sagyz, a dandelion-like plant that Soviet plant breeders had been working with since the early 1930s (Nikolai Vavilov’s expeditions to Central Asia in the Tien Shan Mountains). If Ukrainian peasants were resentful of Bolshevik previous imposition of kok-sagyz cultivation, they demonstrated the same unwillingness to plant it under the new German imperial rule. Partisan presence in the occupied regions significantly hindered cultivation activities. Auschwitz had thus the double nature of labor and death camp, setting it apart from most other camps that were either dedicated to one or the other. The agricultural dimension is a crucial one to understand the nature of the place and its role in the Nazi empire. It embodied the Nazi empire, built on mass killing and over exploitation of “inferior races.” While men were used as forced labor in the industrial IG Farben chemical complex, women were the gardeners and computers of the plant-breeding operations. Auschwitz reproduced the gendered colonial labor division at work of the Third Reich beyond the area delimited by barbed wire. Kok-sagyz shows the scandalous continuities of Nazi colonial Europe with colonial situations in Africa. Himmler’s monstrous dreams originated from his irrational racist ideology, but they were converted into alleged feasible projects by the making and growing of technoscientific organisms, in this case, high-latex kok-sagyz.

Cotton Breeding and Portugal’s Colonial Regime in Mozambique

Aurelio Quintanilha (1892-1987) had very different political allegiances from those of Armando Maugini, the main colonial agricultural expert of fascist Italy, or Joachim Caesar, the head of the Auschwitz plant-breeding research. By denying Quintanilha access to his laboratory, the results of seven years of research on cytology and genetics of fungi were totally lost. The individual political preferences of a scientist, totally contrary to fascism, prove to be irrelevant when inquiring the role of his research for the expansion of the regime. It was in the brutal context of the cotton regime that the anarcho-syndicalist Aurelio Quintanilha was supposed to lead the Center for Cotton Scientific Research (CICA). More important than inquiring about the attitude of Portugal’s fascist regime in favor or against science, is to understand how scientific artifacts contributed to maintain its imperial dreams. The materialization of fascist imperial undertakings through the cultivation of breeders’ artifacts was built on a colonial repertoire developed previously by other European powers.


It was in the colonies that fascism showed its most brutal face. Unfortunately, this death toll is of the same order of magnitude of the wars of colonial expansion of the last third of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. The most violent dimension of fascism was colonial expansion. The main difference of fascist colonial experiences was timing and lack of routes for reform, leading to characteristically more violent practices. Fascist empires would still belong to the family of European colonial empires, just as Portugal’s Third Empire did. It was the breeding work on coffee at Malco experiment fields, on kok-sagyz at Auschwitz, and on cotton at CICA laboratories in Lourenco Marques (today Maputo) that made plausible the vision of imperial territories supplying the autarkic economies of fascist regimes. The technoscientific organisms coming out of the breeders’ plots were the ones materializing on the ground the grand rhetoric of Lebensraum, Grande Italia, and “Portugal is not a small country.” Breeders’ artifacts integrated fascist nations in the larger dark colonial history of grabbing land for the production of cash crops grown by natives through violent forced-labor regimes. The new organisms enlarged the organic nation through Empire.


6 Sheep: Fascist Settlers and the Colonization of Africa and Europe


Karakul and the Nazi Eastern Empire

Instead of getting lost in the Nazi bureaucratic maze, the author would like to follow the sheep and see what they may reveal about Germany’s eastward expansion and about the fascist imperial ventures of Italy and Portugal. Karakul sheep are highly valued animals, originating from Bukhara in Uzbekistan, whose pelts are used to produce the famous Persian fur coast also known as Astrakhan. Sheep raising had been identified as part of the economic activities sustaining the settlers of the General Plan East, the Nazi blueprint for the future of eastern Europe. Considering the highly developed exploration of Karakul sheep by Soviet animal breeders, it seems reasonable to suppose that the Germans’ Kriwoj Rog Experiment Station in southeast Ukraine was also based on preexistent Soviet research efforts.

Karakul as Model Organism and Industrialized Organism: Curl Formation and Fur Markets

Karakul’s double status of experimental and research object. The recording practices that standardized the Karakul as a scientific model organism thus led as well to its standardization as an industrialized organism ready to be marketable.

Circulating Karakul I: Uzbekistan, Germany, and South West Africa

As in eastern European under Nazi rule, the metaphors of the American frontier helped make sense of German colonizers’ actions in South West Africa. Civilization was to be advanced by converting open pastureland into farms demarcated by barbed wire and settled by German colonizers. Paradoxically, settlers performed a mimicry of indigenous practices. Even in such extreme cases as imperial genocide as in South West Africa or in Nazi-controlled eastern Europe, settler life is always built on indigenous resources. Hitler’s 1941 European New Order: To invoke the historical importance of research done at Halle for the thriving of German communities in South West Africa was to assert he importance of esoteric concerns with the genetics of hair development for the expansion of the Reich into eastern Europe.

Circulating Karakul II: Germany, Italy, Libya, and Ethiopia

The raising of Karakul offered a hope of reproducing the German miracle in South West Africa by producing wealth, in the form of furs, out of the desert while sustaining a proud settler community. The myth of a benign form of Italian colonialism tolerant of local costumes has proved hard to debunk. Punishment, execution, and death by starvation were daily occurrences. In both Germany and the Soviet Union, Karakul had been used already as a model organism in artificial-insemination experiments. Double status of Karakul experiments: it was an organism whose reproduction was being industrialized to increase profits from its production; but it was also a model organism standing for other organisms in exploring the general usefulness of artificial insemination. Determining which animals would be allowed to reproduce and which would be eliminated from a herd meant intervening at the core of indigenous life. Control of animal reproduction constituted an obligatory passage point (Michel Callon) translating questions of colonial power and political independence.

J. Law ed., Power, Action and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge? (1986)

Circulating Karakul III: South West Africa and Angola

From the very early stages of the dictatorial regime that came out of the military coup of 1926, the empire had been one of its central features, as was confirmed by the appointment of Salazar as Minister of the Colonies in 1930 and the issuing of the Colonial Act that same year. Only by ignoring the existence of semi-nomadic people such as the Bedouins in Libya or the Herero in South West Africa, and by denying their entitlement to the land, was it possible to dream of gigantic estates marked by barbed wire fences holding millions of Karakul sheep. The presence of Karakul is a good marker of colonial genocides. Experiment stations were the first materialization in the landscape of the fascist colonial project, of the alternative modernity of settlers attached to the land through the reproduction of technoscientific organisms. Any Karakul project begins with the importing of pure-blood Karakul to be crossed with local sheep. Purity was a central principle of Karakul husbandry. Pureblood males were separated from the herd, contracting females only for reproduction; hybrid males were slaughtered or castrated. The strict surveillance over purity and controlled hybridization of nonhuman animals had direct consequences for colonial relations.


By exploring the historical trajectories of these organisms, one is able to understand how the expansionist ambitions of fascist regimes were to be materialized in frontier landscapes. Colonialism is a crucial feature of fascist regimes performing the tasks of national destiny, racial superiority, and economic independence. Karakul is a good point of entry to the larger history of fascist frontier genocide. The claim for integrating nonhuman animals in the narrative is well in tune with suggestions by environmental historians to build historical accounts by paying attention to bison, dogs, or mosquitoes. Had we ignored the work undertaken by animal geneticists at the University of Halle, we would not have been able to understand how Karakul traveled from Uzbekistan to South West Africa, or from Germany to Italy and from there to North Africa. Experiment stations as exemplary settlements were experimenting with colonialism at large, materializing fascism dreams of Lebensraum and Grande Italia, and “Portugal is not a small country.” 

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