On Thursday, June 20, 2024, the Animals & Society Institute commemorated our 40th anniversary with this celebratory webinar, featuring guest speakers, Dr. Erica Fudge, who presented “What have Animals Ever Done for History?”, and Zane McNeill, who discussed how carceral logics normalize and perpetuate the violence of incarceration and deportation.

What has happened in the last 40 years since ASI came into being, and in no small part because of it, we can now also think not only about what academic disciplines can do to address pressing issues surrounding our use and exploitation of animals, but also what brings animals into academic focus – herding the sheep in front of the historians, if you like – might add to those disciplines.

Dr. Erica Fudge


These are some of the issues I hope the Human-Animal Studies field will endeavor to confront, and the Animals & Society Institute is doing just that.

Zane McNeill


Speaker Bios:

Dr. Erica Fudge is Professor of English at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. For twenty-five years, her trailblazing research has mapped the various crossroads of human-animal studies and Renaissance studies, and includes five monographs, four edited collections, plus dozens more essays. Most recently, she is the author of Quick Cattle and Dying Wishes: People and Their Animals in Early Modern England (Cornell University Press, 2018), which draws from the broad and deep archival expertise that informs her additional studies of Early Modern meat-eating, dreams, children, laughter, reason, bladder-control, and animal faces. Her published work on contemporary culture looks at a range of areas where humans interact with animals, including pet ownership, experimentation, the wearing of fur, anthropomorphic children’s literature, and vegetarianism. From 2007 until last month, she served as the director of the British Animal Studies Network, hosting annual events in human-animal studies devoted to growing conversations among scholars and other experts.

Zane McNeill is a nonbinary activist-scholar and longtime vegan from West Virginia. They have published six edited collections on a wide range of topics that include building multispecies resistance against exploitation, queering Appalachian ecologies, and pursuing politics as public art. I know Zane’s work best from their groundbreaking volume Vegan Entanglements: Dismantling Racial and Carceral Capitalism, published in 2022 by Lantern Publishing & Media. Zane has worked at Farm Sanctuary, The Humane League, the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. From 2021-2022 Zane volunteered as the Director of Publications at the Institute of Critical Animal Studies and was the recipient of the 2022 National Lawyer Guild’s Legal Worker Award for their labor and animal rights organizing. Presently Zane is a student at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law and serves as the National Lawyers Guild’s Animal Liberation Committee Chair.

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