Animals are increasingly at the forefront of research questions – not as shadows to human stories, or as beings we want to understand biologically, or for purely our benefit – but as beings who have histories, stories, and geographies of their own.
Join PhD Candidate Claudia Hirtenfelder as she delves into some of the most important ideas emerging out of this recent turn in scholarship, thinking, and being.
Each season of The Animal Turn is set around themes with each episode unpacking a particular concept and its significance therein.
Season 2 – Animals and Experience
Season 2 Episode 10. Grad Review with Pablo Perez Castello, Siobhan Speiran, and Joshua Jones
January 18, 2021
In this final episode of Season 2, Claudia talks to Joshua Jones, Siobhan Speiran, and Pablo Perez Castello about the theme of Animals and Experience. Together they unpack some of the overarching ideas to emerge in episodes 1 to 9 (such as relationality, imagination, meaning, and beauty) and highlight areas that could be explored more in future.Read more
Siobhan Speiran is a PhD candidate in Environmental Studies at Queen’s, working with Dr. Alice Hovorka and The Lives of Animals Research Group. Her research is funded by a SSHRC Bombardier Scholarship and focuses on the lives of nonhuman primates in Costa Rican sanctuaries. Her central research question is interdisciplinary, considering how sanctuaries – as sites of ecotourism – contribute to the conservation and welfare of four monkey species. Follow Siobhan’s research on @theanimalwelfarist via Instagram or her website theanimalwelfarist.weebly.com.
Joshua Jones is a PhD candidate at the School of Environmental Studies, Queen’s University. His research interests include extinction studies, the philosophy of ecology/biology, and biosemiotics. Josh’s thesis explores the emptiness that resides in ecological communities after species extinction. Twitter: @joshdanieljones
Pablo Perez Castello is a PhD candidate at the School of Humanities, Royal Holloway University of London. His thesis in Philosophy focuses on understanding the role human language plays in producing anthropocentrism, and the importance of animal language in relation to political agency and zoodemocracy. Pablo is also undertaking research at the Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law, where he explores how the constitution of Australia should change in light of the argument advanced by Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka that communities of wild animals should have a right to sovereignty. He has taught Ancient Greek Philosophy, and lectured on philosophical concepts of nature in the MA in Political Philosophy at Royal Holloway. For more information, see here.
Season 2 Episode 9. Survivors with pattrice jones
January 4, 2021
This episode explores a concept that works to highlight the experiences of animals caught up in human systems that oppress animals. Claudia talks to pattrice jones about how animals’ experiences (particularly those of chickens) compare in factory farms versus at VINE Sanctuary. They discuss the significance of talking about not only animals’ victimisation but also but their agency and will to survive.Read more
Guest: pattrice jones is a co-founder of VINE Sanctuary, an LGBTQ-led farmed animal refuge that works for social and environmental justice as well as animal liberation. A former tenant organizer and antiracist educator with more than forty years of activist experience, pattrice has taught college and university courses in the theory and praxis of social change activism. As an ecofeminist scholar, pattrice lectures and publishes worldwide on the interconnections among human, animal, and ecological matters. You can also find VINE on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured: Queering Animal Liberation a lecture by pattrice jones; Angela Davis: An Autobiography by Angela Davis; From Heroic to Holistic Ethics: The Ecofeminist Challenge by Marti Kheel; Feminism and the Mastery of Nature by Val Plumwood; Queer Eros in the Enchanted Forest: The Spirit of Stonewall as Sustainable Energy by pattrice jones.
Season 2 Episode 8. Shoalmates with Jonathan Balcombe
December 21, 2020
Claudia talks to Jonathan Balcombe about fishes and their varied and incredible experiences. Using the concept of ‘shoalmates’ as a launch pad, they discuss some of the intra- and inter-species relations fishes engage in from work to cuddle and play.Read more
Guest: Jonathan Balcombe is a biologist with a PhD in ethology, the study of animal behavior. His books include Pleasurable Kingdom, Second Nature, The Exultant Ark, and What a Fish Knows—a New York Times best-seller now available in fifteen languages. His next book for grown-ups, Super Fly, will be published May 2021 by Penguin Books. A children’s story book about a boy and a fish is also scheduled for publication in 2021. He has taught courses in animal behavior and sentience for the Viridis Graduate Institute, and Humane Society University. He lives in Belleville, Ontario where in his spare time he enjoys biking, baking, birding, Bach, and trying to understand the neighborhood squirrels. Learn more about Jonathan and his work here.
Season 2 Episode 7. Political Multispecies Communities with Sue Donaldson
December 7, 2020
After unpacking what constitutes a multispecies community, Sue Donaldson explains why it is important to consider how politics works to make sure that animals’ experiences, and what they are asking for, are heard.Read more
Guest: Sue Donaldson is a writer and animal advocate. She is a research associate in the Dept. of Philosophy at Queen’s University, Kingston, and co-convenor of the Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Ethics research group. She is the author of 4 books, and dozens of articles, primarily focusing on animal rights and politics. Questions of political community, political agency, and doing democracy with animals are central to her current work, and her most recent publication is “Animal Agora: Animal Citizens and the Democratic Challenge” in Social Theory and Practice. Sue’s writing is available at academia.edu and her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured: Farmed Animal Sanctuaries: The Heart of the Movement by Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka; Animal Agency in Community: A Political Multispecies Ethnography of VINE Sanctuary by Charlotte Blattner, Sue Donaldson, and Ryan Wilcox; Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power by Audre Lorde.
Season 2 Episode 6. Interspecies Subjectivity with Lauren Corman
November 23, 2020
Claudia speaks to Lauren Corman about interspecies subjectivity unpacking what subjectivity itself could mean and why it is so important to consider how it is shaped by species. They reflect on threads scholars need to hold in tension when trying to understand experience and using such theoretically dense concepts.Read more
Guest: Dr. Lauren Corman is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Brock University. Hired as the first professor to specialize in critical animal studies, Lauren teaches about animals and contemporary social theory. Lauren previously hosted the Animal Voices radio show, an animal advocacy program dedicated to social justice – which continued to be hosted by a collective of scholars when she departed in 2010. Inspired by her mentors in Environmental Studies (Drs. Leesa Fawcett, Connie Russell, and Cate Sandilands), Lauren continues to interrogate “the question of the animal(s)” from intersectional, decolonial, and anti-capitalist perspectives. Her current foci include trauma, sociality, and interspecies subjectivity. Lauren is the co-editor of Animal Subjects 2.0., as well as a popular piece titled From Wet Markets to Meatpacking: Why Animal Advocacy Fails without Anti-Racism. She wrote a chapter in Colonialism and Animality: Anti-Colonial Perspectives in Critical Animal Studies, edited by Kelly Struthers Montford, Chloë Taylor, and is working on a book about the complex histories of vilified animals (Twitter @Lauren Corman; Instagram @fugazitarian).
Featured: Featured: The Companion Species Manifesto by Donna Haraway; Under Western eyes: Feminist scholarship and colonial discourses by Chandra Mohanty; Encounters with Animal Minds by Barbara Smuts; Dangerous Crossings by Claire Jean Kim; Beasts of Burden: Animal and Disability Liberation by Sunaura Taylor; Beyond Boundaries: Humans and Animals by Barbara Noske.
Season 2 Episode 5. Intimate Geography with Kathryn Gillespie
November 2, 2020
Claudia chats with Kathryn Gillespie about the ways in which the geography in general and the concept of intimate geography in particular aid in generating knowledge about animals’ experiences. The concept is both theoretically and methodologically rich allowing for focus not only on animals’ experiences but how researchers’ relations with, proximity to, and understanding of animals’ bodies and lives alters the way we come to know said experience.Read more
Guest: Kathryn Gillespie is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Kentucky in Geography and the Applied Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program. Her work explores the everyday geographies of violence in which humans and other species are entangled. She is the author of The Cow with Ear Tag #1389 (University of Chicago Press, 2018) and co-editor of Vulnerable Witness (University of California Press, 2019), Critical Animal Geographies (Routledge, 2015), and Economies of Death (Routledge, 2015). She has also published her work in such journals as Hypatia, Gender, Place, and Culture, Animal Studies Journal, Politics and Animals, and Environment and Planning A. Connect with her on her website (http://kathrynagillespie.com/).
Featured: The Cow with Ear Tag #1389, Intimacy, animal emotion, and empathy: Multispecies intimacy as slow research practice, and Sexualized violence and the gendered commodification of the animal body in Pacific Northwest US dairy production by Kathryn Gillespie; Apologia by Barry Lopez; At Rest by Emma Kisiel; Pigs Peace Sanctuary.
Season 2 Episode 4. Animal Art and Aesthetics with Jeffrey Bussolini
October 19, 2020
Claudia talks to Jeffrey Bussolini, a phenomenologist with a keen interest in feline experiences, about how art and aesthetics can provide a novel way of exploring and reconceptualising animals’ experiences.Read more
Guest: Jeffrey Bussolini is Co-Director of the Center for Feline Studies and the Avenue B Multi-Studies Center, and associate professor at the City University of New York. He studied at Georgetown University, CUNY, the Sorbonne (Paris 1), and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Since 1995 he and colleagues have researched the phenomenological dimensions of feline and human interaction, focusing especially on the spatial, ethological, and social dimensions of feline-feline and feline-human relationships. Among the topics they have pursued are dualist versus monist conceptual foundations for phenomenological accounts, the surprising practice of cats eating chile peppers, and cats as artists and artmakers. In 2016 he and others curated the first exhibition of cat produced artworks at New York City gallery Adjacent to Life. Connect with Jeffrey via Twitter (@jefribussolini) or email (email@example.com).
Featured: The Phenomenology of Animal Life by Dominique Lestel, Jeffrey Bussolini, and Matthew Chrulew; Congo the Chimpanzee by the Mayor Gallery; The Different Modes of Existence by Étienne Souriau; The Philosophical Ethology of Roberto Marchesini by Jeffrey Bussolini; Over the Human: Post-humanism and the Concept of Animal Epiphany by Roberto Marchesini; Carolee Schneemann’s Lifelong Love Affair with Her Cats by Tess Thackara; On Agnes Varda – Photographer, Filmmaker, and Cat Lover by Iulia Radu; What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions? by Vinciane Despret; Is Birdsong Music? Outback Encounters With an Australian Songbird by Hollis Taylor
Season 2 Episode 3. Animal Culture with Carl Safina
September 21, 2020
Claudia talks to well-known author Carl Safina about ‘animal culture’ and how culture is a crucial part of how some animals come to understand and experience the world. They chat about the incredible ways culture manifests in animals’ experiences and touch on what a serious consideration of animal culture could mean for conservation efforts.Read more
Guest: Carl Safina grew up raising pigeons, training hawks and owls, and spending as many days and nights in the woods and on the water as he could. He is known for hislyrical non-fiction writing which fuses scientific understanding, emotional connection, and a moral call to action noting how humans are changing the living world, and what the changes mean for non-human beings and for us all. Safina is the author of ten books including his classic Song for the Blue Ocean, the New York Times Bestseller Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel and his most recent title, Becoming Wild; How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, TIME, The Guardian, and the National Geographic, amongst others. He has won numerous literary prizes including the MacArthur “genius” prize and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals. In addition to his writing Safina was the host of the PBS series Saving the Ocean, he is the first Endowed Professor for Nature and Humanity at Stony Brook University, and he is the founding president of the not-for-profit Safina Center. Connect with Carl Safina on his website (www.carlsafina.org), through his non-for-profit (www.safinacenter.org) or on Twitter (@Carl Safina).
Featured: Chimp Vs Human: Memory Test by the BBC; Crowboarding: Russian roof-surfin’ bird caught on tape by Aleksey Vnukov; Black Swans Surfing at the Gold Coast, Australia; S4:E19 – Carl Safina Becoming Wild by Species Unite; The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace; The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod by Henry Beston.
Season 2 Episode 2. Cognitive Ethology with Marc Bekoff
August 14, 2020
In this episode, Claudia talks to Marc Bekoff about the field of ‘cognitive ethology’ and how researchers can better learn about animals through attentively watching them and taking seriously their personal experiences. They touch on some of the tensions of how you can ‘know’ other animals’ experiences through and why taking the time to understand their worlds is so important.Read more
Guest: Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has published 31 books, won many awards for his research on animal behaviour, animal emotions, compassionate conservation, and animal protection, and is a former Guggenheim Fellow. Marc’s latest books are Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do and Unleashing Your Dog: A Field Guide to Giving Your Canine Companion the Best Life Possible (with Jessica Pierce) and he also publishes regularly for Psychology Today. Marc and Jessica have recently written a book about what the world will be like for dogs as and when humans disappear (Dogs Gone Wild: Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World Without Humans, forthcoming). In 1986 Marc won the Master’s age-graded Tour de France. Connect with mark on his website (marcbekoff.com) or Twitter (@MarcBekoff).
Featured readings/videos: The Question of Animal Awareness: Evolutionary Continuity and Mental Experience by Donald R. Griffin; Rewilding our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence, Hidden tales of yellow snow: What a dog’s nose knows – Making sense of scents by Marc Bekoff.
Season 2 Episode 1. Phenomenology with Zipporah Weisberg
August 12, 2020
In the first episode of Season 2, which is focusing on ‘Animals and Experience’, Claudia speaks to independent scholar Zipporah Weisberg about the concept ‘Phenomenology’. They touch on the potential of phenomenology as a concept and a practice for better understanding the lives and experiences of animals, also contemplating some of the tensions that are embedded therein.Read more
Guest: Zipporah Weisberg is an Independent Scholar, animal activist, and contemporary dancer currently living in Granada, Spain. Her areas of specialization include: Critical Animal Studies, the Critical Theory of the Early Frankfurt School, and Existentialism and Phenomenology. In 2013 Zipporah completed her PhD in Social and Political Thought at York University, and was awarded the APPLE postdoc fellowship, which was renewed for a second year. During the tenure of the fellowship, Zipporah’s research focused especially on the ethics of biotechnology and the phenomenology of animal life, and led to the publications of “Biotechnology as End Game: Ontological and Ethical Collapse in the ‘Biotech Century’” (NanoEthics, 2015) and “The Simple Magic of Life: Phenomenology and Re-enchantment” (Humanimalia, 2015). Zipporah is currently working on a paper about interspecies friendship and the politics of Eros. Connect with Zipporah on Academia.edu or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Featured readings: A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans with A Theory of Meaning by Jacob von Uexküll; Phenomenology of Perception by Maurice Merleau-Ponty; The Simple Magic of Life: Phenomenology and Re-enchantment by Zipporah Weisberg; I and Thou by Martin Buber.
Host: Claudia Hirtenfelder is a PhD Candidate in Geography and Planning at Queen’s University and is currently undertaking her own research project looking at the historical relationships between animals and cities. Contact Claudia via email (email@example.com) or follow her on Twitter (@ClaudiaFTowne).
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