Jamie Kreiner, "Legions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West" (Yale UP, 2020)

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On this episode of New Books in History, Jamie Kreiner, Associate Professor of History at the University of Georgia, talks about her new book, Legions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West, out in 2020 with Yale University Press.

In the early medieval West, from North Africa to the British Isles, pigs were a crucial part of agriculture and culture. In this fascinating book, Jamie Kreiner examines how this ubiquitous species was integrated into early medieval ecologies and transformed the way that people thought about the world around them. In this world, even the smallest things could have far-reaching consequences.

Kreiner tracks the interlocking relationships between pigs and humans by drawing on textual and visual evidence, bioarchaeology and settlement archaeology, and mammal biology. She shows how early medieval communities bent their own lives in order to accommodate these tricky animals—and how in the process they reconfigured their agrarian regimes, their fiscal policies, and their very identities. In the end, even the pig’s own identity was transformed: at the close of the early Middle Ages, it had become a riveting metaphor for Christianity itself.

Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.

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