Settler Colonial Beasts: Feral Pigs and Frontier Assemblages in Texas

Jason Cons, Michael Eilenberg

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This essay explores the role of feral pigs in assembling the Texas frontier. Quick to reproduce, highly adaptive, and destroyers of agricultural fields, feral pigs have emerged over the past decade as one of the principal challenges facing agriculture and land management systems in Texas. Yet, more than simply a pest, feral pigs have and continue to be active agents in forging new landscapes, ecologies, and settler-colonial relations. We trace the history of the present pig “crisis” by exploring three paradigms for thinking pigs and the politics of ferality on the Texas frontier. These paradigms frame pigs as: “settler beasts” (companion species to settler expansion); “melting-pot beasts” (feral pigs as representing diverse genetic remnants of settler expansion); and “invader beasts” (feral pigs framed as a threat). Our argument is that these paradigms index diverse material and discursive ways that feral pigs have and continue to assemble Texas's frontier landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-445
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Texas
  • feral pigs
  • ferality
  • frontiers
  • settler colonialism


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