Following are some of the books coming out this month that we are excited about!
Benz-Schwarzburg, J. (2019). Cognitive Kin, Moral Strangers? Linking Animal Cognition, Animal Ethics & Animal Welfare. Brill.
In Cognitive Kin, Moral Strangers?, Judith Benz-Schwarzburg reveals the scope and relevance of cognitive kinship between humans and non-human animals. She presents a wide range of empirical studies on culture, language and theory of mind in animals and then leads us to ask why such complex socio-cognitive abilities in animals matter. Her focus is on ethical theory as well as on the practical ways in which we use animals. Are great apes maybe better described as non-human persons? Should we really use dolphins as entertainers or therapists? Benz-Schwarzburg demonstrates how much we know already about animals’ capabilities and needs and how this knowledge should inform the ways in which we treat animals in captivity and in the wild.
Cherry, E. (2019). For the Birds: Protecting Wildlife through the Naturalist Gaze. Rutgers University Press.
One in five people in the United States is a birdwatcher, yet the popular understanding of birders reduces them to comical stereotypes, obsessives who only have eyes for their favorite rare species. In real life, however, birders are paying equally close attention to the world around them, observing the devastating effects of climate change and mass extinction, while discovering small pockets of biodiversity in unexpected places. For the Birds offers readers a glimpse behind the binoculars and reveals birders to be important allies in the larger environmental conservation movement. With a wealth of data from in-depth interviews and over three years of observing birders in the field, environmental sociologist Elizabeth Cherry argues that birders learn to watch wildlife in ways that make an invaluable contribution to contemporary conservation efforts. She investigates how birders develop a “naturalist gaze” that enables them to understand the shared ecosystem that intertwines humans and wild animals, an appreciation that motivates them to participate in citizen science projects and wildlife conservation.
Delahaye, P. (2019). A Semiotic Methodology for Animal Studies. Springer, Cham.
This monograph is about new perspective in animal studies methodology, by using concepts and tools from the field of semiotics. It proposes a reflexion on current challenges and issues in the ethology field, and introduces different semiotics – biosemiotics, zoosemiotics – as potential methodological solutions. The chapters cover many aspects of ethology where semiotics can be a helpful hand: studies of language, culture, cognition or emotions, issues about complex, endangered or variable species. It explains why these points are difficult to study for actual ethology, why they still matter for researchers, biodiversity actors or wildlife programs, and how an interdisciplinary study with a semiotic point of view can help understand them. This book will appeal to a wide readership, from researchers and academics in living sciences as well as in linguistics fields, to other professionals – veterinarian, wildlife managers, zookeepers, and many others – who feel the need to better understand some aspects of animals they are working with. Students with animal focus should read this book as an introduction to interdisciplinary methodology, and a proposition to work differently with animals.
Dhont, K., & Hodson, G. (Eds.). (2019). Why we love and exploit animals: Bridging insights from academia and advocacy. Routledge.
This unique book brings together research and theorizing on human-animal relations, animal advocacy, and the factors underlying exploitative attitudes and behaviors towards animals. Why do we both love and exploit animals? Assembling some of the world’s leading academics and with insights and experiences gleaned from those on the front lines of animal advocacy, this pioneering collection breaks new ground, synthesizing scientific perspectives and empirical findings. The authors show the complexities and paradoxes in human-animal relations and reveal the factors shaping compassionate versus exploitative attitudes and behaviors towards animals. Exploring topical issues such as meat consumption, intensive farming, speciesism, and effective animal advocacy, this book demonstrates how we both value and devalue animals, how we can address animal suffering, and how our thinking about animals is connected to our thinking about human intergroup relations and the dehumanization of human groups. This is essential reading for students, scholars, and professionals in the social and behavioral sciences interested in human-animal relations, and will also strongly appeal to members of animal rights organizations, animal rights advocates, policy makers, and charity workers.
Donald, D. (2019). Women against cruelty: Protection of animals in nineteenth-century Britain. Manchester University Press.
This is the first book to explore women’s leading role in animal protection in nineteenth-century Britain, drawing on rich archival sources. Women founded bodies such as the Battersea Dogs’ Home, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and various groups that opposed vivisection. They energetically promoted better treatment of animals, both through practical action and through their writings, such as Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. Yet their efforts were frequently belittled by opponents, or decried as typifying female ‘sentimentality’ and hysteria. Only the development of feminism in the later Victorian period enabled women to show that spontaneous fellow-feeling with animals was a civilising force. Women’s own experience of oppressive patriarchy bonded them with animals, who equally suffered from the dominance of masculine values in society, and from an assumption that all-powerful humans were entitled to exploit animals at will.
Giraud, E. H. (2019). What Comes after Entanglement?: Activism, Anthropocentrism, and an Ethics of Exclusion. Duke University Press.
By foregrounding the ways that human existence is bound together with the lives of other entities, contemporary cultural theorists have sought to move beyond an anthropocentric worldview. Yet as Eva Haifa Giraud contends in What Comes after Entanglement?, for all their conceptual power in implicating humans in ecologically damaging practices, these theories can undermine scope for political action. Drawing inspiration from activist projects between the 1980s and the present that range from anticapitalist media experiments and vegan food activism to social media campaigns against animal research, Giraud explores possibilities for action while fleshing out the tensions between theory and practice. Rather than an activist ethics based solely on relationality and entanglement, Giraud calls for what she describes as an ethics of exclusion, which would attend to the entities, practices, and ways of being that are foreclosed when other entangled realities are realized. Such an ethics of exclusion emphasizes foreclosures in the context of human entanglement in order to foster the conditions for people to create meaningful political change.
Khapaeva, D. (Ed.). (2019). Man-Eating Monsters: Anthropocentrism and Popular Culture. Emerald Group Publishing.
What role do man-eating monsters – vampires, zombies, werewolves and cannibals – play in contemporary culture? This book explores the question of whether recent representations of humans as food in popular culture characterizes a unique moment in Western cultural history and suggests a new set of attitudes toward people, monsters, animals, and death. This volume analyzes how previous epochs represented man-eating monsters and cannibalism. Cultural taboos across the world are explored and brought into perspective whilst we contemplate how the representations of humans as commodities can create a global atmosphere that creeps towards cannibalism as a norm. This book also explores the links between the role played by the animal rights movement in problematizing the difference between humans and nonhuman animals. Instead of looking at the relations between food, body, and culture, or the ways in which media images of food reach out to various constituencies and audiences, as some existing studies do, this collection is focused on the crucial question, of how and why popular culture representations diffuse the borders between monsters, people, and animals, and how this affects our ideas about what may and may not be eaten.
Ko, A. (2019). Racism as Zoological Witchcraft: A Guide to Getting Out. Lantern Books.
In this scintillating combination of critical race theory, social commentary, veganism, and gender analysis, media studies scholar Aph Ko offers a compelling vision of a reimagined social justice movement marked by a deconstruction of the conceptual framework that keeps activists silo-ed fighting their various oppressions―and one another. Through a subtle and extended examination of Jordan Peele’s hit 2017 movie Get Out, Ko shows the many ways that white supremacist notions of animality and race exist through the consumption and exploitation of flesh. She demonstrates how a critical historical and social understanding of anti-Blackness can provide the pathway to genuine liberation. Highly readable, richly illustrated, and full of startling insights, Racism as Zoological Witchcraft is a brilliant example of the emerging discipline of Black veganism by one of its leading voices.
Kowner, R., Bar-Oz, G., Biran, M., Shahar, M., & Shelach-Lavi, G. (2019). Animals and Human Society in Asia Historical, Cultural and Ethical Perspectives. Springer.
This edited collection offers a comprehensive overview of the different aspects of human-animal interactions in Asia throughout history. With twelve thematically-arranged chapters, this book examines the diverse roles that beasts, livestock, and fish — real and metaphorical– have played in Asian history, society, and culture. Ranging from prehistory to the present day, the authors address a wealth of topics including the domestication of animals, dietary practices and sacrifice, hunting, the use of animals in war, and the representation of animals in literature and art. Providing a unique perspective on human interaction with the environment, the volume is cross-disciplinary in its reach, offering enriching insights to the fields of animal ethics, Asian studies, world history and more.
Lennard, D. (2019). Brute Force: Animal Horror Movies. SUNY Press.
Considers how dangerous beasts in horror films illuminate the human-animal relationship. It’s always been a wild world, with humans telling stories of killer animals as soon as they could tell stories at all. Movies are an especially popular vehicle for our fascination with fierce creatures. In Brute Force, Dominic Lennard takes a close look at a range of cinematic animal attackers, including killer gorillas, sharks, snakes, bears, wolves, spiders, and even a few dinosaurs. Lennard argues that animal horror is not so much a focused genre as it is an impulse, tapping into age-old fears of becoming prey. At the same time, these films expose conflicts and uncertainties in our current relationship with animals. Movies considered include King Kong, Jaws, The Grey, Them!, Arachnophobia, Jurassic Park, Snakes on a Plane, An American Werewolf in London, and many more. Drawing on insights from film studies, art history, cognitive science, and evolutionary psychology, Brute Force is an engaging critical exploration—and appreciation—of cinema’s many bad beasts.
Nguyen, H. (2019). Tongue-Tied: Breaking the Language Barrier to Animal Liberation. Lantern Books.
Words matter: they mold and mirror our values and our reality. And so it is with the language we use to think and talk about species other than our own. In Tongue-Tied, Hanh Nguyen unpacks the many metaphors, meanings, and grammatical formulations that speak to and echo our physical exploitation of other-than-human animals, and shows how they constrain our abilities to relate to our animal kin fairly and honestly. Full of subtle insights and richly suggestive observations, and drawing from Nguyen’s own cross-cultural experiences, Tongue-Tied offers a glimpse of a language that is freed from euphemistic self-deception, one that accepts definition without limitation and difference without hierarchy.
Sorenson, J. and A. Matsuoka (Eds). (2019). Dog’s Best Friend?: Rethinking Canid-Human Relations. McGill-Queens University Press.
In almost 40 per cent of households in North America, dogs are kept as companion animals. Dogs may be man’s best friends, but what are humans to dogs? If these animals’ loyalty and unconditional love have won our hearts, why do we so often view closely related wild canids, such as foxes, wolves, and coyotes, as pests, predatory killers, and demons? Re-examining the complexity and contradictions of human attitudes towards these animals, Dog’s Best Friend? looks at how our relationships with canids have shaped and also been transformed by different political and economic contexts. Journeying from ancient Greek and Roman societies to Japan’s Edo period to eighteenth-century England, essays explore how dogs are welcomed as family, consumed in Asian food markets, and used in Western laboratories. Contributors provide glimpses of the lives of street dogs and humans in Bali, India, Taiwan, and Turkey and illuminate historical and current interactions in Western societies. The book delves into the fantasies and fears that play out in stereotypes of coyotes and wolves, while also acknowledging that events such as the Wolf Howl in Canada’s Algonquin Park indicate the emergence of new popular perspectives on canids. Questioning where canids belong, how they should be treated, and what rights they should have, Dog’s Best Friend? reconsiders the concept of justice and whether it can be extended beyond the limit of the human species.
Trzak, A., Ed. (2019). Teaching Liberation: Essays on Social Justice, Animals, Veganism, and Education. Lantern Books.
As humankind moves deeper into the Anthropocene, a period marked by climate disruption, species extinction, and profound challenges to human and animal welfare, what and how we teach our children has never been of greater importance. In this passionate, incisive, and diverse collection of thirteen interconnected essays, educators at every level of education and from four continents call for a re-imagined pedagogy that embeds respect for the other-than-human world, encourages imagination and resilience, and fosters open inquiry based on principles of justice, fairness, and equity. By turns polemical, visionary, and practical, Teaching Liberation is an essential book for critical animal studies scholars, humane educators, and all those who practice pedagogy, whether in the classroom or outside it.
Vinci, T. M. (2019). Ghost, Android, Animal: Trauma and Literature Beyond the Human. Routledge.
Ghost, Android, Animal challenges the notion that trauma literature functions as a healing agent for victims of severe pain and loss by bringing trauma studies into the orbit of posthumanist thought. Investigating how literary representations of ghosts, androids, and animals engage traumatic experience, this book revisits canonical texts by William Faulkner and Toni Morrison and aligns them with experimental and popular texts by Shirley Jackson, Philip K. Dick, and Clive Barker. In establishing this textual field, the book reveals how depictions of non-human agents invite readers to cross subjective and cultural thresholds and interact with the “impossible” pain of others. Ultimately, this study asks us to consider new practices for reading trauma literature that enlarges our conceptions of the human and the real.
Ward, E. Oven, A., and Bethencourt, R. (2019). The Clean Pet Food Revolution: How Better Pet Food Will Change the World. Lantern.
Did you know that a quarter of all the meat consumed in the United States is eaten by our pets? That’s the equivalent to the amount devoured by 26 million Americans, and it makes U.S. cats and dogs equal to the fifth largest country in terms of animal protein consumption. Yet the impact pet food has on the environment and climate change, how healthy or necessary it is for our animal companions, or how it impacts the welfare of the farmed animals who become that food are barely known or ignored―even by animal lovers! The Clean Pet Food Revolution lifts the lid on the current pet food industry: its claims of what constitutes a “natural” diet for pets, its shocking record on animal welfare, and its devastating effect on the environment and climate change. The book explodes myths about “grain-free” diets, protein intake, and what our pets “want.” Finally, it details the many exciting scientific developments in alternative proteins―whether from plants, fungi, insects, or cell-based meat products―that promise not only to completely change what we feed our cats and dogs but to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, end farmed-animal slaughter, and make our pets healthier. Written by specialists in veterinary science, biotech, and animal welfare, The Clean Pet Food Revolution is a thoroughly researched and compellingly written excoriation of an unsustainable present and a fascinating glimpse of future possibilities.