The Cattle Guard


Etienne Benson considers the role that material interventions into the vernacular landscape play in solidifying our understandings of bodily difference across species. He focuses on the cattle guards that were installed along railways in the United States from around the 1830s in an effort to prevent cattle and other livestock from straying onto railroad tracks while still allowing free passage to trains. He suggests that common-sense understandings of the bodily capabilities of different species emerge from precisely these kinds of encounters in everyday landscapes.