Test Cover Image of:  Poultry Science, Chicken Culture

Poultry Science, Chicken Culture

A Partial Alphabet

Poultry Science, Chicken Culture is a collection of engrossing, witty, and thought-provoking essays about the chicken-the familiar domestic bird that has played an intimate part in our cultural, scientific, social, economic, legal, and medical practices and concerns since ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Organized as a primer, the book reaches beyond narrow disciplines to discover why individuals are so fascinated with the humble, funny, overlooked, and omnipresent chicken.

Spanning fascinating and diverse fields, Susan Merrill Squier assesses the chicken as the focus of film, photography, and visual art in many media; details some of the roles played by chickens and eggs in the development of embryology, biology, and regenerative medicine; traces the iconic figure of the chicken (and the chicken thief) in political discourse during the 2008 presidential election; demonstrates the types of knowledge that have been lost as food production moved from small-scale farming to industrial agriculture; investigates the connection between women and chickens; analyzes the fears and risks behind the panic around avian flu; and scrutinizes the role of chicken farming in international development. A combination of personal passion and surprising scholarly information, Poultry Science, Chicken Culture will change forever the way you think about chickens.

Author Information

SUSAN M. SQUIER is the Julia Gregg Brill Professor of Women’s Studies and English at Penn State University and author of eight books, including Babies in Bottles: Twentieth-Century Visions of Reproductive Technology (Rutgers University Press), Liminal Lives: Imagining the Human at the Frontiers of Biomedicine, and Virginia Woolf and London: The Sexual Politics of the City. Her research takes her from her own backyard where she raises chickens to scholarly trips throughout the United States and Europe.


"Squier offers a delightful, provocative, and unexpected look into the visible, and often hidden, interrelationships that bind human and fowl."
— Gregg Mitman, author of Reel Nature: America's Romance with Wildlife on Film

"A quirky mash of essays on chickens and the interplay of biology and culture that manages to blend all of Squier's interdisciplinary interests. She ranges freely, from takes on chickens as subjects of photography and exhibition, playwriting, film, and children's and other literature, to musings on such public-policy issues as risk management, the avian-flu scare, and the societal costs of industrial agriculture."
— Chronicle Review


Here is a vividly written and thickly researched transdisciplinary book full of proof that chickens are good to think with, good to live with, and good to inhabit thick histories with. These chicken-human worlds propose becoming with, in accountable new and old ways with consequences for the chances of flourishing after the disasters of industrial animal agriculture and epidemic-friendly technoscienticic and globalized economic practices. Here too is a book full of stories to live with, stories that invite human beings and chickens to reintroduce themselves in practices of love and care in art, science, domesticity, farming, and more.

— Donna J. Haraway, author of When Species Meet

"Squier exhibits a deep, imaginative cross-disciplinary understanding of artistic and linguistic representation and reproductive medicine. Highly recommended."
— Choice

Audience: Professional and scholarly;