by 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.