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Can a pig speak? Disease, systems, and sacrifice in the Caribbean


This article analyses the creole pig massacre in Hispaniola, particularly in Haiti, that happened between the end of 1970s and early 1980s. Drawing from both an ethnographic work and a historical analysis, I first focus on the trajectory of a disease that affected domestic pigs in the whole globe and generated a series of politics and scientific assemblages to contain its spread. From there, I analyze the cultural and political motivations and the techno-scientific means that gave rise to the massacre as well as the different theories about the disease. On the last part, I discuss the impacts of the massacre in peasants’ daily life, arguing that this event became, according to specialists, a ritual sacrifice that aimed at modernizing Haiti’s pigs raising systems. My argument here is that this event reveals concurrent visions of animals and domestication.

Caribbean; African Swine Fever (ASF); biopolitics; domestication

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