J. L. Anderson: Capitalist pigs: pigs, pork, and power in America

West Virginia University Press, Morgantown, WV, 2019, pp. 285, ISBN 978-1-946684-73-8
  • Hannah KassEmail author

Capitalist Pigs: Pigs, Pork, and Power in America by J.L. Anderson is a meticulously researched treasure detailing the political and economic history of hogs in America.

In the first two chapters, Anderson helpfully demonstrates the beginning of this history by mapping out a “gehography,” detailing how hogs first arrived in America from China during the Columbian Exchange and behaved as partners in crime to the colonists. His description of hogs as “agents of empire” is especially compelling. Hogs inadvertently assisted in the colonization of North America by eating foraged foods and natural materials utilized by Native Americans. Bitter disputes were fought between colonists and natives, often with pigs caught in the crossfire.

I would be interested to know how this history might be analyzed through theoretical lenses of food regimes and food sovereignty. The text does not always clarify who is benefitting, and who is marginalized, from the increasing commodification of hogs,...


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental ScienceUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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