What does it mean to imagine the history of Iowa animals apart from industrial agriculture and the meatpacking businesses that continue to shape our relationship to hogs, and chickens, horses and cattle? Phil Stong wrote many young teen and children’s books set in Iowa, many involving relationships with animals, wild and domesticated. What do Stong’s other Iowa animal stories have to teach us about alternatives to the history of animal husbandry represented by state fairs and factory farms?

Laura Rigal is an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Iowa. Her publications include a cultural history of Philadelphia (The American Manufactory: Art, Labor and the World of Things in the Early Republic, Princeton University Press) and numerous articles on 18th and 19th Century U.S. history and culture.