Animals & Animality Across the Humanities and Social Sciences: An Interdisciplinary Coming-Together

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

 Conference Organizers: Jess Roberts, Jaime Roberts and Laura McGavin
Conference Organizers: Jess Roberts, Jaime Denike and Laura McGavin

On June 26th and 27th, 2010, Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario hosted an interdisciplinary and international conference titled Animals and Animality Across the Humanities and Social Sciences. Through paper presentations and workshops, as well as written and visual creative expressions, over 60 local, national, and international conference participants showcased a wealth of research in animal and animality studies. Presentations and discussions addressed topics such as sexuality, globalization, nationalism, race, and ethics, and the ways in which these issues emerge through our conceptual and manifest relationships to nonhuman animals.

Plenary addresses for the conference were provided by independent scholar Carol Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat (1990) and Neither Man Nor Beast: Feminism and the Defense of Animals (1994); and Dr. David Clark, who teaches at McMaster University in the Departments of English and Cultural Studies and Health Studies, and who is currently at work on a manuscript entitled Towards a Pre-History of the Post-Animal: Kant, Levinas, and the Regard of Brutes. Dr. Molly Wallace (Department of English, Queen’s) and Dr. Myra Hird (Department of Sociology, Queen’s) convened workshops that addressed, respectively, the politics of breed-specific legislation and the significance of micro-ontology for our consideration of the nonhuman.

In keeping with the organizers’ aim to create dialogues across disciplines, the conference was also held in conjunction with an artistic exhibition entitled Just Act Natural, which was curated by Queen’s alumnus and artist Lisa Visser. Overall, the conference was a wonderful coming-together of emergent and established animals studies scholars, artists, and community members. Its co-organizers Jaime Denike, Laura McGavin and Jess Roberts (themselves graduate students in the Department of English at Queen’s) were thrilled with the rigorous intellectual engagement and spirit of collegiality demonstrated by all in attendance.

For more information about the conference, as well as photographs of the event, please visit

Featured image: Deer in Montreal. Photo by Jf Brou on Unsplash.

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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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