Critical Animal Studies Is Here For Good

David Cassuto

I have been remiss in not remarking on the surge in recognition and spreading impact of the academic field of Critical Animal Studies.  Not only are there a number of cool blogs about it (e.g., this and this and this) but one of the preeminent thinkers in the field is my good friend and former professor, Cary Wolfe.  Cary is the Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor at Rice University.  He also edits the Posthumanities series published by the University of Minnesota Press.   

Back in the day (the 90s), when I was a doctoral student and he was professing at Indiana University, Cary introduced me to the field of animal theory and ethics as a subset of critical theory.  Since then, it has emerged as its own discipline and continues to propel the cutting edge of theoretical discourse.  You can read more about Critical Animal Studies and about Cary Wolfe’s work in this Chronicle of Higher Ed. article.

5 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pace Law Library, Animal Blawg. Animal Blawg said: #animalrights Critical Animal Studies Is Here For Good […]

  2. […] the original here: Critical Animal Studies Is Here For Good « Animal Blawg By admin | category: critical | tags: academic, animal, assassination, critical, […]

  3. Is there much in the way of a ‘partnership’ between law programs and humanities programs in this field?

    I would think that this particular topic would very ripe for collaboration in that the laws and regulations affecting animals are (or potentially are) immense, and the critical groundwork laid by posthuman studies is perhaps sufficient to begin translating into legal theory.

    I would also think that collaborating with legal institutions would further legitimize developing departments in the humanities, and the possibility for conferencing with other post-grad departments to develop new legal theories could create excitement for the law schools as well.

  4. […] Interesting to see the emergence of a new field of study and new approach: Critical animal studies. […]

  5. Matthew, the answer is yes and no. The field of “animal studies” is sufficiently small that it is possible for those working in the areas of, say, animal ethics or animal law, to read all (or nearly) the work being done in social sciences or humanities departments. When I teach my first year legal studies course on “Animals, the Environment, and the Law,” I am able to assign work from philosophy, theology, history, law and sociology. Having said that, the extent to which there is active collaboration between legal scholars and non-legal scholars studying animals is minimal. A particularly interesting collaboration is the Wild Justice book written by biologist Marc Bekoff and philosopher Jessica Peirce. A good introduction to what is going on in animal studies (although a few years old now) is the multi-volume reader Animals and Society edited by Rhoda Wilkie and David Inglis.

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