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 3 – Animals and the Urban
In Season 3 of the Animal Turn, Claudia speaks to scholars from sociology, geography and philosophy about concepts pertaining to ‘The Urban’ and how we can understand animals in relation to the city.
In this Season Claudia hopes to unravel some how ‘the urban’ is thought of as a space and some of the work that is being done to challenge its conception as an only (or primarily) human space. Concepts will help listeners to think about the city in a new way and possibly point to the ways in which different animals are positioned in relation to the city. Considering that the world is increasingly urbanised and that this is where most human consumption takes place this is a critical area of focus for animal studies scholars.
The upcoming concepts in focus include: Rights to the city, feral city dwellers, invisibilized animals, informality, urban biopolitic, multi-species commons, urban animal history, and re-design.
Season 3 Episode 10. Grad Review with Anmol Chowdhury and Shubhangi Srivastava
Sept 15, 2021
Claudia reviews Season 3 with Shubhangi Srivastava and Anmol Chowdhury, currently PhD Candidates in the ERC funded project titled Urban Ecologies. Together they talk about some of the gaps in the season, primarily discussions about methods, and they delve into some of the overlapping themes in the season including management, entanglement, power, and aesthetics.Read more
Shubhangi Srivastava is currently a doctoral research scholar with the ERC Grant project, Urban Ecologies, at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore. Her doctoral research is centred around studying the ecological, political and socio-economic dimensions related to human-dog relationship in the context of urban India. Shubhangi has been working towards combined methods of ethnography and ethology to study nonhuman animal living in the urban. Central to her work are the ideas of beastly places and the politics around the urban animals in India. She developed an interest in human-animal relations during the course of her M.Phil. in Anthropology from University of Delhi, where she worked on the human-macaque conflicts in Northern India, looking at the cultural and religious aspects of the relationship. She can be reached on her email email@example.com or on twitter @Shubhangi1057.
Anmol Chowdhury is currently working in the Urban Ecologies Project (funded by ERC) at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India looking at lives of macaques in urban India. Through their work, they are attempting a conversation between ethnographic and ethological perspectives of thinking about animals. Their other interests include gender and queer theory, geopolitics of Kashmir, folk music and traditional foods. (@kashqueeri) and email address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Season 3 Episode 9. Re-Design with Michelle Westerlaken
August 11, 2021
Claudia speaks to Michelle Westerlaken about the concept of Re-Design and how design can be used to generate multispecies worlds and opportunities. They discuss Michelle’s background in design with and for animals, how she finds theory incredibly important for design processes, and the ways in which trying to create positive urban design might generate new multispecies opportunities.Read more
Michelle Westerlaken is a Research Associate on the Smart Forests project in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. She has a PhD in Interaction Design from Malmö University in Sweden where she did her dissertation on “Imagining Multispecies Worlds” in which presented 10 protagonist species and stories in a Multispecies Bestiary to illustrate a repertoire of world-making practices. As a designer, Michelle works with participatory methods that examine possibilities for humans and other species to propose interaction modalities for multispecies ways of living on this planet. So far, these projects have involved design negotiations together with cats, dogs, ants, and penguins, and various interactive technologies. Central to her work are the ways in which theory and participatory research practices continuously inform and inspire each other. Connect with Michelle on Twitter (@colombinary) or via email and find out more about the smart forests project at www.smartforests.net
Featured: It Matters What Designs Design Designs: Speculations on Multispecies Worlds (Video); Imagining Multispecies Worlds by Michelle Westerlaken; Designs for the Pluriverse by Arturo Escobar; When Species Meetby Donna Haraway; The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Tsing; The Carrier Bag of Theory of Fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin; What would animals say if we asked the right questions by Vinciane Despret
Season 3 Episode 8. Urban Animal History with Philip Howell
July 22, 2021
In this episode Claudia speaks to Philip Howell about urban animal history. Together they discuss the significance of geography in prying apart the many histories of animals, how attention to animal stories gives one a better appreciation for ‘the urban’ and challenges humanist ideas of history. They also touch on the stimulating experience of searching for, finding, and trying to understand animals in the archives.Read more
Philip Howell is a lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is an historical and cultural geographer, and has written about the regulation of sexuality in Victorian Britain, and on the relations between literature and geography. But for 20 years he has been researching “animal geography,” focusing on the place of the dog in Victorian society, but also taking in the politics of animals in contemporary society. Find out more about Philip here and you can reach him via email (email@example.com)
Featured: Flush and the Banditti: Dog-stealing in Victorian London; At Home and Astray; Animal History in the Modern City by Philip Howell; The curious case of the Croydon cat-killer: producing predators in the multi-species metropolis; Black Protest and the Man on Horseback: Race, Animality, and Equestrian Counter-Conduct by Philip Howell and Ilanah Taves; Animal Spaces, Beastly Places: New Geographies of Human-animal Relations edited by Chris Philo and Chris Wilbert; The Urbanization of the Eastern Grey Squirrel in the United States by Etienne Benson; About Looking John Berger; Foucault and Animals by Dinesh Wadiwel and Matthew Chrulew; La Vie Des Hommes Infämes by Michael Foucault.
Season 3 Episode 7. Multispecies Commons with Marcus Baynes-Rock
July 6, 2021
Claudia talks to Marcus Baynes-Rock about his work with urban hyenas in Harar, Ethiopia. They discuss how these animals navigate the urban and then delve into the concept of ‘multispecies commons’. In many ways, they workshop the concept in the episode trying to unpack how it is useful as both a theoretical and methodological tool.Read more
Marcus Baynes-Rock is an anthropologist who studies the interfaces between humans and animals. His book Among the Bone Eaters tracks his experiences following urban hyenas in the town of Harar, in Ethiopia. More recently he has written about the new wave of animal domestication and what is can teach us about the destruction of the world’s ecological systems. Connect with Marcus via his blog (https://amonganimals.wordpress.com/) or on Twitter (@MBaynesRock).
Featured: Life and death in the multispecies commons; Among the Bone Eaters: Encounters with Hyenas in Harar; and Crocodile Undone: The Domestication of Australia’s Fauna by Marcus Baynes-Rock; The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game by Paul Shepard.
Season 3 Episode 6. Informality with Yamini Narayanan
June 23, 2021
Claudia talks to Yamini Narayanan about the concept of informality and how it can be used to unpack, complicate and understand urban-animal relations. With a focus on urban-cow entanglements, they discuss how informality is related to urban infrastructure and mobilities that help to bur some of the often dichotomous ways we’ve come to understand not only intra-human relations, but inter-species relations too.Read more
Yamini Narayanan is Senior Lecturer in International and Community Development at Deakin University, Melbourne. Her work explores the ways in which (other) animals are instrumentalised in sectarian, casteist and even fascist ideologies in India, and how animals are also actors and architects of informal urbanisms. Yamini’s research is supported by two Australian Research Council grants. Yamini’s work on animals, race, and development has been published in leading journals including Environment and Planning A and D, Geoforum, Hypatia, South Asia, Society and Animals, and Sustainable Development. With Kathryn Gillespie, she has co-edited a special edition of the Journal of Intercultural Studies on the theme “Animal nationalisms: Multispecies cultural politics, race, and nation un/building narratives” (2020) . In 2019, Yamini was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Mid-Career Research Excellence. In recognition of her work, she was made Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics (FOCAE), a distinguished honour that is conferred through nomination or invitation only. Connect with Yamini on Deakin University’s website or on Twitter (@YaminiNarayanan).
Featured: Street dogs at the intersection of colonialism and informality: ‘Subaltern animism’ as a posthuman critique of Indian cities, Jugaad and informality as drivers of India’s cow slaughter economy; Animal nationalisms: Multispecies cultural politics, race, and nation un/building narratives by Yamini Narayanan; ‘Posthuman cosmopolitanism’ for the Anthropocene in India: Urbanism and human-snake relations in the Kali Yuga by Yamini Narayanan and Sumanth Bindumadhav; Colonisation and Urbanisation by Clare Palmer; The War on Animals by Dinesh Wadiwel.
Season 3 Episode 5. Urban Metabolism with Catherine Oliver
June 3, 2021
Metabolism is an increasingly important concept in understanding how cities operate. Claudia chats with Catherine Oliver about the concept of urban metabolism and its usefulness in understanding the multiple scales of multispecies relations that are produced in and through urban living.Read more
Catherine Oliver is a postdoctoral researcher, currently working on the ERC-funded project Urban Ecologies at the University of Cambridge, where she is researching urban backyard chickens and chicken-keepers in London. Her monograph, Veganism, Animals, and Archives is forthcoming with Routledge (August 2021). She is also a Wiley-Royal Geographical Society Digital Archives Fellow, researching animals as collaborators and workers in geographical knowledge production. Catherine’s other research is in feminist geographies, notably focussed on ‘dis-belonging,’ precarity, and the reproduction of neoliberal hierarchies at academic conferences. More information can be found on her website (https://catherinecmoliver.wordpress.com) and she can be found on twitter at @katiecmoliver.
Featured: City chickens: What the rise of urban hen-keeping might mean for veganism and Veganism, Animals, and Archivesby Catherine Oliver; Earthlings with Joaquin Phoenix; Animal Liberation by Peter Singer; Industrial Metabolism: Fat Knowledge by Hannah Landecker; Eating in Theory and I Eat an Apple by Annemarie Mol; The Rise of Cheap Nature and Metabolic rift or metabolic shift? dialectics, nature, and the world-historical method by Jason Moore; Killer Cities by Nigel Thrift; and Metabolic Labor: Broiler Chickens and the Exploitation of Vitality by Les Beldo; Cities: Nature’s New Wild by the BBC.
Season 3 Episode 4. Urban Biopolitics with Krithika Srinivasan
May 18, 2021
Claudia talks to Krithika Srinivasan about the concept of biopolitics and how it could be used to understand multi-species urban relations. They touch on the tensions between harm and welfare as well as how different socio-biological tactics are enforced in the name of urban development.Read more
Krithika Srinivasan’s research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of political ecology, post-development politics, animal studies, and nature geographies. Her work draws on research in South Asia to rethink globally established concepts and practices about nature-society relations. Through empirical projects on street dogs and public health, biodiversity conservation, animal agriculture, and non-elite environmentalisms, her scholarship focuses on decolonizing and reconfiguring approaches to multispecies justice. Both her research and teaching are deeply rooted in long-term field engagement and praxis in India. Krithika has worked as a Lecturer in the departments of Geography at the University of Exeter and Durham University before moving to Edinburgh. You can find out more about Krithika here and connect with her on Twitter (@kritcrit).
Featured: Featured: The biopolitics of animal being and welfare: dog control and care in the UK and India; Conservation scapegoats and developmentality; and Reorienting rabies research and practice: Lessons from India; by Krithika Srinivasan.
Season 3 Episode 3. Invisiblized Animals with Paula Arcari
May 4, 2021
Claudia chats with Paula Arcari about the animals and how animals are rendered invisible in the urban – not only materially but epistemically and ethically too. They grapple with which animals are considered in the celebration of multispecies urban entanglements, and which are not.Read more
Paula Arcari is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow within the Centre for Human Animal Studies at Edge Hill University, UK. Her three-year project ‘The Visual Consumption of Animals: Challenging Persistent Binaries’ aims to support transformational change in the way humans conceive and interact with nature. Before joining Edge Hill, Paula worked at RMIT University in Melbourne on a range of climate change projects and completed her PhD there in 2018. She is primarily interested in understanding the constitution of societal change and stability in relation to climate and environmental change, the expropriation of nature, and the oppression of nonhuman animals.
Find out more about Paula here.
Featured: Making Sense of ‘Food’ Animals: A Critical Exploration of the Persistence of Meat and Where species don’t meet: Invisibilized animals, urban nature and city limits by Paula Arcari; In the nature of cities: urban political ecology and the politics of urban metabolism by Heynen, Nik, Maria Kaika, and Erik Swyngedouw; A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans: with A Theory of Meaning by Jakob von Uexküll; The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J Adams; The Many Selves of Katherine North by Emma Geen; The War Against Animals by Dinesh Wadiwel
Season 3 Episode 2. Pervasive Captivity with Nicolas Delon
March 15, 2021
In this episode Claudia talks to Nicholas Delon about ‘pervasive captivity’. Moving beyond a conception of captivity as only including those ‘behind bars’, they explore the many ways in which ‘the urban’ might operate to make animals captive by limiting their mobility and autonomy.Read more
Nicolas Delon is Assistant Professor or philosophy and environmental studies at New College of Florida. He specializes in animal ethics, with particular interests in moral status and animal agency. He has published on these topics as well as the ethics of killing animals, urban animals, wild animal suffering, and Nietzsche, among other things. He’s currently working on a book project about animals and the moral community of persons. Check out his website (https://nicolasdelon.com/) or connect with him on Twitter (@NicoDelon).
Season 3 Episode 1. Right to the City with Marie Carmen Shingne
April 5, 2021
In this episode Claudia speaks to Marie Carmen Shingne about the concept ‘Right to the City’ and how it could be applied to animals. They open up this season, focusing on animals and the urban, by asking whether animals have any claims to the city.Read more
Marie Carmen Shingne is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology Department at Michigan State University with specializations in animal studies and global urban studies. Her dissertation research is focused on the experiences of the slum residents and street dogs in the Indian city of Pune and what these experiences tell us about power in and access to urban spaces and resources. Using multispecies ethnographic methods, her research asks: how is the urban space currently shared and negotiated by different urban human and nonhuman residents, in what ways are the human and nonhuman residents impacted by these negotiations, and what does an inclusive and equitable city look like according to various stakeholders? Marie Carmen can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured: The more-than-human right to the city: A multispecies reevaluation by Marie Carmen Shingne; Among the Bone Eaters: Encounters with Hyenas in Harar by Marcus Baynes-Rock; Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights by Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka; Street dogs at the intersection of colonialism and informality: ‘Subaltern animism’ as a posthuman critique of Indian cities by Yamini Narayanan; and The biopolitics of animal being and welfare: dog control and care in the UK and India by Krithika Srinivasan, S3 Animal Highlight on Youtube.
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).
Sponsored by Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Ethics – A.P.P.L.E
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