Following are some of the books coming out this month that we are excited about!
Taylor, N. and H. Fraser. (2019). Companion Animals and Domestic Violence: Rescuing Me, Rescuing You. Palgrave Macmillan.
In this book, Nik Taylor and Heather Fraser consider how we might better understand human-animal companionship in the context of domestic violence. The authors advocate an intersectional feminist understanding, drawing on a variety of data from numerous projects they have conducted with people, about their companion animals and links between domestic violence and animal abuse, arguing for a new understanding that enables animals to be constituted as victims of domestic violence in their own right. The chapters analyse the mutual, loving connections that can be formed across species, and in households where there is domestic violence. Companion Animals and Domestic Violence also speaks to the potentially soothing, healing and recovery oriented aspects of human-companion animal relationships before, during and after the violence, and will be of interest to various academic disciplines including social work, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, geography, as well as to professionals working in domestic violence or animal welfare service provision.
Lobb, J. (2019). The Flight of Birds. Animal Publics series, Sydney University Press.
The Flight of Birds is a novel in twelve stories, each of them compelled by an encounter between the human and animal worlds. The birds in these stories inhabit the same space as humans, but they are also apart, gliding above us. The Flight of Birds explores what happens when the two worlds meet. Joshua Lobb’s stories are at once intimate and expansive, grounded in an exquisite sense of place. The birds in these stories are variously free and wild, native and exotic, friendly and hostile. Humans see some of them as pets, some of them as pests, and some of them as food. Through a series of encounters between birds and humans, the book unfolds as a meditation on grief and loss, isolation and depression, and the momentary connections that sustain us through them. Underpinning these interactions is an awareness of climate change, of the violence we do to the living beings around us, and of the possibility of transformation. The Flight of Birds will change how you think about the planet and humanity’s place in it.
Simons, J. (2019). Obaysch: A Hippopotamus in Victorian London. Animal Publics series, Sydney University Press.
Obaysch: A Hippopotamus in Victorian London is the story of Obaysch the hippopotamus, the first ‘star’ animal to be exhibited in the London Zoo. In 1850, a baby hippopotamus arrived on English shores, allegedly the first in Europe since the Roman Empire, and almost certainly the first in Europe since prehistoric times. Captured near an island from which he took his name, Obaysch was donated by the viceroy of Egypt in exchange for greyhounds and deerhounds. His arrival was greeted with a wave of ‘Hippomania’, doubling the number of visitors to the zoo. Uncovering the circumstances of Obaysch’s capture and exhibition, John Simons investigates the notion of a ‘star’ animal, as well as the cultural value that Obaysch, and the other hippos who joined him over the following few years, accumulated. This book also delves into the historical context of Obaysch and his audience, considering the relationship between Victorian attitudes to hippopotami and the expansion of the British Empire into sub-Saharan Africa.
Pedersen, H. (2019). Schizoanalysis and Animal Science Education. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Within the education system, acts of violence toward animals take place and are manifested on a routine basis in science classes, in lecture halls, in school canteens, and during study visits to zoos, farms, and slaughterhouses. Taken for granted as ”necessary” for teaching and learning, this violence profoundly affects animals as well as students. It also provides new entry points for understanding education as a multispecies power regime, driven by numerous other investments than knowledge dissemination alone. What, then, is the nature of this educational violence, and how exactly does education work through techniques of interference with student and animal bodies? Based on ethnographic research within upper secondary schools and higher education, this book challenges the use of animals in education by innovative engagement of Deleuze and Guattari’s tool of schizoanalysis. Sparking a fundamental rethinking of educational processes, relations, and aims, the book explores how scientific knowledge about animals proliferates through complex interplay of power and desire in contested spaces of teaching and learning. Configuring animal science education as a set of machines working in tandem with the animal industry, Helena Pedersen offers radical new insights into how education forms subjectivities and social orders under conditions of capitalist expansion that capture students and animals alike. Bringing together education studies, science studies, critical animal studies, and continental philosophy, Pedersen also provides examples of disruptive action that can put education to work for transformation and liberation.
Barcz, A., & Łagodzka, D. (Eds.). (2019). Animals and Their People: Connecting East and West in Critical Animal Studies. Brill.
Animals and Their People: Connecting East and West in Cultural Animal Studies, edited by Anna Barcz and Dorota Łagodzka, provides a zoocentric insight into philosophical, artistic, and literary problems in Western, Anglo-American, and Central-Eastern European context. The contributors go beyond treating humans as the sole object of research and comprehension, and focus primarily on non-human animals. This book results from intellectual exchange between Polish and foreign researchers and highlights cultural perspective as an exciting language of animal representation. Animals and Their People aims to bridge the gap between Anglo-American and Central European human-animal studies.
Akhtar, A. (2019). Our Symphony With Animals: On Health, Empathy, and Our Shared Destinies. Pegasus.
Deftly combining medicine, social history and personal experience, Our Symphony with Animals is the first book by a physician to show how deeply the well-being of humans and animals are entwined. Interwoven throughout is Dr. Akhtar’s own story of being a young girl who was bullied in school and sexually abused by her uncle. Feeling abandoned by humanity, it was only when she met Sylvester, a dog who had also been abused, that she found strength for both of them. Against the backdrop of her inspiring story, Dr. Akhtar asks, what do we gain when we recognize our kinship with animals? She travels around the country to tell the stories of a varied cast of characters—including a former mobster, an industrial chicken farmer, a Marine veteran—and comes face to face with a serial killer. Through storytelling that is entertaining, profound, and touching, Dr. Akhtar reveals what happens when we both break and forge bonds with animals. She demonstrates how humans are neurologically designed to empathize with animals, and how violence against them goes against our nature. In equal measure, the love and friendship we give to other species biologically reverberates back to us. Humanity’s compassion for animals is the next step in our species’ moral evolution and a vital component of our own health. Our Symphony with Animals is the definitive account for why our relationships with animals matter.
Slovic, S., Rangarajan, S., & Sarveswaran, V. (Eds.). (2019). Routledge Handbook of Ecocriticism and Environmental Communication. Routledge.
Ecocriticism and environmental communication studies have for many years co-existed as parallel disciplines, occasionally crossing paths but typically operating in separate academic spheres. These fields are now rapidly converging, and this handbook aims to reinforce the common concerns and methodologies of the sibling disciplines. The Routledge Handbook of Ecocriticism and Environmental Communication charts the history of the relationship between ecocriticism and environmental communication studies, while also highlighting key new paradigms in information studies, diverse examples of practical applications of environmental communication and textual analysis, and the patterns and challenges of environmental communication in non-Western societies. Contributors to this book include literary, film and religious studies scholars, communication studies specialists, environmental historians, practicing journalists, art critics, linguists, ethnographers, sociologists, literary theorists, and others, but all focus their discussions on key issues in textual representations of human–nature relationships and on the challenges and possibilities of environmental communication. The handbook is designed to map existing trends in both ecocriticism and environmental communication and to predict future directions. This handbook will be an essential reference for teachers, students, and practitioners of environmental literature, film, journalism, communication, and rhetoric, and well as the broader meta-discipline of environmental humanities.
Małecki, W., Sorokowski, P., Pawłowski, B., & Cieński, M. (2019). Human Minds and Animal Stories: How Narratives Make Us Care About Other Species. Routledge.
The power of stories to raise our concern for animals has been postulated throughout history by countless scholars, activists, and writers, including such greats as Thomas Hardy and Leo Tolstoy. This is the first book to investigate that power and explain the psychological and cultural mechanisms behind it. It does so by presenting the results of an experimental project that involved thousands of participants, texts representing various genres and national literatures, and the cooperation of an internationally-acclaimed bestselling author. Combining psychological research with insights from animal studies, ecocriticism and other fields in the environmental humanities, the book not only provides evidence that animal stories can make us care for other species, but also shows that their effects are more complex and fascinating than we have ever thought. In this way, the book makes a groundbreaking contribution to the study of relations between literature and the nonhuman world as well as to the study of how literature changes our minds and society.
Bornemark, J., Andersson, P., & von Essen, U. E. (Eds.). (2019). Equine Cultures in Transition: Ethical Questions. Routledge.
Societal views on animals are rapidly changing and have become more diversified: can we use them for our own pleasure, and how should we understand animal agency? These questions, asked both in theoretical discourses and different practices, are also relevant for our understanding of horses and the human–horse relation. Equine Cultures in Transition stands as the first volume to bring together ethical questions of the new field of human–horse studies. For instance: what sort of ethics should be developed in relation to the horse today: an egalitarian ethics or an ethics that builds upon asymmetrical relations? How can we understand the horse as a social actor and as someone who, just like the human being, becomes through interspecies relations? Through which methods can we give the horse a stronger voice and better understand its becoming? These questions are not addressed from a medical or ethological perspective focused on natural behaviour, but rather from human acknowledgement of the horse as a sensing, feeling, acting, and relational being; and as a part of interspecies societies and relations. Providing an introductory yet theoretically advanced and broad view of the field of post humanism and human animal studies, Equine Cultures in Transition will appeal to students and researchers interested in fields such as human–animal studies, political sociology, animals and ethics, animal behaviour, anthropology, and sociology of culture. It may also appeal to riders and other practitioners within different horse traditions.