CFP: Animals and Emotions Workshop

Friday November 17th 2017
 AHRC Pets and Family Life Project
Royal Holloway, University of London (central London base)

This workshop will explore the intersection of two important developments in the field of history – the study of animals and the study of the emotions. Interdisciplinary animal studies are well established, but the animal world has recently become a focus for social and cultural historians, especially in relation to the domestic dog in Britain and Europe. The history of animals is also a key theme in the history of science, and this too has seen an increasing emphasis on human-animal relationships. At the same time, the history of the emotions has been one of the major growth areas in social history in the past decade, and emotions are increasingly viewed as a ‘category of analysis.’ Current scholarship explores the cultural representation of animals and their emotional resonance, changing ideas of human-animal relationships in science and everyday life, and emotional and financial values that played out in the growing economies and industries associated with animal care. This workshop aims to reflect on these important developments and to draw together some of the new and exciting work that is taking place across these fields. We welcome proposals from scholars working from a historical perspective in all disciplines on all places and cultures.

Papers might address (but are not confined to) the following themes:

  • Cultural representations of animals in art, literature and popular culture
  • The symbolic use of animals as imagery and their emotional resonance
  • Anthropomorphism and the projection of human emotional understandings onto the animal world
  • The role of animals in emotional communities
  • The role of animals in families and the idea of the pet
  • The history of animals in institutions and the emergence of medical support animals
  • The construction of relationships between humans and animals
  • The emergence of scientific understandings of the animal’s emotional role
  • Changing understandings of the capacity of animals to experience emotions
  • The problems of distinguishing between human and animal emotional life
  • The emergence of consumer markets for companion animals

The deadline for the CFP is September 30th 2017. 200-300 word proposals should be sent to

Published by animalhistorygroup

The Animal History Group is a research network open to all postgraduates, academics, museum workers and other professionals whose work engages with animals within history. We foster connections between those active in this field within the London area and beyond, with the goal of inspiring, creating and developing new knowledge about the place of animals within history. You can follow us on Twitter at @AnimalHistories or email us at

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