Book Discussion ‘Animal Intimacies’

The Department of Sociology, Presidency University is happy to present the eighth of our book talk-discussions on April 20, 7 pm IST (2.30 pm BST)

Dr. Radhika Govindrajan (University of Washington) will talk about her  book, Animal Intimacies: Interspecies Relatedness in India’s Central Himalayas (

The book will be discussed by Prof. Amita Baviskar (Ashoka University), and Dr. Nayanika Mathur (University of Oxford).

Please see the enclosed the poster, and the g meet link here:
All are welcome. Please feel free to share the event details with your students, friends and colleagues.

Call for Papers – Animal/Privacy: Historical and Conceptual Approaches

Call for papers:   

ANIMAL / PRIVACY: Historical and Conceptual Approaches 

 (Online Workshop: November 9, 2021) 

The Centre for Privacy Studies (University of Copenhagen) and the Kent Animal Humanities Network (University of Kent, UK) are planning an online workshop in November 2021, exploring the intersections between Privacy Studies and Animal Studies. We would like to invite you to submit a proposal (250-300 words) for a 20-minutes paper to contribute to the workshop.  

The critical debates surrounding privacy have been predominantly human-centred, privacy being usually understood as something we humans protect from other humans. Our understanding of privacy as a human right stems from the belief that it is part of our nature to establish barriers – physical, normative, or behavioural – between the individual and the collective. We thus tend to disregard the roles which other animals play in shaping our sense and space of privacy (for instance, as family pets). Likewise, we do not take seriously the idea of nonhuman animals’ entitlement or ‘right’ to their privacy, or consider what forms nonhuman ‘privacy’ might take. This is despite the fact that our continuing encroachment into their spheres of life is endangering and dismantling the lives of other species.  

What new insights can we gain if we take non-human animals into account while exploring notions of privacy? This workshop aims to explore how human-animal relationships historically affected how we understand, conceptualise, and act upon privacy, while also exploring how the concepts of privacy shed new light on other species and our relationships with them. We welcome papers from all historical periods and geographical regions, as well as across a wide range of fields (humanities, social sciences, sciences), to foster cross-disciplinary approaches to the topic. Themes of interest include (but are not limited to): 

  • Animal behaviour and privacy 
  • Pet-keeping and zones of privacy 
  • Animal mobility between public and private spaces 
  • Animals and experimental knowledge; 
  • Animals and violence – the right to privacy in relation to other rights 
  • Privacy and the history of zoological studies 
  • Animals and sensorial experiences 
  • Animals and sexuality 
  • Privacy and hunting 
  • Privacy, Ecology and Multispecies Environments 
  • Theoretical Directions in Privacy and Human-Animal Studies 
  • Animals as Property: Privatization and Privacy 
  • Privacy, Publicity and the Betting Culture of Horse-Racing 
  • Privacy and animal literature 
  • Animals and places of isolation (prisons, nature reserves, ships, lockdown, etc) 
  • Animals and the Covid crisis 

Please send your abstract (250-300 Words) And Short Cv (2 Pages Max.)  by July 31, 2021 to  

Dr Natacha Klein Käfer ( ) and Dr Kaori Nagai ( ) 

For more information, please visit:   

Call for applications, Ph.D. course: ‘The Political Ecology of Pandemics’

Call for applications, Ph.D. course: ‘The Political Ecology of Pandemics’ 

Date: 9 – 11 August, 2021 

Venue: Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo, Norway 

Organised by:  Centre for Development and the Environment, The Norwegian Political Ecology Network (POLLEN-Norway) and the Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities (NoRS-EH),  

Application deadline: 15 March, 2021 (Application form). 

The objective of this interdisciplinary PhD course is to critically approach the relationship between food production and food consumption and pandemics in an environmental perspective. This involves addressing issues like the links between global food and fodder production and the transformation of rural areas. Against this backdrop the course will address questions such as:  

·         What are the relations between the global food system and pandemics? 

·         How can perspectives from political ecology and environmental humanities contribute to new ways of thinking about non-humans in the relationship between food production and pandemic entanglements? 

·         How have local and national environmental histories shaped and been shaped by industrial systems for food production (and meat in particular), and what are the consequences for animal and human health, welfare and wellbeing at large? 

·         How are food production systems organized in terms of labor and how do workers in industrial food production cope with pandemic outbreaks and their aftermaths?    

Students will 

·         Obtain a nuanced understanding of the links between food production and -consumption and pandemics both empirically and theoretically;     

·         Be well acquainted with the major theoretical and empirical approaches to studying food production and consumption at local, national and global levels;     

·         Engage in critical discussion, become acquainted with the work of others on food production and food consumption and build networks within their chosen field of research.     


·         Tony Weis, Professor, Western University, Canada  

·         Frédéric Keck, Fellow, CNRS, France  

·         Karen Lykke Syse, Associate Professor, Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo. 

·         Timothy Pachirat, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts 

Who may apply? 

 The interdisciplinary nature of the course will be most suitable for doctoral students engaging with different disciplines within the social sciences – such as anthropology, sociology, political science, geography, and development studies, as well as doctoral students working within the various branches of environmental humanities. 

Doctoral students will be prioritized, although other applicants may be considered if space permits.     

Application procedures and funding 

Please visit our website or consult the attached course document for information about application procedures and funding. Course applications are accepted from 11 January until 15 March, 2021.  

An early application is highly recommended due to space constraints. Should you have any practical enquiries, please do not hesitate to email the course secretariat at

Follow us 

Twitter: @sum_uio | #Pandefood2021 

CFP: Postgraduate Animal Studies Symposium

Registration for this event is now live.

The Postgraduate Animal Studies Symposium (PASS) is a two-day training and conference event that will bring together postgraduate research students working in the field of animal studies, organised by the University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde. The event will be held online, via Zoom, on the 24th and 25th May 2021.

PASS responds to a need for an animal studies knowledge exchange event which is
specifically tailored to PGRs, as existing events have tended to showcase established researchers. We aim to forge new partnerships with animal studies communities across HEIs, providing researchers with the opportunity to build interdisciplinary connections, and to benefit from knowledge exchange and networking. It will be the first event of its kind, offering a programme designed specifically for the needs of PGRs. Over the two days there will be speaker panels, five-minute thesis presentations, PGR/ECR-led workshop session(s)
and a plenary address by ECR Dr Briony Wickes, Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Glasgow.
Panels of papers will provide an opportunity for speakers to present longer papers about their research, while five-minute thesis sessions will offer the chance for other attendees to give bitesize insights into their work, while gaining feedback. Providing opportunities to engage with and progress current and future work in the field of animal studies.

We encourage applications from all PGRs, or recently graduated ECRs, who are engaged in work that has an animal studies focus, regardless of subject or discipline. We welcome papers that, focus on a specific topic/area of your own research. and/or Provide an overview of your doctoral research project and methodology, situating your research within the field of animal studies.

To submit a paper for one of the panels please send a 200-350 word abstract and
a short biography to the below email. Or, if you would prefer to be considered
for the ‘five-minute thesis’ sessions please send a short biography and a brief
overview of your research (including the title of your Masters or PhD thesis.)

Submission deadline – 16th April 2021

Special Issue: Call for Contributors – Theorizing Literary Animals

Theorizing Literary Animals 

Special Issue 2/2022 

Studia Universitatis Babeș-Bolyai Philologia

Guest editor: Dr. Ema Vyroubalova, Trinity College Dublin

Animal studies as an academic field of inquiry’s starting point is often identified with the publication of Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation in 1975. The foundations nevertheless began to be laid down long before recent scientific insights into animal cognition and communication were available. Animals have been depicted in writing for thousands of years: the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Aztec codices, and medieval bestiaries all teem with animals and the Bible alone mentions around 120 different animal species. In the sixteenth century, Michel de Montaigne famously mused, “When I am playing with my cat, how do I know that she is not playing with me?” and, in the late eighteenth century, Jeremy Bentham asked, “the question is not, can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?” 

Numerous thinkers from diverse disciplines have continued along this trajectory, working to complicate, challenge, and ultimately supersede traditional anthropocentric and anthropomorphic approaches to animals by finding alternatives to the hard binary and/or implicit hierarchy through which human-animal relations have often been conceptualised. Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer envisages a more fluid “indistinction” between animal and human life. Cary Wolfe in Animal Rites explores theoretical avenues for freeing discourses about continuities and differences between species from the anthropocentric tendencies of speciesism. Animacies by Mel Y. Chen seeks to break down boundaries further, not only between human and non-human animals, but also between animate and inanimate entities and organic and inorganic matter. Donna Haraway’s recent work offers bleak visions of humans and animals alike clinging to survival in the degraded worlds of the Plantationocene and Capitalocene. David Herman’s Narratology Beyond the Human repurposes the methodologies of narratology to craft a new animalcentric approach to narratives dealing with animal-human relations. Advances in animal studies have opened up new opportunities for scholars working in literary studies to apply and create theories and methodologies based on understanding the relationship between humans and non-human animals as a complex and constantly evolving multidirectional dynamic. 

This special issue seeks essays in English that engage with as well as challenge existing work in animal studies in relation to literary texts and/or theories from across different genres, historical periods, and linguistic and national traditions. Topics for possible essays include the following: 

• relationship between animal studies and literary theory and/or history 

• theorizing human-animal hybridities and continuities in literary texts 

• alternatives to anthropocentrism and/or anthropomorphism in literary criticism and theory 

• intersectionality and animal studies 

• triangulating between animal studies, ecocriticism and literary theory/studies 

• animals and translation theory 

• impact of the animal rights movement on literature 

• pedagogical approaches to combining animal and literary studies

Indicative Timeline

1 November 2021 – proposal submission deadline (200-word abstract, 7 keywords, 5 theoretical references, 150-word author’s bio-note) 

15 November 2021 – notification about acceptance 

1 February 2022 – submission of full papers (Instructions for authors regarding formatting rules and style sheets can be found on the journal’s webpage:

30 June 2022 – publication of the special-themed issue 

Please send your abstracts and papers to both email addresses: and .

Upcoming Event: When Pets Pass On

When Pets Pass On Weds, 20 January 2021, 10-1pm (GMT)

The Pet Loss Network

Pets are members of approximately half all UK households, a trend common throughout much of the western world. But pets’ relatively short life spans mean that families inevitably face the heartbreak of pet bereavement, from making agonising decisions about the end of life to coping with feelings of loss and bereavement. The ‘When Pets Pass On’ initiative aims at creating a network of pet people, artists, practitioners and researchers to contextualise pet bereavement historically and cross culturally and to work towards developing models of good practice in pet death and bereavement.

The second of three inter-related workshops will take place on 20 January 2021, 10-1pm (GMT).

Part 1: Spaces & Rites for Pet Death

Ambiguous Emotions at Pet Cemeteries: Nora Schuurman (University of Turku, Finland) and David Redmalm (Mälardalen University, Sweden)

Pet Personhood, rites for both of us: Douglas Davies (Durham University)

Part 2: Good Practice in Pet Death

Caring for the Caregiver: Enhancing Support during a Pet’s End of Life: Angie Arora (Seneca College, Toronoto)

“I Couldn’t Be a Vet!”: Ruth Serlin (Royal Veterinary College, London)

Please Note: This workshop addresses issues of pet death. It may not be suitable for everyone. We advise caution, especially if you have just lost a pet. If you need to talk to someone about pet loss, you can contact Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Services on 0800 096 6606 or email

The event is free but you will need to register (for free) via Eventbrite.

The event will be hosted by Julie-Marie Strange (Durham University) and Diane James (Blue Cross).

Diane James is Manager of Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service, as well as the vital helpline support service, Diane is part of research teams and delivers talks and co-founded this collaborative network.

Julie-Marie Strange is Professor of Modern British History at Durham University. She has published extensively on the history of pets, dogs, death and bereavement. Co-founder of the Network.

New Book: Privileged Horses: The Italian Renaissance Court Stable

Privileged Horses: The Italian Renaissance Court Stable

Sarah G Duncan

‘A pioneering study of equine culture from c.1450-1600’ 

Published November 2020 – Stephen Morris Publishing 


Borso d’Este’s retinue, when he travelled to Rome in 1471 for his investiture as Duke of Ferrara comprised 700 lavishly dressed attendants, 700 horses and mules, 320 hounds and a number of falcons and leopards. (It’s said Borso wore cloth of gold and jewels even when hunting, and was more sumptuously equipped than any lord who had ever entered Rome.) 

At the heart of the Italian Renaissance court was the horse, a valued commodity and a privileged animal: ‘second only to man’ for intelligence and God-given magnificence. In war and peace, in tournaments and games and especially in politics and society the finest horses, often in numbers hard to conceive, raced, cantered and pranced across the Renaissance stage. 

Monarchs, princes and magnates forged alliances through the gift of thoroughbreds or succumbed to exotic imported breeds renowned for their exclusivity or prowess in the field. And in an age in which arts and philosophy flourished, the courtly art of maneggio reached new heights of sophistication – borrowing from the scientific study of horsemanship in classical Greece and engaging the great Italian artists and horsemen of the day, from Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of the horse’s anatomy and stabling to Claudio Corte’s treatise on equine care and training.

Focusing on the period 1450-1600, Privileged Horses explores how the finest horses invested Renaissance princes with opportunities for flaunting their wealth – public processions and palii, hunting parties and exclusive entertainments for courtiers and visiting dignitaries and elegant court stabling. A beautiful, home-bred horse or, preferably, a stable-full of such horses was a key to opening diplomatic channels, cultivating friendships and impressing all levels of society: 

Duke Alfonso d’Este sent his groom Girolamo Sestola to England with a superb horse together with gold trappings, three trained falcons and a leopard, hoping Henry VIII could persuade Pope Leo X to restore Modena and Reggio to the Duke.

Perfection was power. Creating and maintaining the perfect horse was breathtakingly expensive. Condottiere, prince or prelate – owners demanded beauty, dedication and immaculate planning in every aspect of the horse’s care and presentation. Renaissance architects such as Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, and leading horsemen such as Pasqual Caracciolo, Carlo Ruini and Claudio Corte (who spent time as riding master in the English court of Elizabeth I), applied themselves to the task, creating not only spectacular buildings but also a body of work in equine care, art, politics and philosophy. 

The elements of perfection were widely debated and could be maddeningly elusive. The horse was an independent spirit who would just as happily throw a prince as a commoner but could also reward the skilled rider and gave 

 honour, not only in combat, in war, assaults, duels and other similar things, but extending to magnificent festivals, public and private games, such as jousts, tournaments, running and breaking the lance and such as… killing bulls, fighting lions, bears and leopards, in hunting and performing maneggio, either with or without fancy dress, in front of lords and crowds of people.

The court horse was housed in magnificence, in ornate and ever more autonomous stables often with complex water and fodder supplies. Fodder required dry storage; fabulous caparisons needed expert maintenance and the horses, wrote Leonardo da Vinci, required ‘a pool so they can splash about after a journey’. Stables were to face south and designed so that no sunlight fell directly onto the horses within. Mangers and hayracks were positioned to make the horse stretch his neck, and space for stalls was carefully calculated and allotted. 

Increasing wealth enabled owners to invest lavishly in their stables. No longer simply part of the villa or castle, the stable became independent of but complementary to other great court buildings, built to resemble a basilica, Greek temple or cloister. Eye-catching exterior decoration and palatial interiors (though sometimes not large enough for the biggest entourage) competed for attention with the villa itself, and greatly enhanced the owner’s status. The portico at a Gonzaga stud farm stable served as a theatrical space in which horses could be displayed ‘one by one’. The Bentivoglio stables in Bologna had a portico matching their seignorial palace on the opposite side of the large piazza – a statement of elegance and intent. 

By drawing on Renaissance treatises, court ordinances and stable records and by collating a range of important stable buildings, the book makes a significant contribution to the cultural history of the Renaissance horse. Sarah Duncan has visited most of the stables featured, travelling from Naples and Rome, through the hills of Tuscany and Umbria to Mantua, Milan and Vigevano. Some are lost to all but a surviving wall; others are splendid still as visitor attractions, museums or offices. By meticulous research the author brings to life the equine culture of the Renaissance, describing the people, court stables and horses at their most extravagant. 

Raphael sketches the ‘ideal’ anatomy; a groom shows a horse that shines like a mirror and dances over the ground; the farrier-surgeon employs exotic herbs, prayer and magic to cure sick and disobedient horses. Court horses commanded a vast knowledgeable, dedicated and well-regulated staff who lived as a quasi-religious community, dedicated and indentured, of grooms, trainers, saddlers, bit-makers, virtuosi in equine health and even astrologers. From the prescriptions of pioneering equine scientists to stable hands stealing food from the horses’ mangers, Privileged Horses opens new windows on Renaissance life. The court stable is a place of authority and subservience, expertise and obedience – a co-existence of enormous wealth, creativity, scientific endeavor and whole lives dedicated to creating the perfect and most privileged of animals.


Privileged Horses: The Italian Renaissance Court Stable contains illustrations by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and other contemporary masters. Pages from treatises, account books, stable records and architectural drawings of the time are reproduced. There are maps, diagrams and photographs. 

There is also:

A summary of the stables, their current status and a description of each, with location maps.

2. A glossary of equestrian terms 

3. Notes on currency, weights and measures

Illustrations attached (please ask for higher resolution copies)

1. Decorative horse tails in Taddeo and Federico Zuccari’s, I fasti farnesiani: The Truce of Nice c.1559. 

2. Giovanni Butteri, The Return from the Palio, 16th century. 

3. Leonardo da Vinci, sketch for an ideal stable, c.1485-1488. 

4. Accounts for the Este Saddle maker, Master Domenicho, Iv, detail. On  8 March 1554, the account records a wooden toy horse for five-year-old ‘Don Aluigi’ – Ercole II d’Este’s youngest son, Luigi

For interviews, review copies, illustrations and more contact:

Stephen Morris  0208 946 8705;  07831 425610;

Sarah Duncan  0207 223 9620;

Privileged Horses: The Italian Renaissance Court Stable

Sarah G Duncan

288 pages softback, superbly illustrated in colour and mono

ISBN 978-1-9160953-6-6    £30.00

PhD studentships with ‘Feed The Birds’ to ‘Do Not Feed the Animals’?

Four PhD studentships available on on the anthropology, governance and history of bird feeding, feed industries and zoo feeding, as part of a new Wellcome Trust funded project, From ‘Feed The Birds’ to ‘Do Not Feed the Animals’? (DNFTA). DNFTA is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Departments of Archaeology and Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of Exeter; University of Roehampton (Anthropology), University of Reading (Geography and Environmental Science), and National Museums of Scotland (Department of Natural Sciences). DNFTA is working across disciplines – and with third sector partners – to investigate the human fascination with feeding animals – and explore the consequences of this feeding for the shared health of humans, other animals and wider environments.

Our PhD studentships will be co-supervised across DNFTA staff. Two projects will be located at Exeter: the first project, ‘Following Animal Feed: Nutrition, regulation and industry’, will investigate the contemporary governance of animal feed industries; while the second project, ‘Feeding Time at the Zoo: From postwar to the present day’, will investigate changing expertise and practices of animal feeding in zoos.
There are two further DNFTA PhD studentships on the anthropology of bird and zoo fedding available at the University of Roehampton.

For further information, please contact Dr. Angela Cassidy (a.cassidy@exeter) or Professor Garry Marvin (

Book Launch: Loving Animals: Reflections on Bestiality, Zoophilia, and Post-Human Love

You are invited to Joanna Bourke’s launch of her new book “Loving Animals: Reflections on Bestiality, Zoophilia, and Post-Human Love” (Reaktion Books). It explores one of the last taboos, drawing on queer theory, post-human philosophy, and the history of the senses. Monday 9th November between 6pm and 7pm. Join here and, on the 9th, get 20% off the price of the book!


Call for Papers 

Please circulate to interested parties _______________ 


SOAS, University of London – Saturday 17 October 2020 

As part of the ongoing programme of the Interdisciplinary Animal Studies Initiative (IASI) based at SOAS University of London, in October 2020, we are organising a small conference in London. This will be an exploratory pre-conference, preparing for a larger event to be held in Arcachon, France in 2021. Our aim is to map out broad areas of problems and possibilities for research. As a pilot event, it will offer a general interdisciplinary survey, and will get the word out to interested colleagues around the world in order to build a network of interest. 

Papers and expressions of interest are invited. 

We think that oysters are hugely interesting! For this conference our interest is primarily edible oysters, and we shall be viewing them from a variety of thematic, disciplinary, geographical, and historical perspectives. Potential papers might address the following topics: 

– Categorisation of species 

– The replacement of some species by others, in natural and engineered processes 

– Environments – natural, damaged, restored, and conserved 

– Diseases and non-human predators 

– Methods of aquaculture and of managing wild resources 

– Ethnographies of producer communities 

– Forms of consumption – raw, cooked, smoked, dried, pickled, canned 

– Historical patterns of consumption, as affected by class, region, etc 

– Dietary restrictions for religious and cultural reasons 

– Food poisoning scares, and public health measures 

– Economics of gathering, culturing, and trading 

– Uses of shells 

– Symbolism in literature and art 

– Comparisons with pearling oysters 

– Comparisons with other edible molluscs 

– “Oyster cultures” in the broadest sense 

Papers addressing other themes are also welcome. 


There are relatively few publications that cover the extraordinary life of oysters, especially as seen from the perspective of the human exploitation of this marine resource across the world. Our purpose in calling this conference is to expand this literature, with the intention of publishing an edited volume after the main conference in Arcachon 2021. 

The consumption of edible oysters is extremely old in human history, although the practice has met with cultural barriers. High-caste Hindus, Buddhist monks, Jains, Jews, and secular vegetarians abstain from all shellfish, and Muslims tend to follow suit. The danger of food poisoning has led others to shun oysters, which tend to be eaten raw in the West, and cooked in Asia. Eating raw foods has at times been equated with barbarism, and oysters have often been a food of the very poor, sometimes as a fall-back in times of dearth. However, they have also been delicacies of the super-rich. They have been considered an aphrodisiac, albeit with little scientific backing. Dried and smoked oysters have been widely traded, especially in East Asia, often with the flesh of other molluscs. The dull and ugly shells and pearls have rarely been exploited, unlike those of other molluscs, but there have been exceptions. 

Excessive gathering and pollution have periodically threatened the existence of edible oysters. States have thus imposed closed periods for extraction. Aquaculture, dating back to before the common era in the Chinese and Roman empires, has been another response to scarcity, intensifying around the globe from the late nineteenth century, and accelerating the replacement of flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) by their larger Pacific relatives (Crassostrea gigas). However, aquaculture has met with resistance from some gatherers, who prefer to manage wild resources. Fierce disputes have broken out over rights of access, leading to governmental intervention. 

Oysters have figured extensively in literature and the visual arts, for example as markers of conviviality, Bohemian life-styles, luxury, or sexuality. This has mainly been studied in a Western context. 

The oyster also has a well-documented role to play in mitigating problems of food crisis, flooding and global warming. 

Submission and deadlines

Abstracts of proposed papers should be sent in the following format: 



— ABSTRACT [max. 200 words] 

— CV OF PRESENTER(S) OF PAPER [max. 100 words] 



Please send to the conference organiser: 

Deadline: These materials should reach us by 15 July 2020. Notifications will be sent in the week of 1 August 2020. 


The conference will have a dual access portal – a physical gathering in London, and a virtual gathering on the internet. Both will be open to the general public. Registration is free for all concerned. 

For further details, and for all inquiries, contact the conference organiser as above 

We look forward to meeting you in London, in person or virtually. 

Ed Emery [SOAS, University of London] Conference organiser 

William Gervase Clarence-Smith [SOAS, University of London] Conference chair 

This conference is one of a series of interdisciplinary animal studies events. Details can be found at: