James McWilliams


James McWilliams is a historian and writer based in Austin, Texas.  He is a prolific blogger on The Pitchfork, and the author of The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals; Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. Links to his books can be found here.

His writing has also appeared in The Paris Review daily, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, The Washington Post, Slate, The American Scholar, Texas Monthly, The Atlantic, and The Texas Observer. He writes “The Things We Eat” column at Pacific Standard, and his literary non-fiction has appeared in The Millions, Quarterly Conversation, The New York Times Book Review, and The Hedgehog Review.

I reached out to James for an interview after reading his cover article "Loving Animals to Death" in The American Scholar, and in May 2015 he kindly offered to share an afternoon conversation in his work studio in Austin, Texas.


The Interview

               Getting Interested in Animals

                  The Central Contradiction

             The Costs of Animal Agriculture

How Resources are Allocated to Animal Agriculture

                     What Animals Tell Us

Animal vs Plan Agriculture

                   The Analogy of Slavery

Consumers Helping Farmers

A Steep Climb for Animal Advocates

                          Logic and Speciesism

                     Changing Public Perception

                       Unthinking Decisions

Farmers and Jobs

                 Stepping Through the Door

Idea of Humane Animal Agriculture

        Considering Pasture Raised Animals

Considering Justifications for Slaughtering Animals