Exploring the Animal Turn
Animals´ omnipresence in human society makes them both close to and yet remarkably distant from humans. Human and animal lives have always been entangled, but the way we see and practice the relationships between humans and animals – as close, intertwined, or clearly separate – varies from time to time and between cultures, societies, and even situations.
By putting these complex relationships in focus, this anthology investigates the ways in which human society deals with its co-existence with animals. The volume was produced within the frame of the interdisciplinary “Animal Turn”-research group which during eight months in 2013–2014 was hosted by the Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies, Lund university, Sweden. Along with invited scholars and artists, members of this group contribute with different perspectives on the complexities and critical issues evoked when the human-animal relationship is in focus.
The anthology covers a wide range of topics: From discussions on new disciplinary paths and theoretical perspectives, empirical case-studies, and artistic work, towards more explicitly critical approaches to issues of animal welfare. Phenomena such as vegansexuality, anthropomorphism, wildlife crimes, and the death of honey-bees are being discussed. How we gain knowledge of other species and creatures is one important issue in focus. What does, for example, the notion of wonderment play in this production of knowledge? How were species classified in pre-Christian Europe? How is the relationship between domesticated and farmed animals and humans practiced and understood? How is it portrayed in literature, or in contemporary social media?
Many animals are key actors in these discussions, such as dogs, cows, bees, horses, pigeons, the brown bear, just to mention a few, as well as some creatures more difficult to classify as either humans or animals. All of these play a part in the questions that is at the core of the investigations carried out in this volume: How to produce knowledge that creates possibilities for an ethically and environmentally sustainable future.
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