Brett Westwood investigates the peaceful, hefty, cud-chewing beasts which have transformed our societies.
Brett Westwood investigates the peaceful, hefty, cud-chewing beasts which have been by our side for thousands of years. In Natural Histories we find out what Shakespeare made of this special relationship, hear Dinka songs from the intense cattle-based cultures of South Sudan and travel to a Leicestershire dairy where robots do the milking. It's a pastoral scene and a violent one too: the fearsome virility of the bull in the poetry of Lorca, sacred cows prompting vigilante violence in India, and a Greek tyrant who would bake his victims alive in a giant metal bull, its resonance turning their cries to moos. From all this bovine history it's clear that the domestication of the cow has fundamentally changed human society.
Producer: Melvin Rickarby
Picture: 'Jogoth Mata-Go Lukhi, ca. 1960. India' courtesy of Museum of International Folk Art, gift of the Girard Foundation Collection, A.1981.28.574.
Dr Maan Barua
His past and ongoing research projects include work on animal in urban environments, relations between nature and capital, and the politics of elephant conservation in India.
Dr Zoe Cormack
Dr Erica Fudge
Her work has also appeared in History Today magazine. She is the director of the British Animal Studies Network.
Dr Edith Hall
She is the recipient of the Erasmus Prize of the European Academy and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Athens. Her most recent book is "Introducing the Ancient Greeks" (2014).
Photo by Michael Wharley
Professor Garry Marvin
Among his recent publications are Wolf published by Reaktion Books and, with Susan McHugh, The Routledge Handbook of Human-Animal Studies
Professor Richard Thomas
He has contributed to a key historical debate concerning the timing and nature of the Agricultural Revolution and is co-director of the Bradgate Park fieldschool - a project that is exploring the use of an upland landscape in Leicestershire over the past 15,000 years and includes excavations of the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey.
Dr Laura Wright
She has published historical codeswitching, on the development of Standard English, and on the fate of London English taken to North America and elsewhere, including the East India Company island of St Helena, South Atlantic.