ASI-University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign  Inaugural Human-Animal Studies Institute Call for Applications



The Animals & Society Institute (“ASI”) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invites applications for the first annual Human-Animal Studies Summer Institute program for advanced graduate students and early career scholars pursuing research in Human-Animal Studies. The theme of the inaugural institute will be: “Animals Across the Disciplines.”

This interdisciplinary program follows up on the successful six-week summer fellowship program, started by the Animals & Society Institute in 2007. This new program is focused on graduate students and those in the first few years post-Ph.D., and will enable 20-25 participants to work on their dissertations or publications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign within the Center for Advanced Study, for one intensive week.

The Institute is designed to support participants’ individual research in human-animal studies as well as to promote interdisciplinary exchange. The program will offer a shared space of critical inquiry that brings the participants’ work-in-progress to the attention of a network of influential HAS scholars, and provides the participants with the guidance and feedback to develop their work. At the heart of the program are daily plenary lectures by distinguished speakers, followed by afternoon seminars devoted to discussion of participants’ work. These will be complemented by special workshops and field trips to on- and off-campus locations which highlight different aspects of the human-animal relationship. Participants should expect a stimulating intellectual environment reflecting a diversity of approaches, projects, disciplinary backgrounds, and ethical positions on animal issues. All fellows must be in continuous residence for the duration of the program, July 9-July 16, inclusive.

Summer Institute Directors

The Institute is directed by Jane Desmond, Resident Director, Kim Marra, Margo DeMello, and Kenneth Shapiro.

Jane Desmond - Director, International Forum for US Studies; Professor of Anthropology and Gender/Women's Studies

Jane Desmond – Director, International Forum for US Studies; Professor of Anthropology and Gender/Women’s Studies

Jane Desmond is Professor of Anthropology and of Gender/Women’s Studies at Illinois, where she also holds affiliate faculty appointments in the Unit for Critical Theory and Interpretation and the College of Veterinary Medicine. She has published widely in the fields of performance studies, transnational American Studies, and on human-animal relations, and recently inaugurated the Animal Lives Book Series at the University of Chicago Press. Desmond is the author of two solo-authored books (Staging Tourism: Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Sea World, U of Chicago Press, 1999) and Displaying Death and Animating Life: Human-Animal Relations in Art, Science and Everyday Life, U of Chicago Press, 2016), two edited books on performance, a third co-edited book on globalization, and several special issues of journals in multiple countries, in addition to numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Her work has appeared in Hungary, South Korea (in translation and in English), in China (in translation), and in the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, and Brazil, as well as the United States. In addition, she is the co-founder and Executive Director of the International Forum for US Studies: A Center for the Transnational Study of the United States,”, and is past President of the International American Studies Association (2008-2012).


Kim Marra – Professor of Theatre Arts and American Studies, Director of Graduate Studies in Theatre Arts, and affiliate faculty in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies

Kim Marra is Professor of Theatre Arts and American Studies, Director of Graduate Studies in Theatre Arts, and affiliate faculty in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa. Her books include Strange Duets: Impresarios and Actresses in the American Theatre, 1865-1914 (University of Iowa Press, 2006, winner of the Joe A. Callaway Prize) and the co-edited volumes Passing Performances: Queer Readings of Leading Players in American Theater History (1998) and Staging Desire: Queer Readings of American Theater History (2002), The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy (2005), all for the University of Michigan Press. She performed an original autobiographical solo piece Horseback Views, which inspired her prize-winning essay “Riding, Scarring, Knowing: A Queerly Embodied Performance Historiography” (Theatre Journal 64.4, December 2012). She has also published essays on War Horse, Theatre Equestre Zingaro, and equestrian sculptures on the Parthenon Frieze, as well as a solo autobiographical performance piece Horseback Views. She has served on the editorial boards of the University of Iowa Press and the Theatre in the Americas Series of Southern Illinois University Press, as well as the journals Theatre Survey and Theatre History Studies. She is currently an associate editor of the Animal Lives Series of the University of Chicago Press.

Margo DeMello Staff

Margo DeMello – Human-Animal Studies Program Director

Margo DeMello is Program Director of the Human-Animal Studies Program at the Animals & Society Institute, and is an Adjunct Professor at Canisius College’s Anthrozoology program. She also is the President of House Rabbit Society, an international rabbit advocacy organization. She has published a dozen books, and two dozen articles, in the fields of human-animal studies and body studies, including two textbooks. Her most recent books include Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies (Columbia, 2012), Speaking for Animals: Animal Autobiographical Writing (Routledge, 2012), and Mourning Animals: Rituals and Practices Surrounding Animal Death (Michigan State, 2016).

BOD Ken Shapiro

Kenneth Shapiro – Editor of Society & Animals: Journal of Human-Animal Studies, Journal for Applied Animal Welfare Science, and the Human-Animal Studies book series

Kenneth Shapiro is cofounder and President of the board of the Animals & Society Institute. He is founding editor of Society & Animals: Journal of Human-Animal Studies, and coeditor and cofounder of Journal for Applied Animal Welfare Science and the editor of the Human-Animal Studies book series. His most recent book is The Assessment and Treatment of Children who Abuse Animals: The AniCare® Approach.

Guest Faculty

We are very excited to announce the guest faculty for the 2017 Institute:

Una Chaudhuri is Collegiate Professor and Professor of English and Drama at NYU. She is the author of No Man’s Stage: A Semiotic Study of Jean Genet’s Plays, and Staging Place: The Geography of Modern Drama, as well as numerous articles on drama theory and theatre history in such journals as Modern Drama, Theatre Journal, and Theatre. She is the editor of Rachel’s Brain and Other Storms, a book of scripts by performance artist Rachel Rosenthal, and co-editor, with Elinor Fuchs, of the award-winning critical anthology Land/Scape/Theater. She was guest editor of a special issue of Yale Theater on “Theater and Ecology” and a special issue on Animals and Performance, for TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies (2007). Recent publications include Animal Acts: Performing Species Today, co-edited with Holly Hughes, and Ecocide: Research Theatre and Climate Change, co-authored with Shonni Enelow. With director Fritz Ertl, she has developed a number of theatre pieces using a process they call “Research Theatre,” and she has worked collaboratively with the artist Marina Zurkow, most recently in a multi-platform project entitled “Dear Climate.” She chairs the panel of judges for the Callaway Prize for the Best Book on Drama or Theatre, and she has been a judge of the Obie and the Alpert Awards. She is a voting member of the American Theatre Wing, which awards Broadway’s Tony Awards.

Leesa Fawcett is Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning; Coordinator of the Graduate Diploma in Environmental and Sustainability Education, and Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. She has taught Environmental Education, Critical Education for Social Change, Bioregionalism and Culture and Environment in the graduate program . She has also taught the undergraduate courses Foundations of Nature, Technology and Society, and Environmental Education. Leesa has advised students working on topics such as wolf management, science and environmental thought, environmental education through narrative, cross-cultural learning, women in Thailand, traditional ecological knowledge, and deep ecology and ecofeminism. Leesa is a member of the Conservation Biology Society, the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication, the Environmental Studies Association of Canada, and the Toronto editorial group of the international journal Capitalism, Nature, Socialism.

Agustín Fuentes is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. He completed a B.A. in Zoology and Anthropology, and an M.A.& Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. His current foci include cooperation and bonding in human evolution, ethnoprimatology and multispecies anthropology, evolutionary theory, and public perceptions of, and interdisciplinary approaches to, human nature(s). Fuentes’ recent books include Evolution of Human Behavior (Oxford University Press, “Centralizing Fieldwork: Critical Perspectives from Primatology, Biological and Social Anthropology” (Co-edited, Berghahn press), Biological Anthropology: concepts and connections (McGraw-Hill), Monkeys on the Edge: ecology and management of long-tailed macaques and their interface with humans (co-edited, Oxford University Press), and the forthcoming Race, Monogamy, and other lies they told you: busting myths about human nature (UC Press). Key recent articles include “Naturecultural Encounters in Bali: Monkeys, Temples, Tourists, and Ethnoprimatology” in Cultural Anthropology and “The New Biological Anthropology: Bringing Washburn’s New Physical Anthropology into 2010 and beyond” in the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology. Current research projects include the ethnoprimatology of Singapore, interdisciplinary approaches to understanding human nature(s), and an evaluation of the roles of cooperation, community, and niche construction in human evolution.

Chris Green is the first Executive Director of the Animal Law & Policy Program. Chris is an alumnus of Harvard Law School and as a student won First Prize at the inaugural National Animal Law Competition, an event he now regularly judges. Chris took the first Animal Rights Law class ever offered by HLS, and in conjunction with that course, spent two years developing his own scholarship, writing The Future of Veterinary Malpractice Liability in the Care of Companion Animals, published in the 10th Anniversary Issue of the Animal Law Review. Chris then worked closely with his HLS instructor Steven Wise on the pioneering law review article applying habeas corpus to chimpanzees that helped establish the theoretical underpinnings for the current work of the Nonhuman Rights Project. Most recently, Chris spent two years as the first Director of Legislative Affairs for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and he’s the immediate past-Chair of the American Bar Association’s TIPS Animal Law Committee. In those capacities he persuaded the top three U.S. airlines to stop transporting endangered animal hunting trophies, helped defeat Ag-Gag legislation in several states, and successfully passed an ABA resolution recommending that all U.S. legislative bodies outlaw the possession of dangerous wild animals. Chris has served on the Board of the National Center for Animal Law, was an adviser to the National Canine Research Council, and is a member of the National Sheriffs’ Association’s Coalition on Violence Against Animals, the American Veterinary Medical Law Association, and the Illinois Farm Bureau. Chris has consulted on animal legal issues for CNN, CBS, NBC, NPR, Headline News, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, Fortune, Smart Money Magazine, Science Magazine, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune & San Francisco Chronicle. Chris created the Environmental Science degree program at the University of Illinois, currently owns and manages a farm that has remained in his family for 179 straight years, and also spent several decades working in the fine arts, film and music industries.

Leslie Irvine is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from The State University of New York at Stony Brook. Her research focuses on the roles of animals in society. Her latest book, My Dog Always Eats First, examines homeless people’s relationships with their companion animals (Lynne Rienner Publishers; 2013). Her other books include Filling the Ark: Animal Welfare in Disasters (2009; Temple University Press), If You Tame Me: Understanding our Connection with Animals (2004; Temple University Press) and Codependent Forevermore: The Invention of Self in a Twelve Step Group (1999; University of Chicago Press). Her articles have appeared in many journals, including Society & Animals, Anthrozoös, Gender & Society, Social Problems, The Sociological Quarterly, Qualitative Sociology, and Symbolic Interaction.

Nigel Rothfels is a historian and director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. His research focuses on the history of western ideas about animals. He is the author of Savages and Beasts: The Birth of the Modern Zoo (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), a study of the origins of naturalistic displays in zoological gardens, and the editor of the collection Representing Animals (Indiana University Press, 2002). He is also the General Editor and co-founder of the book series Animalibus: Of Animals and Cultures for Penn State University Press.

Deke Weaver is a writer-performer and media artist, and is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with appointments in the Department of Theater and the School of Art & Design’s New Media Program. His performances and videos have been presented throughout the U.S. and abroad in experimental theater, film/video, dance, solo performance, and broadcast venues such as PBS, Channel 4/U.K., the New York Video Festival at Lincoln Center, the Sundance Film Festival, the Chicago Humanities Festival, the Berlin Video Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art/LA, the Moth, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and many others including livestock pavilions, national parks, night clubs, backyard sheds and living rooms. Recent work on his life-long project, The Unreliable Bestiary – a performance for each letter of the alphabet, each letter represented by an endangered species – includes creating and touring a live-cinema solo version of the original sprawling site-specific WOLF performance, editing the multi-camera video documentaries for WOLF and ELEPHANT, designing the artist books for MONKEY and ELEPHANT, research for BEAR and TIGER, an early workshop for TIGER (part of Perform Midwest: Incubating Collaborative Research, a project funded by the Humanities Without Walls consortium), conference presentations, and the performance-lecture Choose Your Grizzly (MacDowell Downtown in Peterborough, NH, and Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Chicago). The texts for MONKEY and ELEPHANT are included in Animal Acts: Performing Species Today (edited by Holly Hughes and Una Chaudhuri, 2014, University of Michigan Press). A Guggenheim Fellow and Creative Capital grantee, a resident artist at Yaddo, Isle Royale National Park, a three-time resident at Ucross, and a five-time fellow at the MacDowell Colony, he has been awarded commissions and grants from the city of San Francisco, the states of New York and Illinois, and other public and private foundations.

Additional faculty from UIUC will be part of the program.

Updated Application Deadline: February 20, 2017

Tuition and Other Fees

The tuition fee for the Institute (which covers registration, housing, library access, special events, receptions, and seminars) is $750. In addition, participants may choose to buy a meal plan through the dining halls at $25 per day ($175 per week), with vegan and vegetarian options available. Students may also choose to eat at on- or off-campus restaurants. We encourage applicants to seek funding from their Universities to cover expenses, and once accepted can supply documentation of acceptance to assist them in doing so.


We are offering a handful of scholarships to students at the advanced stages of their degree training who lack any summer support from their home institution or any external fellowship.  If you are interested in being considered for one of these scholarships, which covers the $750 tuition (and includes housing), please include a separate note along with our application stating this, and if you have already applied, please send us a separate note indicating your interest in the scholarships.


Applicants must (1) be a doctoral student at the dissertation stage or early career scholars no more than four years past the Ph.D. or be a MSW or JD student in the advanced stages of their degree, OR professional degree students seeking a degree in law, veterinary medicine, public policy, and so on; (2) have a commitment to advancing research in Human-Animal Studies; and (3), submit a follow-up report six months after the program’s completion. Applications are encouraged from the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences, as long as a part of the project is explicitly dealing with the human-animal relationship. If you are interested in the Institute and unsure if you are eligible, please contact the directors.


Applicants should email electronic copies of the following items to Please name all of your documents in the following manner: Smith_Proposal; Smith_Abstract; Smith_CV, etc.

1. Cover sheet with the applicant’s name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, institution name, date Ph.D. expected or received, citizenship/nationality, and title of project.

2. One paragraph abstract

3. One-page (single spaced) project proposal that describes the project and indicates work completed on the project to date.
a. Since the description will be considered by a panel of scholars from a variety of disciplines, it should be written for non-specialists.
b. Project proposal should include clear details about what draws the candidate to animal studies, how far the applicant is along in the dissertation or planned publication, and what part of the project the applicant expects to accomplish during the course of the program.
c. Proposals should also indicate how your work deepens an understanding of human-animal relations and, if appropriate to the project, how it might have long-term impacts or practical implications that may help improve human-animal relations.

4. Curriculum vitae of no more than 4 pages.

5. Short writing sample of no more than 20 pages.

6. Two letters of recommendation (pdfs of original letters recommended). These should be emailed by the referees themselves.

Applicants are responsible for contacting referees and supplying them with a description of the project, and making sure letters arrive on time. Incomplete applications cannot be considered.

Selection Process

The selection committee includes members from a range of disciplines connected to Human-Animal Studies.

Applications are evaluated on the basis of the contribution of the completed project to Human-Animal Studies, the qualifications of the applicant to complete the research, and how well the applicant’s project complements the other accepted projects.

Applicants will be notified by email March 2017.

About the Animals & Society Institute

The Animals & Society Institute is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) independent research and educational organization that helps improve and expand knowledge about human-animal relationships in order to create safer and more compassionate communities for all. In particular, ASI exposes students and faculty to the study of human-animal relationships, providing them access to quality information about human-animal studies, including two peer-reviewed journals, Society & Animals and the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, the Human-Animal Studies Book Series, and other publications, as well as a wide variety of online materials to help faculty to develop and teach courses, and students to find the programs that suit their needs; provides information and resources to help those who are working in areas of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention and treatment of animal abuse to accomplish their goals, and create and promote diversion and treatment programs to help human service providers identify, evaluate, treat and/or appropriately refer individuals who abuse animals, including the AniCare® and AniCare® Child programs; and provides evidence-based, theoretically sound and useful knowledge about human-animal relationships to those who work to affect policy and practices involving animals

About the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the flagship campus of the Illinois university system, is one of the top public research institutions in the world. Illinois is a 165 year old public institution that has been home to numerous Nobel Prize winners, National Book award winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, and members of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as recent “MacArthur Genius Fellowship” awards. In addition, Illinois offers a nearly unparalleled opportunity for cross disciplinary interactions on campus, with campus experts in animal welfare, animals in literature, animals in anthropology, conservation politics, animal law, agribusiness, wildlife medicine, primatology, veterinary medicine, and more. Illinois’s Center for Advanced Study draws together, through competitions, the most innovative and creative thinkers across the disciplines. Founded by John Bardeen, the only scholar to ever win two Nobel prizes in two different disciplines, the Center continues this legacy of innovation and excellence. Spanning the whole of the university, CAS is the only unit on campus that has the reach to unite the sciences, social sciences, liberal arts, fine arts, and professional schools like law and medicine, and will serve as the hosting unit for the Institute.

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