Following are the new books we are excited about this month!
Coe, S. and Eisenman, S.F. (2018). Zooicide: Seeing Cruelty, Demanding Abolition. AK Press.
In Zooicide, Sue Coe employs her bold artistic style to confront the institution of zoos, showing that they are inherently cruel and why the solution is not to reform them, but to abolish them. Coe’s visual journalism investigates the mental anguish inflicted upon animals— including cases where they have killed themselves to end their torture. Zoos may pay lip service to education, enrichment, and conservation, but their depravity is systemic and ubiquitous; it is built into the very idea of animals as commodities. As long as they are considered property, animals will be treated as things, with no rights—things that can be caged, bred, abused, or killed for profit and entertainment. It’s time to end this cruelty. A powerful accomplice to Coe’s images, and written specifically for them, Stephen F. Eisenman’s essay, “The Capitalist Zoo,” is a history of zoos written from the future—a future in which zoos as we know them no longer exist.
Erwin, B. J. (2018). Zöopedagogies: Creatures as Teachers in Middle English Romance. Routledge.
The human protagonists of medieval romance are works in progress. They are learners, taught by an unexpected set of teachers: non-human animals including horses, hawks, lions, and the various quarry of the hunt. These “creature teachers” show humans how to be more perfectly human—how to love, fight, survive, and live according to medieval culture’s highest ideals. Zöopedagogies explores the pedagogical role of animals in medieval romance, a genre whose fantastical elements enable animal characters to behave in ways inspired by, but not limited to their real-world actions. Situated at the intersection of animal studies and medieval studies, Zöopedagogies claims medieval roots for posthumanism by telling a new story about the role of animals in constructing Western culture. Bonnie Erwin brings together a diverse array of texts, including chivalric romances like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and popular romances like Bevis of Hampton and Richard Coer de Lyon. She puts these into conversation with medieval texts on natural science, horsemanship, hawking, and hunting that inform the representation of creatures who teach. In so doing, she reveals a rich and nuanced sense of animals as participants in interspecies collaborative culture-making.
Gillespie, K. (2018). The cow with ear tag# 1389. University of Chicago Press.
To translate the journey from a living cow to a glass of milk into tangible terms, Kathryn Gillespie set out to follow the moments in the life cycles of individual animals—animals like the cow with ear tag #1389. She explores how the seemingly benign practice of raising animals for milk is just one link in a chain that affects livestock across the agricultural spectrum. Gillespie takes readers to farms, auction yards, slaughterhouses, and even rendering plants to show how living cows become food. The result is an empathetic look at cows and our relationship with them, one that makes both their lives and their suffering real.
Hosey, G., & Melfi, V. (Eds.). (2018). Anthrozoology: human-animal interactions in domesticated and wild animals. Oxford University Press.
Anthrozoology, the study of human-animal interactions (HAIs), has experienced substantial growth during the past 20 years and it is now timely to synthesise what we know from empirical evidence about our relationships with both domesticated and wild animals. Two principal points of focus have become apparent in much of this research. One is the realisation that the strength of these attachments not only has emotional benefits for people, but confers health benefits as well, such that a whole area has opened up of using companion animals for therapeutic purposes. The other is the recognition that the interactions we have with animals have consequences for their welfare too, and thus impact on their quality of life. Consequently we now study HAIs in all scenarios in which animals come into contact with humans, whether as pets/companions, farm livestock, laboratory animals, animals in zoos, or in the wild. This topical area of study is of growing importance for animals in animal management, animal handling, animal welfare and applied ethology courses, and also for people within psychology, anthropology and human geography at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. It will therefore be of interest to students, researchers, and animal managers across the whole spectrum of human-animal contact.
Morin, K. M. (2018). Carceral space, prisoners and animals. Routledge.
Carceral Space, Prisoners and Animals explores resonances across human and nonhuman carceral geographies. The work proposes an analysis of the carceral from a broader vantage point than has yet been done, developing a ‘trans-species carceral geography’ that includes spaces of nonhuman captivity, confinement, and enclosure alongside that of the human. The linkages across prisoner and animal carcerality that are placed into conversation draw from a number of institutional domains, based on their form, operation, and effect. These include: the prison death row/ execution chamber and the animal slaughterhouse; sites of laboratory testing of pharmaceutical and other products on incarcerated humans and captive animals; sites of exploited prisoner and animal labor; and the prison solitary confinement cell and the zoo cage. The relationships to which I draw attention across these sites are at once structural, operational, technological, legal, and experiential / embodied. The forms of violence that span species boundaries at these sites are all a part of ordinary, everyday, industrialized violence in the United States and elsewhere, and thus this ‘carceral comparison’ amongst them is appropriate and timely.
Porter, N., & Gershon, I. (Eds.). (2018). Living with Animals: Bonds Across Species. Cornell University Press.
Living with Animals is a collection of imagined animal guides—a playful and accessible look at different human-animal relationships around the world. Anthropologists and their co-authors have written accounts of how humans and animals interact in labs, in farms, in zoos, and in African forests, among other places. Modeled after the classic A World of Babies, an edited collection of imagined Dr. Spock manuals from around the world—With Animals focuses on human-animal relationships in their myriad forms. This is ethnographic fiction for those curious about how animals are used for a variety of different tasks around the world. To be sure, animal guides are not a universal genre, so Living with Animals offers an imaginative solution, doing justice to the ways details about animals are conveyed in culturally specific ways by adopting a range of voices and perspectives. How we capitalize on animals, how we live with them, and how humans attempt to control the untamable nature around them are all considered by the authors of this wild read. If you have ever experienced a moment of “what if” curiosity—what is it like to be a gorilla in a zoo, to work in a pig factory farm, to breed cows and horses, this book is for you. A light-handed and light-hearted approach to a fascinating and nuanced subject, Living with Animals suggests many ways in which we can and do coexist with our non-human partners on Earth.