Evelien Deelen

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Washington State U.

Grant number

Gr. 10596

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Deelen, Evelien (Washington State U.) "Veterinary Medicine in Anthropological Perspective: Ethnomedicine, Explanatory Models, and Equine Illness."

At a time when we increasingly see human health threats emerge from our interactions with animals, there is a critical need for anthropology to redefine its theoretical understanding of animal disease. Through mixed-methods ethnographic research in the North American Inland Northwest, including participant observation, free-listing (N=150), semi-structured interviewing and body mapping interviewing (N=35), I propose to study how settler-descendant horse-owners construct, control, and give meaning to equine sickness through their culturally-informed human-horse engagements. I draw on the cultural richness of the Inland Northwest (eastern Washington, northern Idaho, western Montana, and northern Oregon) as a ‘microcosm’ representing the breadth of human-horse relationships in North America. I aim to investigate how the different anthrozoological and ethnomedical lenses adopted by horse owners in the lay sector influences the construction, recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of equine illness. Specifically, I look at the three-dimensional relationship between equine functionality (ranching, sport, and leisure), meaning (livestock, commodity, pet), and care (none, home-remedies, and biomedical) to learn how people construct different explanatory models of illness. Ultimately, this project will advance anthropological understanding of health and illness by integrating theoretical perspectives from medical anthropology and anthrozoology