dairy relations, dairying, case studies, dairy history, dairy production, dairy consumption, milk studies, milk legal studies

Document Type



Cow’s milk has enjoyed a widespread cultural signification in many parts of the world as “nature’s perfect food.”1 A growing body of scholarship, however, has challenged the image of cow’s milk in human diets and polities as a product of “nature,” and has instead sought to illuminate the political, scientific, colonial and postcolonial, economic, and social forces that have in fact defined the production, consumption, and cultural signification of cow’s milk in human societies. This emerging attention to the social, legal, and political significance of milk sits at the intersection of several fields of academic inquiry: anthropology, history, animal studies, development studies, gender studies, food studies, postcolonial and decolonial studies, and more. In each of these contexts, milk is not only the product of an animal, but also a product of human social, cultural, and legal choice.