Select Page

Following are the Human-Animal Studies books we are excited about this month!

Binfet, J. T., & Hartwig, E. K. (2019). Canine-Assisted Interventions: A Comprehensive Guide to Credentialing Therapy Dog Teams. Routledge.

Covering principles of therapy dog team training, assessment, skills, and ongoing monitoring, Canine-Assisted Interventions provides guidance on the most evidence-based methods for therapy dog team welfare, training, and assessment. The authors offer a linear approach to understanding all aspects of the screening, assessment, and selection of dog-handler teams by exploring the journey of dog therapy teams from assessment of canines and handlers to the importance of ongoing monitoring, recredentialing, and retirement. In addition to reviewing key findings within the field of human-animal interactions, each chapter emphasizes skills on both the human and dog ends of the leash and makes recommendations for research-informed best practices. To support readers, the book culminates with checklists and training resources to serve as a quick reference for readers. This book will be of great interest for practitioners, in-service professionals, and researchers in the fields of canine-assisted interventions and counseling.

Cassidy, A. (2019). Vermin, victims and disease: British debates over bovine tuberculosis and badgers. Palgrave Macmillan.

This open access book provides the first critical history of the controversy over whether to cull wild badgers to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in British cattle. This question has plagued several professional generations of politicians, policymakers, experts and campaigners since the early 1970s. Questions of what is known, who knows, who cares, who to trust and what to do about this complex problem have been the source of scientific, policy, and increasingly vociferous public debate ever since. This book integrates contemporary history, science and technology studies, human-animal relations, and policy research to conduct a cross-cutting analysis. It explores the worldviews of those involved with animal health, disease ecology and badger protection between the 1970s and 1990s, before reintegrating them to investigate the recent public polarisation of the controversy. Finally it asks how we might move beyond the current impasse.

Chesi, G. M., & Spiegel, F. (2019). Classical Literature and Posthumanism. Bloomsbury Publishing.

The subject of the posthuman, of what it means to be or to cease to be human, is emerging as a shared point of debate at large in the natural and social sciences and the humanities.This volume asks what classical learning can bring to the table of posthuman studies, assembling chapters that explore how exactly the human self of Greek and Latin literature understands its own relation to animals, monsters, objects, cyborgs and robotic devices. With its widely diverse habitat of heterogeneous bodies, minds, and selves, classical literature again and again blurs the boundaries between the human and the non-human; not to equate and confound the human with its other, but playfully to highlight difference and hybridity, as an invitation to appraise the animal, monstrous or mechanical/machinic parts lodged within humans. This comprehensive collection unites contributors from across the globe, each delving into a different classical text or narrative and its configuration of human subjectivity-how human selves relate to other entities around them. For students and scholars of classical literature and the posthuman, this book is a first point of reference.

Donaldson, B. and King, A. (2019). Feeling Animal Death: Being Host to Ghosts. Rowman and Littlefield.

The emotional exchange between so-called “humans” and more-than-human creatures is an overlooked phenomenon in societies characterized by the ubiquitous deaths of animals. This text offers examples of people across diverse disciplines and perspectives—from biomedical research to black theology to art—learning and performing emotions, expanding their desires, discovering new ways to behave, and altering their sense of self, purpose, and community because of passionate, but not romanticized, attachments to animals. By articulating the emotional ties that bind them to specific animals’ lives and deaths, these authors play host to creaturely ghosts who reorient their world vision and work in the world, offering examples of affect and feeling needed to enliven multi-species ethics.

Gouyon, J. B. BBC Wildlife Documentaries in the Age of Attenborough. Springer Nature.

This book explores the history of wildlife television in post-war Britain. It revolves around the role of David Attenborough, whose career as a broadcaster and natural history filmmaker has shaped British wildlife television. The book discusses aspects of Attenborough’s professional biography and also explores elements of the institutional history of the BBC―from the early 1960s, when it was at its most powerful, to the 2000s, when its future is uncertain. It focuses primarily on the wildlife ‘making-of’ documentary genre, which is used to trace how television progressively became a participant in the production of knowledge about nature. With the inclusion of analysis of television programmes, first-hand accounts, BBC archival material and, most notably, interviews with David Attenborough, this volume follows the development of the professional culture of wildlife broadcasting as it has been portrayed in public. It will be of interest to wildlife television amateurs, historians of British television and students in science communication.

Hunnicutt, G. (2019). Gender Violence in Ecofeminist Perspective: Intersections of Animal Oppression, Patriarchy and Domination of the Earth. Routledge.

This book aims to begin an eco-centered, eco-feminist informed discussion about the ways in which our relationship to “nature” is bound up with gender, patriarchy, and violence. Ecofeminist scholars study the interconnections between gendered relationships of domination among humans, between humans, and between humans, nonhumans, and the earth. It is in this ideological and structural tangle between humans and the environment that a deeper understanding of gender violence is possible. Ecofeminism offers analytical possibilities for understanding a “logic of domination” which sustain a whole host of problems, including the interrelated oppressions of gender violence and exploitation of the more-than-human-life world. In this book, Gwen Hunnicutt brings into dialog ecofeminism and gender violence. Ideological components, such as speciesism and the belief that the earth and its nonhuman inhabitants are ours to exploit, inform a host of other social practices, including interpersonal violence. A portion of this book is devoted to exploring the ways in which patriarchy is foregrounded by another hierarchy—uman domination over “nature”. Thus, gender violence stems from a logic of domination that is built on the domination of nature and the domination of the Other “as nature”. As this blueprint of oppression repeats itself where there are vectors of difference, the chapters ultimately connect these oppressions by showing the inextricable bind of violence against humans and the more-than-human-life world. This book will serve as a resource for scholars, activists, and students in sociology, gender violence and interdisciplinary violence studies, critical animal studies, environmental studies, and feminist and ecofeminist studies.

Irvine, L. (Ed.). (2019). We Are Best Friends: Animals in Society. MDPI.

Friendships between humans and non-human animals were once dismissed as sentimental anthropomorphism. After decades of research on the emotional and cognitive capacities of animals, we now recognize human-animal friendships as true reciprocal relationships. Friendships with animals have many of the same characteristics as friendships between humans. Both parties enjoy the shared presence that friendship entails along with the pleasures that come with knowing another being. Both friends develop ways of communicating apart from, or in addition to, spoken language. Having an animal as a best friend can take the form of relationship known as the “pet”, but it can also take other forms. People who work with animals often characterize their non-human partners as friends. People who work with search-and-rescue dogs, herding dogs, or police dogs develop and depend on the closeness of friendship. The same holds for equestrians, as horses and riders must understand each other’s bodies and movements intimately. In some situations, animals provide the sole source of affection and interaction in people’s lives. Homeless people who live on the streets with animal companions experience togetherness 24/7. This book explores the various forms these friendships take. It sheds light on what these friendships mean and how they expand the interdisciplinary knowledge of the roles of animals in society.

Lynteris, C. (Ed.) (2019). Framing Animals as Epidemic Villains. Palgrave Macmillan.

This book takes a historical and anthropological approach to understanding how non-human hosts and vectors of diseases are understood, at a time when emerging infectious diseases are one of the central concerns of global health. The volume critically examines the ways in which animals have come to be framed as ‘epidemic villains’ since the turn of the nineteenth century. Providing epistemological and social histories of non-human epidemic blame, as well as ethnographic perspectives on its recent manifestations, the essays explore this cornerstone of modern epidemiology and public health alongside its continuing importance in today’s world. Covering diverse regions, the book argues that framing animals as spreaders and reservoirs of infectious diseases – from plague to rabies to Ebola – is an integral aspect not only to scientific breakthroughs but also to the ideological and biopolitical apparatus of modern medicine. As the first book to consider the impact of the image of non-human disease hosts and vectors on medicine and public health, it offers a major contribution to our understanding of human-animal interaction under the shadow of global epidemic threat.

Schilp, J. L. (2019). Dogs in Health Care: Pioneering Animal-Human Partnerships. McFarland.

Dogs have a storied history in health care, and the human-animal relationship has been used in the field for decades. Certain dogs have improved and advanced the field of health care in myriad ways. This book presents the stories of these pioneer dogs, from the mercy dogs of World War I, to the medicine-toting sled dogs Togo and Balto, to today’s therapy dogs. More than the dogs themselves, this book is about the human-animal relationship, and moments in history where that relationship propelled health care forward.

Shapshay, S. (2019). Reconstructing Schopenhauer’s Ethics: Hope, Compassion, and Animal Welfare. Oxford University Press.

At the apex of his influence, from about 1860 up to the start of World War I, Schopenhauer was known first and foremost as a philosopher of pessimism. Still today, his main reputation is as one of the few philosophers to have argued that it would have been better never to have been. Sandra Shapshay aims to complicate and challenge this predominant picture of Schopenhauer’s ethical thought, arguing that while the pessimistic, resigned Schopenhauer represents one side of the thinker, there is another, more hopeful side that is equally important to his legacy and essential to fully understanding his philosophy. Schopenhauer’s ethical thought contains a hopeful, progressive strand, and the main task of this book is to reconstruct it. The resulting position, which Shapshay terms “compassionate moral realism,” offers a hybrid Kantian moral realist/sentimentalist theory and a Schopenhauerian value ontology of degrees of inherent value. The reconstruction is novel in three main ways. First, it views Schopenhauer as a more faithful Kantian than most commentators have been apt to recognize. Second, it sees Schopenhauer’s philosophy as an evolving rather than static body of thought, especially with respect to the place of the Platonic Ideas in his system; Schopenhauer’s views in the philosophy of nature changed as he encountered proto-Darwinian thought, and this change weakens Schopenhauer’s own grounds for pessimism. A third novelty is the claim, concerning his ethical thought, that there are really two Schopenhauers rather than one: the “Knight of Despair” and the “Knight of Hope” distinction introduced in this book helps to capture the incompatibility between the resignationist and the compassionate moral realist sides of Schopenhauer’s ethical thought.

Steck, C. (2019). All God’s Animals: A Catholic Theological Framework for Animal Ethics. Georgetown University Press.

The book is the first of its kind to draw together in conversation the views of the early Church, contemporary biblical and theological scholarship, and post-conciliar teachings. Steck develops a comprehensive, Catholic theology of animals based on an in-depth exploration of Catholicism’s fundamental doctrines ― trinitarian theology, Christology, pneumatology, eschatology, and soteriology. All God’s Animals makes two central claims. First, we can hope that God will include animals of the present age in the kingdom inaugurated by Christ. Second, because of this inclusion, our responses to animals should be guided by the values of the kingdom. As Christians await the final liberation of all creation, they are to be witnesses to God’s kingdom by embodying its ideals in their relations with animal life.  Because the kingdom’s fullness is yet to come and because our world remains marked by the wounds of sin, however, Christian treatment of animals will at times require acts that are at odds with the kingdom’s ideals (for example, those causing suffering and death). Steck examines each of these ideas and explores all of their complexities.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Unless otherwise noted, all content on this website is copyright © 2020 The Animals and Society Institute. Please visit to find out more about our reprint and use policies.

Share Us Online