The Domestic Stain, or Maintaining Standards


Harriet Ritvo’s article complicates the categorical separation of “wild” and “domesticated” that has organized much Western thought on species distinctions. Despite this sharp distinction, “many animals (and even more plants) have inevitably remained tantalizingly ambiguous or ambivalent.” Through examples ranging from the American bison to Bengal cats, Ritvo illustrates some surprising disparities, inviting us to think beyond the boundaries and fixedness of dominant concepts.