The purpose of the A.W. Mellon Workshop in Animal Studies is to engage faculty, graduate and undergraduate students in the rapidly emerging field of inquiry, to foster a re-conceptualization of the humanities, and to contribute to scholarly exchange across traditionally separate knowledge domains. The focus on the animal as an object of study raises important theoretical and methodological questions that pertain to the humanities as a whole and their role in higher education as well as in the broader context of knowledge production. Whether the aim is to expose the exploitation of animals by humans, to advocate for their welfare, to determine the philosophical status of the animal, or to trace the historical emergence of biopolitics to the animality of the human, animal studies asks us to reflect on the intellectual, ethical, and political implications of our inevitable anthropocentrism. In addressing questions of social agency and the moral, political, and institutional status of the animal, the workshop thus seeks to become a site for reflection and engagement on such topics as: a) animal-human representations; b) animal rights and animal welfare; c) evolution and its social applications; d) environmental history; and e) biopolitics. By directing our critical attention to the study of non-human animals, we will seek to re-evaluate the humanism of the humanities and thus to pave the way for new forms of collaboration and interdisciplinary inquiry within the university.
Note: Some readings below are password protected. For the password and/or information about the workshop, contact one of the organizers.
Workshop meeting: Dec. 18, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, University Club
Animal Studies Mellon Workshop: Anthropomorphism
Please click the links below to access the readings for our discussion of anthropomorphism.
We will be discussing three short pieces: two essays from Gregg Mitman's edited collection Thinking with Animals -- one by Elliott Sober and the other by James Serpell -- and a piece by Gillian Beer on anthropomorphism in literature. Please join us if you can.
- Elliott Sober, "Comparative Psychology Meets Evolutionary Biology"
- James Serpell, "People in Disguise: Anthropomorphism and the Human-Pet Relationship"
- Gillian Beer, "Animal Presences: Tussles with Anthropomorphism"
First 2012-2013 meeting of 2012-2013 Animal Studies Mellon Workshop
Friday, October 26, 2012, 2:00 - 4:00 pm, 313 University Club
At this year's first meeting of the Mellon Workshop of Animal Studies, we will briefly revisit last year's engagements with Animal Studies and talk about the format for this year's workshop as well as our calendar of events.
Required reading: To keep us honest, we will discuss Derrida's "The Animal that Therefore I Am" (in its article version), an influential text that may already be familiar to many of you but whose purchase in the different disciplines of animal studies might still be worth our while to discuss.
Please feel free to circulate this announcement widely.
Readings are password protected. Please email Mario Ortiz-Robles for the password, and note that depending on your browser, you may have to save or download the file to open it.
Disciplines of Animal Studies
November 18, 2011 @ 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
A one-day symposium organized by the A. W. Mellon Workshop on Animal Studies.