“Caring for Collectives: Conservation Biopolitics in the Anthropocene”
Krithika Srinivasan (Lecturer, University of Exeter)
- Public lecture, Thursday April 2, 2015 (3:30-5pm, Thomson 317)
- Lunch workshop, Thursday April 2, 2015 (12:00-1:00pm, Smith 411)
This talk explores the complicated manners in which animal wellbeing is constructed and pursued in contemporary wildlife conservation. Using insights from Foucault’s work on biopolitics to examine turtle conservation in India, it offers an account of conservation as population politics, questioning the entanglement of harm and care that infuses this space of more-than human social change. In doing this, the talk elaborates on the concept of agential subjectification in order to track the mechanisms that underlie the asymmetric circulation of biopower in human-animal interactions (as well as many intra-human interactions) and to critically reflect on present-day manifestations of the ‘will to improve’.
Krithika Srinivasan is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Exeter. Her research and teaching interests revolve around the ethics and politics of human interactions with nonhuman animals and the environment. She has a doctoral degree in Geography from King’s College London, and a master’s degree in Social Work (Urban and Rural Community Development) from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), where she was subsequently employed as a researcher. Krithika brings the deeply political orientation to research and analysis cultivated during her time at TISS to all aspects of her current work on nature-society and more-than-human geographies.
“Why We Eat Our Relatives: The Predation Paradox of Other-Than-Human Kinship”
Daniel Heath Justice (Chair of the First Nations Studies Program at University of British Columbia)
- Public lecture, Thursday November 13, 2014 (4:00-6:00pm, Thomson 101)
- Lunch workshop, Friday November 14, 2014 (11:30-1:30, Savery 408)
Among the many romanticized stereotypes about Indigenous peoples, the noble savage in harmonious bliss with with the natural world is one of the most popular and problematic. In these Eurowestern fantasies, Edenic Indigenous peoples live in peaceful, uncomplicated relationship with the plants, animals, and elements, and all are in simplistic balance in the circle of life. When exercising cultural sovereignty through ritual and subsistence hunting, however, Indigenous peoples challenge these impossible colonialist ideals and are too often demonized by both left and right as brute savages, colonized sell-outs, or enemies of nature. Such dismissals inherently misrepresent Indigenous peoples’ relations to the other-than-human, ignore the history of colonialism and its impacts on Indigenous peoples’ ability to uphold their wide-ranging familial responsibilities, and erase the varied and complicated relations between Indigenous peoples and the diverse beings with whom they abide in kinship, obligation, and even conflict. This presentation will consider subsistence and ceremonial hunting–what we might call the “predation paradox” of killing and eating one’s other-than-human relatives–in Indigenous kinship practices and in contemporary environmental and political discourse, arguing that far from being a challenge to these complex relationships, kinship predation is necessary to their long-term health and to Indigenous ecocultural resurgence.
Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee Nation) is Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture and Chair of the First Nations Studies Program at the University of British Columbia. He is most recently the author of Badger, part of the Animal Series from Reaktion Books (UK), and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literature (2014). His current works include the literary manifesto, Why Indigenous Literature Matters (forthcoming from Wilfrid Laurier University Press) and a study of other-than-human kinship in Indigenous literary expression.
“Nervous Interfaces: Polio, Spinal Taps, and the Cold War Primate Trade,” Neel Ahuja (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill), Public lecture – Thursday October 23, 2014, Workshop – Friday, October 24, 2014.
The successful launch of two polio vaccines in 1955 and 1962 represented a watershed in pharmaceutical science, demonstrating that animal models (specifically the bodies of rhesus monkeys) could help successfully engineer vaccines against dread viruses. Yet lost in the triumphant stories of biomedical success in the pharmaceutical revolutions of midcentury is a history of scientific failures arising from the construction of vivisected primates as almost, but not quite, human bodies. This presentation attempts to reconstruct the public fears and hopes invested in the bodies of rhesus macaques imported from northern India to the United States for polio research. While scientific medicine of the 1930s-1950s increasingly viewed humans and monkeys as sharing a similar nervous system — in the process positing shared capacities of vision, feeling, and mobility among primates — this challenge to species barriers did not immediately bring enhanced protection for primate subjects. The development of experimental methods for polio research actually required harvesting the spinal fluid of thousands of monkeys who would serve as models and, later, as disposable sources of vaccine serum. By the 1940s, the failures of this experimentation made public images of spinal transplantations between human and nonhuman primates into a repeated trope in US horror films representing the excesses of scientific medicine. I argue that as the bodies of Indian rhesus monkeys became prized biocapital for the emergent US security state, they simultaneously underwent both a material and a fantasized domestication transforming them from racialized figures of the tropical jungle into kin who were conscripted into national ecologies of feeling and immunity. Based on these conclusions, this presentation will suggest an intersection between species critiques that undermine the anthropomorphic construction of the human body and theories of affect that help theorize how forms of nervous and immune interface become sites of biopolitical intervention.
This work is excerpted from chapter three of Ahuja’s forthcoming book, Bioinsecurities: Disease Interventions, Empire, and the Government of Species.
“Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species and Nature in a Multicultural Age” (Mangels Endowed Lecture), Claire Kim (University of California, Irvine) – May 01, 2014
In recent years, there have been a number of impassioned disputes in the U.S. over how racialized groups (immigrants of color, native-born minorities, and Native peoples) use animals in their cultural practices. The struggle over San Francisco Chinatown’s live animal markets, the Makah whaling controversy in the Pacific Northwest, and the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal are all sites where race, species, and nature have been vigorously contested, complicated, and reproduced in an age shaped by both multiculturalist assumptions and neoliberal imperatives. In each case, animal advocates charge a racialized group with cruelty and/or doing ecological harm, while group representatives push back with charges of racism and cultural imperialism. How are we to think through these competing sets of moral and political claims and do justice to them both? How can we move beyond exclusive attention to one form of domination to a viewpoint that acknowledges and addresses multiple forms of domination at the same time? How might we re-imagine the human, the animal, and nature outside of relations of domination? What would justice in a multi-racial, multi-species world look like?
Claire Jean Kim received her B.A. in Government from Harvard College and her Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University. She is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at University of California, Irvine, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate classes on racial politics, multiculturalism, social movements, and human-animal studies. Dr. Kim’s first book, Bitter Fruit: The Politics of Black-Korean Conflict in New York City (Yale University Press, 2000) won two awards from the American Political Science Association: the Ralph Bunche Award for the Best Book on Ethnic and Cultural Pluralism and the Best Book Award from the Organized Section on Race and Ethnicity. Her second book, Race, Species and Nature in a Multicultural Age (Cambridge University Press, 2014), examines the intersection of race, species and nature in impassioned disputes over how immigrants of color, racialized minorities, and Native people in the U.S. use animals in their cultural traditions. Dr. Kim has also written numerous journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Kim is an Associate Editor of American Quarterly and the co-guest editor with Carla Freccero of a special issue of American Quarterly entitled, Species/Race/Sex (September 2013). She is the recipient of a grant from the University of California Center for New Racial Studies, and she has been a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and the University of California Humanities Research Institute.
“A Workshop with Mark Hawthorne, Author of Bleating Hearts and Striking at the Roots,” February 7, 2014
Mark Hawthorne will talk about his new book, Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering and what it was like to write this kind of book, and he will share with us more generally his work as an advocate for animals. The workshop will continue with a conversation about the emotional toll of research and writing about animal suffering, the connections between activist and academic work, and strategies for how activists and academics might shield themselves from burnout.
Mark Hawthorne is the author of two books on animal rights: Bleating Hearts: The Hidden World of Animal Suffering, which examines the many ways humans exploit nonhumans, and Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism (both from Changemakers Books), which empowers people around the world to get active for animals. He gave up eating meat after an encounter with one of India’s many cows in 1992 and became an ethical vegan a decade later. His writing has also been featured in Vegan’s Daily Companion (Quarry Books) and in the anthologies Uncaged: Top Activists Share Their Wisdom on Effective Farm Animal Advocacy (Ben Davidow) and Stories to Live By: Wisdom to Help You Make the Most of Every Day and The Best Travel Writing 2005: True Stories from Around the World (both from Travelers’ Tales). Mark is a frequent contributor to VegNews magazine. He and his wife Lauren live in California.
“Food Justice for Humans, Animals and the Environment,” lauren Ornelas, Founder and Director of Food Empowerment Project – Friday, February 7, 2014 – 4:30 p.m.
How do our food choices impact humans, animals and the environment around the globe? What does a just food system look like and how do we make it possible? lauren Ornelas, of Food Empowerment Project, will talk about interlocking oppressions in the food system as she shares her life-long work to end exploitative food production practices. Ornelas will speak about her advocacy for workers’ rights in the Central Valley of California and Food Empowerment Project’s efforts to improve access to healthy foods for low income communities and communities of color in the United States, her recent campaign to end child slavery in chocolate production in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, and her ongoing commitment to ending the exploitation of animals in the food system locally and around the globe.
Special thanks to the co-sponsors of this event: Anthropology, Geography, American Ethnic Studies, Comparative History of Ideas, and the Diversity Research Institute.
lauren Ornelas is the founder of Food Empowerment Project and serves as the group’s executive director. She is also the former executive director of Viva!USA, a national nonprofit vegan advocacy organization. lauren has been active in the animal rights movement for more than 20 years. After spending four years as national campaign coordinator for In Defense of Animals, lauren was asked by Viva!UK to start and run Viva!USA in 1999. In cooperation with activists across the country, she worked and achieved corporate changes within Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, and Pier 1 Imports, among others. She served as campaign director with the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition for six years.
More on the Food Empowerment Project here: http://www.foodispower.org
Centering Animals in Latin American History, Public Talks: Wednesday, January 29, 4:30-6:30 in Communications 120
- Zeb Tortorici (New York University): Bestiality and the Human/Animal Boundary in New Spain
- Martha Few (University of Arizona): Killing Locusts in Colonial Guatemala
Critical Animal Studies Workshop: Thursday, January 30, 12:00-2:00 in Thomson 317
- Zeb Tortorici: Archives and Animalicity
- Martha Few: Animals, Human Reproduction, and Shape-Shifting Sorcery in Colonial Guatemala
Co-sponsored by Comparative History of Ideas, History, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the Critical Animal Studies Working Group.
Zeb Tortorici is Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University. He received his Ph.D. in History from UCLA, and has published articles in Ethnohistory, the Journal of the History of Sexuality, History Compass, e-misférica, and has an article forthcoming in GLQ. He has chapters in the edited volumes Death and Dying in Colonial Spanish America and Queer Youth Cultures. With Martha Few, he recently co-edited Centering Animals in Latin American History (Duke University Press, 2013). With Daniel Marshall and Kevin Murphy, he is currently co-editing two special issues of Radical History Review on the topic of “queering archives,” and with Pete Sigal and Erika Robb Larkins, he is co-editing Ethnopornography: Sexuality, Colonialism, and Anthropological Knowing.
Bestiality and the Human/Animal Boundary in New Spain, Zeb Tortorici
This talk interrogates the many ways that humans and animals interacted physically, theologically, and metaphorically in relation to the question of desire. I demonstrate how the natural/unnatural dichotomy—so salient a category in Spanish religious doctrine—interacts with other binary categories like human/animal and sodomy/reproductive sex. This talk also seeks to “center animals” by focusing, to the extent that it is possible, on non-human animal subjectivities. In contrast to their human counterparts, the European domesticated animals—donkeys, mares, goats, dogs, and hens—that criminal courts implicated in the crime of bestiality were regularly put to death by secular courts, so as to “erase the memory of such acts.” Using a corpus of 108 criminal bestiality cases and 25 Inquisition denunciations from New Spain (between the years of 1530 and 1821), this chapter delves into the rural nature of a crime that legal records document far more frequently than the other “sins against nature” of sodomy, same-sex solicitation, and masturbation. Ultimately, this paper shows that the human/animal boundary was never absolute, and that the physical, ideological, and metaphorical crossings rendered nature and the category of the unnatural—and that of the “human”—paradoxical, ambiguous, and riddled with inconsistencies.
Archives and Animalicity, Zeb Tortorici
Centering on an anonymously penned eighteenth-century archival document found in Mexico’s national historical archive—the Discurso Filosofico Sobre el Lenguage de los Animales (“Philosophical Discourse on the Language of Animals”)—this talk traces my increasingly complex encounters with animals in the historical archives of the Spanish empire, from the early sixteenth century until the early nineteenth. By focusing on my own struggles to historically and theoretically contextualize this particularly quixotic document, I discuss the ways in which animal meaning is produced through archival practices. The Discurso Filosofico, which broaches the topics of animal sentience, language, communication, and souls, forces scholars to reconsider the disjuncture between textual representations of animals and real animals that lived in the past.
Building on anthropologist Neil L. Whitehead’s recent definition of historicity as “the investigation of cultural schema and subjective attitudes that make the past meaningful,” here I put forth the term animalicity as a productive category through which to think about the cultural schema and subjective attitudes that make the animal meaningful in the past. Animalicity, as I take it, encompasses a methodology of how the animal may be written or otherwise expressed in historical documentation, while simultaneously pointing to the disjunctive space between textual representations of animals, archival narratives about animals, and the once living sentient animals of the past. I argue that in order to more meaningfully “center animals” in the past, we need not only to search for physical and textual traces of animals in archives, but also to expand our notion of the archive as a complex zoopolitical space—a space where animal meaning is produced, where animalicity abounds, and where the specter of the animal haunts historical documentation.
Martha Few is Associate Professor of colonial Latin American history at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She is author of Women Who Live Evil Lives: Gender, Religion, and the Politics of Power in Colonial Guatemala (2002) and, with Zeb Tortorici, Centering Animals in Latin American History (2013). Prof. Few has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and has held research fellowships at the Newberry Library, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Huntington Library. She is currently finishing a new book, Signs of Life: Mesoamerican and Colonial Medicine in Enlightenment Guatemala.
Killing Locusts in Colonial Guatemala, Martha Few
During three-plus centuries of Spanish colonial rule, locusts, by periodically joining to creating mass stream ways and traveling hundreds of miles, played a significant role in the history of colonial Guatemala. The devouring insect swarms repeatedly consumed and transformed the landscape of the Audiencia of Guatemala, a geographic area that roughly comprises what is today southern Mexico and the nation-states of Central America, and that was the site of Mesoamerican civilizations that included the Maya. Yet for the most part, scholars have focused on insects such as locusts only in supporting roles in a greater narrative describing the history of agriculture and public health. Accounts of locust infestations written by political officials, priests, farmers, Maya elites, and European travellers reveal that ways that those living in the Audiencia considered locusts to be significantly embedded in a wide range of colonial economic, political, and religious processes, processes that historians have deemed central to research on the history colonialism in Latin America.
Animals, Human Reproduction, and Shape-Shifting Sorcery in Colonial Guatemala, Martha Few
In colonial Guatemala, sources describing magical violence and malevolent witchcraft in community conflicts portrayed exceptional women and men as having the power to shape-shift– to transform their own bodies into animals and natural objects. This has been called nagualismo in the ethnohistorical literature, and though local variations have been noted, shape-changing ability has generally been attributed to the most successful and feared ritual specialists. This essay continues to explore the issue of shape-shifting as an example of Mesoamerican ritual power during the colonial period, but I expand my historical investigations to consider depictions of the shape shifter’s ability to both cross and manipulate human-animal boundaries, and how these transformations played out in cultural understandings of animals in relation to human reproduction and fetal development. The essay analyzes a series of case studies where ritual specialists transformed their own bodies and the bodies of others, targeting sexual organs as sites for the physical display of their powers to disrupt human reproduction. I probe the issue of the permeability of human-animal boundaries further by analyzing sources that depict the fetus as shape-shifter, portrayed as capable of transformation during fetal development in utero within a continuum of human, animal, and hybrid human-animal. Together, these examples allow me to explore representations of flexible and unstable binaries of human/animal and male/female, as well as the fragility of the category of human, within historical understandings of shape-shifting and malevolent sorcery in colonial Mesoamerican ritual cultures. In this way I attempt to rethink the links between gendered ritual power and reproduction, and how these links provide clues to understanding the categories of human and animal as a continuum rather than as binary categories in colonial Mesoamerica.
“From Animal Rights to Animal Studies,” Paul Waldau (Canisius College), Thursday November 7, 2013 ; Workshop with Professor Waldau on Friday November 8, 9:30-11:00, Savery 359.
From Animal Rights to Animal Studies: In describing one of his current projects, Paul Waldau notes that “traditional education about nonhumans can be summed by Theodore Roszak’s observation, ‘let us admit that the academy has rarely been a place of daring.'” In this talk, Waldau, a scholar of animal studies, ethics, religion, law and cultural studies, describes why the urgency of daring to inquire openly about the moral significance of nonhuman animals. In this exploration of the challenges posed by “the animal” for the humanities and the human sciences, Waldau engages with debates over the pedagogical, political, and affective dimensions of an interdisciplinary conversation that has gone from “animal rights” to “Animal Studies.”
More on Paul Waldau here: http://www.paulwaldau.com/bio–cv.html
“The Social Skin: Humans and Animals in India,” Anthropologist Naisargi Dave (University of Toronto), Wednesday October 30, 2013, 4:30 p.m.
Professor Dave will discuss her new project, The Social Skin: Humans and Animals in India. Co-sponsored by Anthropology; CHID; Critical Animal Studies Working Group; Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies; and South Asia Center.
Workshop with Professor Dave on Thursday October 31, 10:00 a.m., Savery 408
Abstract: There are many affective modalities in animal activism: pity, outrage, disgust, suffering, hopelessness. Indeed it is this affective charge that some point to as a sign of animal activism’s irrationality, its animal-feminine nature, its precarious existence as a human politics. This paper’s first objective is to argue that precarity emerges with the very assertion of human being, for it is with that assertion that we understand, however silently, what it would mean to not be that. This is precarity: trying to remain something that is only what we anxiously say it is, trying to remain human. If this is precarity, then precarity is not a sign of the times and it is not uniquely classed; nor, however, is it everywhere. This paper’s second task is engaging with ways of being and becoming that dissolve the self in relation to its others by disavowing the liberal dictums of rights, hope, agency, and struggle and recognizing instead that we are all co-sufferers in the world, no more man than donkey, pig than child. How does one act when there is no One to act on an Other’s behalf? How does one act after feeling that attachment to one’s human being is the ground of injustice and thus cannot be its redemption? This is not a rousing politics but it is a radical one, and I draw on my work with animal activists in India to show that the future of political life might not be in hope but in nothing at all.
Naisargi N. Dave is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her research concerns emergent forms of politics and relationality in India, specifically queer and posthuman. Dave’s articles have appeared in journals such as American Ethnologist, Signs, and Feminist Studies. Her book, Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics is published by Duke University Press and was awarded the 2013 Ruth Benedict Prize. She is currently working on her second book, The Social Skin: Humans and Animals in India.
“Doglincuents and semi-stray dogs: A theoretical approximation to multi-species ethnography on globalization,” Iván Sandoval Cervantes (PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Oregon) – Wednesday, May 22, 2013 from 3:30pm-5:00pm
This paper is an attempt to theoretically construct a concept of multi-species ethnography that addresses the ways in which the inequalities produced by processes of globalization affect nonhuman animals. In this sense, a multi-species ethnographical project should see nonhuman animals not only as symbols or as part of the natural resources available to humans but as part of complex historical interspecies trajectories (Kirksey and Helmreich 2010).
These trajectories include notions about ownership that regulate the relations between human and nonhuman animals. It is by analyzing these trajectories that multi-species ethnographies can question how different nonhuman animal species have been placed in what I call (based Aiwha Ong’s (2006) concept of “graduated citizenship”) “graduated humanness” that encompasses ideas about animal and human rights, and the agency of nonhuman animals, and that influences how humans interact with nonhuman animals. To exemplify the use of this theoretical framework I will analyze an event that took place in Mexico City in January 2013 that involved a pack of “wild” dogs “attacking” and “killing” a group of people in Mexico City’s most populated borough.
“Sex and the Guinea Pig: Extracting, (Re)Producing, and Consuming Animal Bodies in Peru,” María Elena García (CHID/JSIS) – Thursday May 16, 2013, 12:00-1:30
Peru is in the midst of a much celebrated gastronomic boom. Promoters of this boom invoke the country’s “natural” biodiversity as key to Peruvian cuisine’s success. This local celebration of food, along with the push toward the global marketing of Peruvian cuisine, has implied greater extraction and consumption of “natural resources” such as indigenous grains, tubers, fruits, and animals that are seen as some of the central ingredients of novoandino cuisine. While the extraction of other kinds of natural resources have resulted in waves of protest over the “destruction of nature”, less has been said about the extraction, consumption and in some cases genetic manipulation of the plants and animals at the center of the so-called gastronomic revolution. This paper is an exploration of the biopolitics and cosmopolitics of Peruvian food. Specifically, I offer a multispecies, gendered analysis of the genetic and reproductive manipulation of guinea pig bodies taking place as a result of the national excitement around Peruvian novoandino cuisine.
Workshop on Compassion Fatigue, Catherine Hagan (Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Missouri), Monday May 6, 2013, 12:00-2:00
This workshop will continue a conversation that began last year, when we explored the issue of compassion fatigue and burnout in people working with animals in research. Again, the primary context to be discussed is people working with animals in research. While a discussion of alternatives to animal use is important, this workshop is not intended to be a discussion about whether or not it is appropriate for animals to be used in such circumstances. Rather, we will focus on exploring ideas and strategies for supporting people whose jobs involve difficult and emotionally demanding aspects of animal care.
Catherine Hagan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at the University of Missouri. She received a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, a D.V.M. from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Washington, Seattle. She completed a residency at UW in the Department of Comparative Medicine in laboratory animal medicine and comparative pathology in 2008 and was an acting faculty member there until leaving this past fall. Her research explores stress, serotonin, and brain innate immunity.
“Exceptional Americanism: Holt Collier, Teddy Roosevelt, and a Bear at Bay,” Annie Dwyer (English) – Thursday April 25, 2013, 12:00-1:30
This paper is an excerpt from a dissertation chapter entitled “Primitive Accumulations.” The chapter explores how material practices involving animals and emergent meanings of animality set the stage for the performance of masculinity and the enactment of racialized violence. The human-animal encounter that anchors the discussion is the hunt, more specifically, representations of hunting written either by or about Theodore Roosevelt. In reading these representations, this chapter traces how animality accrues the sense of savagery — expressed and accessed through the exercise of violence — in the American cultural imaginary over the course of the Progressive era. Ultimately, this chapter links the cultural reimagining of the animal as a “barbarous beast” to the resurgence of a primitivist imaginary authorizing capitalist accumulation — what we might call primitive accumulation, to both invoke and expand Marx’s use of the term.
The excerpt I will be distributing focuses specifically on Roosevelt’s famous 1902 Mississippi bear hunt. During the hunt, Roosevelt dramatically displayed his “good sportsmanship” in refusing to kill a black bear that had been beaten and tied so that he might claim the trophy. While the event is well-known for inspiring the creation of the teddy bear, scholars have largely neglected how the subtext of the news coverage — a public debate about lynching — propelled the story’s rise to celebrity. The black hunting guide who led the hunt, Holt Collier, figures as largely as Roosevelt in representations of the event, as he held the bear at bay under pressure to help Roosevelt “bag” his game. In showing how representations of the event fueled the myth of the black rapist, I also explore how the permissibility of violence against animals and the reinvestment of animality with the sense of savagery underwrote the justification of mob violence in the Jim Crow south.
“Making Things Right Again: Inter-species Moral Repair and the Problem of Captivity,” Karen S. Emmerman, PhD in Philosophy, University of Washington – Monday, February 25, 2013
In Respect for Nature, Paul W. Taylor argued that humans have a duty to make restitution any time we harm wild animals and plants in service of human interests. He suggested that restitution is crucial for showing respect for the lives and well-being of the living things we harm in the course of pursuing our lives. Taylor further averred that restitution, when properly undertaken, means “we need not bear a burden of eternal guilt because we have used them – and will continue to use them – for our own ends. There is a way to make amends” (Taylor 1986, 306). While Taylor’s reminder that restitution is a vital part of our interactions with nonhumans whenever we cause them harm, he does not reflect deeply on the complications encountered by these efforts in the inter-species realm.
In this essay, I propose to undertake a careful examination of the complexities of making restitution (or undertaking the work of moral repair as I call it, borrowing from Margaret Urban Walker) to nonhuman animals. In particular, I will explore how captivity complicates our efforts to successfully do the work of moral repair when we have harmed, neglected, or otherwise inflicted damage on nonhuman animals. Where captivity is a necessary part of our efforts to make things right again, it may well be that we can never fully make amends.
“Sexualized Violence and the Gendered Commodification of the Animal Body in the Pacific Northwest Dairy Industry,” Katie Gillespie, Geography Colloquium – Monday, January 28, 2013
Feminist scholars concerned with the plight of animals and women have argued that female animals tend to be disproportionately exploited for their productive and reproductive capabilities. And this is certainly the case; female farmed animals are used in a number of ways that uniquely exploit their female reproductive capabilities. However, an expanded, more geographical, feminist approach uncovers the ways in which the commodification of farmed animal bodies is highly gendered for both male and female animals.
Using the empirical case study of the dairy industry in the Pacific Northwestern United States, this paper performs a gendered analysis of the commodification of the bovine bodies and lives at the heart of the industry. This paper first reviews the more overt ways in which the female reproductive body is used alongside the less commonly researched role of the male body in order to draw out the ways in which animals are uniquely commodified based on their sex. Next, this paper takes up an exploration of the various discourses (the popular discourse, the formal industry discourse and the colloquial industry discourse) that work to reproduce the lived realities of bovine animals in the industry.
Through a review of the lived realities of these animals, the violence of the system itself becomes clear, but this violence is then simultaneously both concealed and further expressed by the discourses of consumers and producers. This paper explores this sexualized violence against the animal in the hopes of drawing attention to the mundane, everyday forms of violence that remain largely unseen.
A workshop with Sabine Noellgen on her paper on gender and nature in Werner Herzog’s works – Monday, November 26th, 2012
“‘An Hombre Like Me’: Masculinity and Nature in Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man (paper under consideration for Colloquia Germanica’s special issue on Literature and the Environment 2012) attempts to counter a lack of gender approaches to Werner Herzog’s films. I propose that Herzog, whose larger body of films displays a striking excess of masculine failures, presents the subject of his documentary as a social misfit and outsider, who fails both to survive in the wild and, more importantly, to live with other people. My paper detects how Herzog codes this failure and positions himself towards the gender and species ambiguity displayed. Moreover, my investigation of narrative performativity in Grizzly Man get an ecocritical edge when suggesting that both narrators’ construction of masculine identity is closely tied to their filmic representation of nature. Ultimately, I propose, Herzog’s final jump from looking at one man’s identity crisis to a universal human condition not only disregards the gender aspects of the story that he tells, but, when reestablishing a nostalgic look at nature that allows for equally nostalgic heroic masculinity, leaves his own preconceived notions of nature unexamined.”
Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan (www.ourhenhouse.org) – Friday October 12, 2012
Join the brains behind Our Hen House, Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan, for this unique roundtable discussion that explores their collaboration with activists, academics and everyone in between.
Our Hen House (www.ourhenhouse.org/), named by VegNews Magazine as the 2011 Indie Media Powerhouse, is a multimedia hub of opportunities to mainstream the movement to end animal exploitation. Jasmin and Mariann, the founders — and the hosts of the popular Our Hen House podcast – will share the path that led them to creating Our Hen House, how the site is influenced and informed by academics’ involvement, and how we can use our own particular skills, talents and experience to build a new world free of animal exploitation. In this intimate workshop, animal law professor Mariann Sullivan and writer Jasmin Singer, will share ideas for turning thought into action, and action into real change. With a focus on ‘The Gay Animal,’ ‘The Legal Eagle,’ and other unique projects of Our Hen House, this workshop also offers the opportunity to explore the intersections of various social movements and our role in moving those efforts forward.
A Healthy Co-Existence: Animal Law, Public Health and Safety, Friday, April 13, 2012
Presented by: Student Animal Legal Defense Fund University of Washington Chapter
For more information about this all-day event, see the flyer.
Timothy Pachirat (The New School), “Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight”
- May 10, 2012 12:00-2:00, Faculty-Graduate Student Workshop (Thomson 317)
- May 10, 2012 5:00-7:00, Public Lecture (Room TBD)
Abstract: This talk brings to life the massive, routine killing of animals for human consumption from the perspective of those who take part in it. Drawing on more than five months of undercover employment as a liver hanger, cattle driver, and quality control worker on the kill floor of a Great Plains slaughterhouse where 2,500 cattle were killed per day, it explores not only the slaughter industry but also how, as a society, we facilitate violent labor and hide away that which we find too repugnant to contemplate.
Timothy Pachirat (Ph.D. Yale) works as an assistant professor in the Department of Politics at The New School for Social Research. His research and teaching interests include comparative politics, the politics of Southeast Asia, spatial and visual politics, the sociology of domination and resistance, the political economy of dirty and dangerous work, and interpretive and ethnographic research methods. Pachirat’s work has received awards from the American Political Science Association’s Section on Qualitative Methods and from the American Political Science Association’s Labor Project. He is author of Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight (Yale University Press, 2011), a political ethnography of immigrant labor on the kill floor of an industrialized slaughterhouse that explores how violence that is seen as both essential and repugnant to modern society is organized, disciplined, regulated, and reproduced. Pachirat grew up in northeastern and northern Thailand and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
This event is co-sponsored by Comparative History of Ideas, the Clowes Center for the Study of Conflict and Dialogue, the Diversity Research Institute, Geography, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Law, Societies and Justice.
Also, be sure to view the recent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times about Timothy Pachirat’s work!
Sara Van Fleet (JSIS), “For the Birds: A Gardener’s Journey into Domestic Cat Territory”- January 25, 2012
Abstract: Over the past decade, I have worked on my three-acre Vashon Island property to establish it as a vibrant wildlife sanctuary. The property is now home to 74 species of birds, 5 species of reptiles and amphibians, 9 species of dragonflies, and a host of other wild creatures. The property is now also part of the King County Rural Stewardship program and each year I lead wildlife gardening presentations and tours as part of the Audubon’s Enjoyment of Birds lecture series. My work with Audubon as well as with the Vashon Island Pet Protectors involves educating the public about the impact that free-roaming cats have on birds and wildlife and the importance of keeping domestic cats indoors. A recent editorial in the Vashon paper highlighting the natural beauty of the island mentioned a local resident who was astounded to learn that Vashon is home to a rare native flying squirrel. The resident learned about the flying squirrel after her cat killed it and dragged it inside. Her seeming indifference to this sad and unnecessary act by her cat prompted me to write a letter to the editor. My letter subsequently generated a flurry of responses over a three-week period, many in support, but some questioning the validity of my position. This incident has forced me to think about how I can be a better advocate for birds and wildlife (and cats too—as there’s overwhelming evidence that they generally live much longer and healthier lives inside). Why does it appear that many people, even when faced with significant evidence to the contrary, believe that cats belong outside and that birds and wildlife are somehow expendable—or at the very least, are collateral damage in our right to allow our pets to free range? How can we get our fellow humans to extend their love and concern for companion animals to include a wider range of animals?
Sara Van Fleet, Ph.D., is a cultural anthropologist, wildlife gardener and Audubon instructor. Her writing and presentations on wildlife gardening have appeared in Fine Gardening Magazine as well as King County TV’s Yard Talk.
Lesley A. Sharp (Barnard College and Columbia University), “Hybrid Bodies and Animal Science: Moral Thinking in Xenotransplant Research” – March 9, 2012
Abstract: In this lecture, Prof. Sharp will report on her more recent research among scientists who are actively working to develop techniques for “xenotransplantation,” i.e. transplanting into human beings organs taken from other species. Xenotransplantation has been envisioned, by some, as a means of addressing the “shortage” of available organs, while avoiding some of the more troubling aspects of human organ donation.
Lesley A. Sharp is a medical anthropologist on faculty at Barnard College (Department of Anthropology) and Columbia University (Department of Anthropology and Sociomedical Sciences), whose work is concerned with critical analyses of the symbolics of the human body. For the past two decades she has conducted ethnographic research on organ transplantation, procurement, and donation in the United States. This work has focused especially on medical ideologies, body commodification, and the transformative properties of organ transplants, specifically in reference to the social construction of the self. Her 2008 book, Strange Harvest: Organ Transplants, Denatured Bodies, and the Transformed Self was awarded the New Millenium Book Prize by the Society for Medical Anthropology, given every other year to the book “judged to be the most significant and potentially influential contribution to medical anthropology.” More about Lesley Sharp: https://anthropology.barnard.edu/profiles/lesley-sharp. More about Strange Harvest: http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520247864
This event is generously supported by the Program on Values in Society (in the Department of Philosophy) as part of the “Critical Medical Humanities” lecture series.
Eben Kirksey (CUNY Graduate Center): “Interspecies Love in an Age of Excess: Being and Becoming With a Common Ant, Ectatomma ruidum (Roger)” – February 16, 2012
Eben Kirksey is a cultural anthropologist and science studies scholar at the CUNY Graduate Center who studies the political dimensions of imagination as well as the interplay of natural and cultural history. As a guest co-editor of Cultural Anthropology, Kirksey has assembled a collection of original research articles from the emerging field of multispecies ethnography. His first book, Freedom in Entangled Worlds, is about an indigenous political movement in West Papua, the half of New Guinea under Indonesian control.
In this talk, Eben explores the Ant, and the possibilities of empathizing with a species that is commonly thought of as inferior to the human.
This talk is sponsored by the Department of Anthropology, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the Southeast Asia Center in the Jackson School of International Studies.
Catherine Hagan (Comparative Medicine, UW), “Compassion Fatigue: Working with Animals in Research and Other Settings” – February 10, 2012
Abstract: A critical aspect of animal welfare is taking care of the people who care for animals. This workshop will explore the issue of compassion fatigue and burnout in people working with animals. The primary context to be discussed is people working with animals in research. However, the discussion may touch on other settings, such as captive animals in zoos, or shelter work. This is not a discussion about whether or not it is appropriate for animals to be used in such circumstances. While a discussion of alternatives to animal use is important, this workshop is concerned with the urgency of minimizing animal suffering for those animals being used at this moment. Accordingly, we will focus on exploring ideas and strategies for supporting people whose jobs involve difficult and emotionally demanding aspects of animal care.
Catherine Hagan is an Acting Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Medicine at the University of Washington. She received a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, a D.V.M. from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Washington, Seattle. She completed a residency at UW in laboratory animal medicine and comparative pathology in 2008. She provides pathology support in the UW Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and her research explores stress, serotonin, and brain innate immunity.
Temple Grandin (Colorado State University), November 30, 2011
- Sponsored by the UW Health Sciences Administration (HSA) and the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR), Dr. Grandin will be speaking about animal welfare in the Hogness Auditorium, A-420 Health Sciences Center, from 4:00-5:00pm, with Q&A and personal book signing from 5-5:45pm. This event is free and open to the public.
- The Animal Studies Working Group will also have the opportunity to engage with Dr. Grandin at a workshop on 11/30. The workshop will take place from 10:00am-12:00pm in Thomson 317. At the workshop, we will be discussing Grandin’s latest book on animals, Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals. We strongly encourage those interested in attending the workshop to read her book prior to the discussion.
Josphat Ngonyo (Africa Network for Animal Welfare), “Celebrating Animals in Africa: Hope for the Future”- November 15, 2011
Abstract: Come hear what dedicated conservationists and NGOs from within Africa are doing to address wildlife conservation and animal welfare challenges and find out how you can help or even volunteer your time and energy. Mr Josphat Ngonyo, the Founder and Executive Director of Africa Network for Animal Welfare, will be on campus to discuss these critical issues. He will share compelling stories about helping wildlife as well as his insights on animals in Africa and the interdependence of human and animal welfare.
This talk was sponsored by African Studies, The Clowes Center, Comparative History of Ideas, and Campus Animal Rights Educators.