Book cover of The Perfection of Nature: Animals, Breeding, and Race in the Renaissance by Mackenzie Cooleyby Mackenzie Cooley

A deep history of how Renaissance Italy and the Spanish empire were shaped by a lingering fascination with breeding.

The Renaissance is celebrated for the belief that individuals could fashion themselves to greatness, but there is a dark undercurrent to this fêted era of history. The same men and women who offered profound advancements in European understanding of the human condition—and laid the foundations of the Scientific Revolution—were also obsessed with controlling that condition and the wider natural world.

Tracing early modern artisanal practice, Mackenzie Cooley shows how the idea of race and theories of inheritance developed through animal breeding in the shadow of the Spanish Empire.

Interview with the Author

Podcast Art for the New Book NetworkNew Books Network 
Mackenzie Cooley, “The Perfection of Nature: Animals, Breeding, and Race in the Renaissance” (U Chicago Press, 2022)
10/31/22            57 min



Awards & Prizes


BISAC History

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BISAC Technology & Engineering

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