Animals and Animality Across the Humanities and Social Sciences: Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference, June 26-27, 2010

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Event Date: Jun 26 2010 – Jun 27 2010
Event Website: Event Webpage
City: Kingston, ON
Country: Canada

Queen’s University: Keynote: Carol Adams

The emergent field of animal and animality studies is rapidly being articulated across scholarly boundaries. We invite graduate students to enter this growing conversation and approach the topic from perspectives reflecting the broad (inter)disciplinarity of this field. Discussions will use critical animal studies as a conceptual lens in order to investigate issues including the boundaries between self and Other, agency and biological drive, and reason and non-reason; the codes that permeate our conceptions of non-human animals; and the implications of troubling and/or making porous the human/animal divide. Is understanding human beings as embodied subjects ontologically bound to our relationship to non-human animals? In what ways is animal well being crucially implicated in how we think ourselves into and against animals? As part of these discussions, we welcome investigations into the ways that (as Val Plumwood contends) animals, nature, and racial, colonial, and gendered Others function, now and historically, as overlapping sites of difference. We also invite considerations of the relationship between the conceptual economy that posits animality as an exploitable trope and forms of Othering that render animals as salable things. In approaching these topics, we encourage participants to consider how animal and animality studies has impacted other theoretical lenses, including critical race theory and feminist, postcolonial, and ecocritical/environmental studies, as well as the attendant politics of our disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to the field.

Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

Thinking with animals / intro-species boundary disruption

  • Becoming animals and biocentric ethics
  • The boundary between domestic and wild, sentiment and terror
  • Making animals ‘matter’ and the role of affect
  • Animal poetry and ecopoetics
  • Animals and the nation in the nineteenth century and beyond
  • Animals and spectacle (both alive and dead)
  • Urban and wild animals and the politics of space
  • Animal geographies and environmental histories
  • Animals and transnational ecologies

Speciesm and racism

  • Animals and desire / animality and sexuality
  • Vegetarianism and the politics of meat
  • Animals in language / symbolic animals

The discourses and iconography of animals in various cultural forms

  • The uses of animals in war and torture
  • Animal studies now and its future directions

The deadline for submissions (October 1st) has passed but do contact conference organizers if you would like to attend:

Featured image: Sleeping bird in Lake Ontario. Photo by Clarise Samuels on Wikimedia Commons.

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Laura Jean Cameron is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University, Kingston, and coordinates the Sonic Arts of Place Lab. As a Canada Research Chair in Historical Geographies of Nature (2003-2012), her work has investigated a range of field sciences as place-based practices and as cultural encounters. Before arriving at Queen’s, she held a Junior Research Fellowship in Historical Geography at Churchill College, Cambridge (1999-2002). She is the author of Openings: A Meditation on History, Method and Sumas Lake, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997 and co-author with John Forrester of Freud in Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017. She also co-edited Emotion, Place and Culture, Ashgate, 2009 and Rethinking the Great White North: Race, Nature and the Historical Geographies of Whiteness, UBC Press, 2011. Currently she enjoys writing in various genres about fieldwork, emotions and nature, collaborating on sound installations, and hosting the Fireplace Series: Interdisciplinary Conversations, a podcast series you can listen to here:

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