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Here are the books we are excited about this month!

Leshko, I. (2019). Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries. University of Chicago Press.

There’s nothing quite like a relationship with an aged pet—a dog or cat who has been at our side for years, forming an ineffable bond. Pampered pets, however, are a rarity among animals who have been domesticated. Farm animals, for example, are usually slaughtered before their first birthday. We never stop to think about it, but the typical images we see of cows, chickens, pigs, and the like are of young animals. What would we see if they were allowed to grow old? Isa Leshko shows us, brilliantly, with this collection of portraits. To create these portraits, she spent hours with her subjects, gaining their trust and putting them at ease. The resulting images reveal the unique personality of each animal. It’s impossible to look away from the animals in these images as they unforgettably meet our gaze, simultaneously calm and challenging. In these photographs we see the cumulative effects of the hardships of industrialized farm life, but also the healing that time can bring, and the dignity that can emerge when farm animals are allowed to age on their own terms.

Vinnari, E., & Vinnari, M. (Eds.). (2019). Sustainable governance and management of food systems: Ethical perspectives. Wageningen Academic Publishers.

This book focuses on the role of governance and management in the food chain. These methods are now especially important as the current food system has been found to inflict unsustainable environmental pressures on our planet. These include, but are not limited to, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, excessive water usage and problems with nutrition cycles. In addition, issues such as the treatment of farm animals has attracted considerable media and public attention from the ethical point of view. Therefore, the prominent questions discussed in this book are:

  • – What are the most important ethical issues in our fisheries, agriculture and food systems?
  • – How should we govern food systems when sustainability is a key goal?
  • – What kind of management tools are available for this purpose?
  • – Who is responsible for making the agriculture and food system more sustainable?

Goldhahn, J. (2019). Birds and the Culture of the European Bronze Age: Theoretical and Cultural Perspectives. Cambridge University Press.

This book provides new insights into the relationship between humans and birds in Northern Europe during the Bronze Age. Joakim Goldhahn argues that birds had a central role in Bronze Age society and imagination, as reflected in legends, myths, rituals, and cosmologies. Goldhahn offers a new theoretical model for understanding the intricate relationship between humans and birds during this period. He explores traces of birds found in a range of archaeological context, including settlements and burials, and analyzes depictions of birds on bronze artefacts and figurines, rock art, and ritual paraphernalia. He demonstrates how birds were used in divinations, and provides the oldest evidence of omens taken from gastric contents of birds – extispicy – ever found in Europe.

Sinha, S., & Baishya, A. R. (2019). Postcolonial Animalities. Routledge.

Postcolonial Animalities, co-edited by Suvadip Sinha and Amit R. Baishya, brings together ten essays to consider the interfaces between “human” and “animal” and the concrete presence of animals in postcolonial cultural production. This edited collection critiques monohumanist conceptions of the “human” and considers the co-constitutiveness of imaginaries of the human with grammars of animality. One of the central contributions of this volume is to decolonize existing conceptualizations of the human-animal relationship, and to consider the material representation of animals within the realm of colonial and postcolonial cultural production from the perspective of ethical alterity and alternative narratives of anticolonial and postcolonial politics. The volume also explores entanglements of race and species in colonial and neocolonial frameworks without transforming such inquiries into a zero-sum game that privileges one category over another. The essays in the volume, focusing on multiple geographical locations ranging from South Asia, Southeast Asia, post-Ottoman Turkey, the Caribbean, Australia, South Africa and Palestine/Israel, historicizes and understands multispecies, interspecies and transspecies encounters, affiliations and connections in and through their localized dimensions, and studies human-animal encounters in their varied and complex affective relationalities. Through such inquiries, the volume considers how modes of representing animals, including located forms of anthropomorphism and zoomorphism, help us think-with and be-with different animals.

Jalongo, M. R. (2019). Prison Dog Programs: Renewal and Rehabilitation in Correctional Facilities. Springer, Cham.

This edited volume brings together a diverse group of contributors to create a review of research and an agenda for the future of dog care and training in correctional facilities. Bolstered by research that documents the potential benefits of HAI, many correctional facilities have implemented prison dog programs that involve inmates in the care and training of canines, not only as family dogs but also as service dogs for people with psychological and/or physical disabilities. Providing an evidence-based treatment of the topic, this book also draws upon the vast practical experience of individuals who have successfully begun, maintained, improved, and evaluated various types of dog programs with inmates; it includes first-person perspectives from all of the stakeholders in a prison dog program—the corrections staff, the recipients of the dogs, the inmate/trainers, and the community volunteers and sponsors. Human-animal interaction (HAI) is a burgeoning field of research that spans different disciplines: corrections, psychology, education, social work, animal welfare, and veterinary medicine, to name a few.  Written for an array of professionals interested in prison dog programs, the book will hold special interest for researchers in criminal justice and corrections, forensic psychology, and to those with a commitment to promoting the ideals of rehabilitation, desistance thinking, restorative justice, and re-entry tools for inmates.

Tuomivaara, S. Animals in the Sociologies of Westermarck and Durkheim. Palgrave.

This book explores why animals, at some point, disappeared from the realm and scope of sociology. The role of sociology in the construction of a science of the ‘human’ has been substantial, building representations of the human sphere of life as unique. Within the sociological tradition however, animals have often been invisible, even non-existent. Through in-depth comparisons of the texts of prominent early sociologists Emile Durkheim and Edward Westermarck, Tuomivaara shows that despite this exclusion, representations of animals and human-animal relations were far more varied in early works than in the later sociological cannon. Addressing a significant gap in the interdisciplinary field of animal studies, Tuomivaara presents a close reading of the historical treatment of animals in the works of Durkheim and Westermarck to determine how the human-animal boundary was established in sociological theory. The diverse forms in which animals and ‘the animal’ appear in the works of early classical sociology are charted and explored, alongside the sociological themes that bring animals into these texts. Situated in contemporary theory, from critical animal studies to posthumanism, this important book lays the groundwork for a disciplinary shift away from this sharp human-animal dualism.

 Braid, B. and H. Muzaffar. (2019). Bodies in Flux: Embodiments at the End of Anthropocentrism. Brill.

This volume offers an insight into a selection of current issues of embodiment and other related aspects, such as identity, gender, disability, or sexuality, discussed on the basis of examples from contemporary culture and social life. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s concept of the cyborg as a transgressor of boundaries, the book examines fluidity of post-human bodies – from cyber relations to others and to self, enabled by the latest technologies, through fragmented, prostheticised, monstrous or augmented body of popular culture and lifestyles, to the dis/utopian fantasies offered by literary texts – showing how difficult it still is in current culture to let go of the stable boundaries towards the post-gender world Haraway imagines.

Louv, R. (2019). Our Wild Calling: How Connecting with Animals Can Transform Our Lives—and Save Theirs. Algonquin Books.

Richard Louv’s landmark book, Last Child in the Woods, inspired an international movement to connect children and nature. Now Louv redefines the future of human-animal coexistence. Our Wild Calling explores these powerful and mysterious bonds and how they can transform our mental, physical, and spiritual lives, serve as an antidote to the growing epidemic of human loneliness, and help us tap into the empathy required to preserve life on Earth. Louv interviews researchers, theologians, wildlife experts, indigenous healers, psychologists, and others to show how people are communicating with animals in ancient and new ways; how dogs can teach children ethical behavior; how animal-assisted therapy may yet transform the mental health field; and what role the human-animal relationship plays in our spiritual health. He reports on wildlife relocation and on how the growing populations of wild species in urban areas are blurring the lines between domestic and wild animals. Our Wild Calling makes the case for protecting, promoting, and creating a sustainable and shared habitat for all creatures—not out of fear, but out of love. Transformative and inspiring, this book points us toward what we all long for in the age of technology: real connection.

Guenther, M. (2019). Human-Animal Relationships in San and Hunter-Gatherer Cosmology, Volume II: Imagining and Experiencing Ontological Mutability. Springer Nature.

Exploring a hitherto unexamined aspect of San cosmology, Mathias Guenther’s two volumes on human-animal relations in San cosmology link “new Animism” with Khoisan Studies, providing valuable insights for Khoisan Studies and San culture, but also for anthropological theory, relational ontology, folklorists, historians, literary critics and art historians. Building from the examinations of San myth and contemporary culture in Volume I, Volume II considers the experiential implications of a cosmology in which ontological mutability―ambiguity and inconstancy―hold sway. As he considers how people experience ontological mutability and deal with profound identity issues mentally and affectively, Guenther explores three primary areas: general receptiveness to ontological ambiguity; the impact of the experience of transformation (both virtual/vicarious and actual/direct); and the intersection of the mythic, spirit world with reality. Through a comparative consideration of animistic cosmology amongst the San, Bantu-speakers and the Inuit of Canada’s eastern Arctic, alongside a discussion of animistic currents in Western humanities and ethology, Guenther clearly paints the relative strengths and weaknesses of New Animism discourse, particularly in relation to San ontology and cosmology, but with overarching relevance.

 Bonyhady, T. (2019). The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat: A Rodent History of Australia. Text Publishing.

The long-haired rat breeds and spreads prodigiously after big rains. Its irruptions were plagues to European colonists, who feared and loathed all rats, but times of feasting for Aboriginal people. Tim Bonyhady explores the place of the long-haired rat in Aboriginal culture. He recounts how settler Australians responded to it, learned about it and, occasionally, came to recognise the wonder of it. And he reconstructs its changing, shrinking landscape—once filled with bilbies, letter-winged kites and inland taipans, but now increasingly the domain of feral cats. An astonishing history, The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat illuminates a species, a continent, its climate and its people like never before.

Hadley, J. (2019). Animal Neopragmatism: From Welfare to Rights. Palgrave.

This book affords a neopragmatic theory of animal ethics, taking its lead from American Pragmatism to place language at the centre of philosophical analysis. Following a method traceable to Dewey, Wittgenstein and Rorty, Hadley argues that many enduring puzzles about human interactions with animals can be ‘dissolved’ by understanding why people use terms like dignity, respect, naturalness, and inherent value. Hadley shifts the debate about animal welfare and rights from its current focus upon contentious claims about value and animal mindedness, to the vocabulary people use to express their concern for the suffering and lives of animals. With its emphasis on public concern for animals, animal neopragmatism is a uniquely progressive and democratic theory of animal ethics.

French, R. D. (2019). Antivivisection and medical science in Victorian society (Vol. 5492). Princeton University Press.

Late nineteenth-century England witnessed the emergence of a vociferous and well-organzied movement against the use of living animals in scientific research, a protest that threatened the existence of experimental medicine. Richard D. French views the Victorian antivivisection movement as a revealing case study in the attitude of modern society toward science.
The author draws on popular pamphlets and newspaper accounts to recreate the structure, tactics, ideology, and personalities of the early antivivisection movement. He argues that at the heart of the antivivisection movement was public concern over the emergence of science and medicine as leading institutions of Victorian society–a concern, he suggests, that has its own contemporary counterparts. In addition to providing a social and cultural history of the Victorian antivivisection movement, the book sheds light on many related areas, including Victorian political and administrative history, the political sociology of scientific communities, social reform and voluntary associations, the psychoanalysis of human attitudes toward animals, and Victorian feminism. Originally published in 1975.

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