Carlos Rojas

Carlos Rojas is professor of Chinese cultural studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; and Arts of the Moving Image at Duke University, and is the current president of the Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature. He is the author, editor, and translator of numerous books, including Homesickness: Culture, Contagion, and National Transformation in Modern China.


Dogs, Chickens, and Pig Shit

It has been between 15,000 and 30,000 years since dogs began living with humans, and although it is appealing to imagine that it was humans who originally domesticated man’s best friend, it is actually more likely that the ancestors of modern dogs effectively domesticated themselves—finding it evolutionarily advantageous to adopt behaviors that would permit them to live symbiotically with early humans, from whom they could then obtain food and protection. Similarly, chickens were apparently first domesticated in China about 10,000 years, but for much of that time they were used primarily for symbolic and social purposes, and the earliest evidence we have that they were being consumed in large numbers dates back only about 2,200 years ago.