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Carol Adams


Independent Scholar


Carol J Adams is a feminist-vegan advocate, activist, and independent scholar and the author of numerous books including her pathbreaking The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, now in a Bloomsbury Revelations edition celebrating its 25th anniversary. It has been translated into German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish, and French. She is the co-editor of several important anthologies, including most recently Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth (with Lori Gruen). The Carol J. Adams Reader: Writings and Conversations 1995-2015 appeared in the fall of 2016. Her writings are the subject of two recent anthologies, Defiant Daughters: 21 Women of Art, Activism, Animals, and The Sexual Politics of Meat and The Art of the Animal: 14 Women Artists Explore The Sexual Politics of Meat, in which a new generation of feminists, artists, and activists respond to Adams' groundbreaking work. She has a Masters of Divinity from Yale University. In the 1970s, she and her spouse, the Rev. Bruce Buchanan started a Hotline for Battered Women in upstate New York and she is the author of a number of books on violence against women, children, and animals. Carol is also the author of books on living as a vegan, including Never Too Late to Go Vegan: The Over-50 Guide to Adopting and Thriving on a Vegan Diet (with Patti Breitman and Virginia Messina), Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian’s Survival Guide, How to Eat Like a Vegetarian Even if You Never Want to Be One. Her most recent book is Even Vegans Die: A Practical Guide to Caregiving, Acceptance, and Protecting Your Legacy of Compassion, with co-authors Patti Breitman, and Virginia Messina.


The conference will close with a “reverse panel.” Ron Broglio of Arizona State University proposed the idea in which the scholars on the stage ask the audience to engage with them directly on the themes of the conference. This panel is sponsored by the Socrates Project of McMaster University. Carol Adams, Ron Broglio, David Clark, and Tracy McDonald will gather questions and themes that arise over the three-days of the conference and engage the audience in a discussion of these key ideas.


Mary Anne Barkhouse


Haliburton, Ontario


Mary Anne Barkhouse was born in Vancouver, BC but has strong ties to both coasts as her mother is from the Nimpkish band, Kwakiutl First Nation of Alert Bay, BC and her father is of German and British descent from Nova Scotia. She is a descendant of a long line of internationally recognized Northwest Coast artists that includes Ellen Neel, Mungo Martin and Charlie James. She graduated with Honours from the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and has exhibited widely across Canada and the United States. As a result of personal and family experience with land and water stewardship, Barkhouse’s work examines ecological concerns and intersections of culture through the use of animal imagery. Inspired by issues surrounding empire and survival, Barkhouse creates installations that evoke consideration of the self as a response to history and environment. A member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Barkhouse’s work can be found in numerous private and public collections.


Mary Anne Barkhouse will give an artist’s talk on Thursday 19 March at the McMaster Museum of Art about her installation that will be housed at the museum from 4 January to 21 March in their conference inspired exhibit that shares out title Animals Across Discipline, Time, and Space. Her installation, Red Rover, Red Rover, also known as Jailbreak, Octopus Tag, Forcing the City Gates, and British Bulldog in Commonwealth countries, Ali Baba in Russia, and We Want Soldiers in Romania, is a game in which two teams face off. The sides are made up of as many players willing to partake and are divided into east and west. Players lock arms and form two opposing lines. One player runs at the facing line and attempts to break through. If successful, the player takes the two people who failed to stop them back to their team. If the player fails to breach the wall, they join the team that thwarted them. In Mary Anne Barkhouse’s installation, Red Rover, that playing field is a foam mat map of a space that settler colonials divided and dubbed Alberta and British Columbia. Large pink poodle toys face off against black wolf figures. Between them is an oil pipeline. The lines drawn over the interests of humans versus the interests of land and nonhumans very rarely cede to the latter. It is an ongoing test of our own resolve to choose which side of this game we will play on because we do have a choice.


Vanessa Bateman

PhD Candidate, Visual Arts



Vanessa Bateman is a PhD candidate in the Art History, Theory, and Criticism program at the University of California San Diego. She is also pursuing a specialization degree in Anthropogeny through the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny at UC San Diego and the Salk Institute of Biomedical Studies. Her dissertation research focuses on the history of animals in visual art and material culture, with a particular emphasis on visual representations of hunting in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 2018, Bateman was awarded the student essay prize from the Universities Art Association of Canada for her paper “Ursus horribilis,” which was subsequently published in the Spring 2018 issue of the journal Revue d'arte Canadienne (RACAR).


Vanessa Bateman's paper, “Taxidermy, as a fine art, subservient to science: Martha Maxwell’s Rocky Mountain Museum,” focuses on the creations of the self-taught hunter and taxidermist who collected on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution and had a large display at Philadelphia's Centennial Exhibition.  Her argument addresses the blurring of science/art and the contradictions of using (dead) animal displays to call attention to over-hunting and conservation concerns at the time. She is a member of a panel organized by Matthew Brower, “Reading the visual culture of animals across the boundaries of art and science.”


Miguelly Bélanger

Intern at Fauna Foundation



Miguelly Bélanger graduated from Université de Montréal in 2018 with a degree in biological sciences. From Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean in Quebec, the boreal forest and its fauna has been her playing ground as well as her learning ground. Her participation to the Fauna Foundation Internship program this year is a continuation of her learning about animal behavior and ethics of our relationships with non-human animals.


In her paper, “Activity Budgets of Captive Chimpanzees to Assess Quality of Life,” Miguelly Bélanger uses activity budgets as a means of assessing chimpanzee quality of life. The presentation reviews the need for activity budgets in animal welfare. As an intern during the summer of 2019, she recorded activity budgets of the chimpanzees at Fauna Foundation. The results are presented and the implication on the assessment of quality of life for captive elderly chimpanzees.


Lesli Bisgould

Faculty of Law

University of Toronto

Lesli Bisgould began her legal career in civil litigation, then spent ten years in her own practice as Canada's first animal rights lawyer. She is currently the Barrister at Legal Aid Ontario's Clinic Resource Office, where she assists caseworkers at Ontario's legal clinics with their appeals in poverty, disability and human rights cases. Lesli maintains her interest in animal rights law. She wrote Canada's first textbook on the topic (Animals and the Law; Irwin Law, 2011), she assists animal advocacy organizations, and she created and instructs a course about animals and the law at the University of Toronto's Faculty of the Law.


She will be part of a Roundtable organized by Jessica Eisen entitled “Law’s Animal.” As the first speaker, Bisgould will present an overview and critique of animals’ primary categorization at law: that of property. She is uniquely positioned to explain this phenomenon. Who is law’s animal? How does law view non-human life, and its place in human polities? This panel will bring together scholars and litigators in the growing field of “animal law” to explore these questions.


Katherine Bishop

PhD candidate, Anthropology

University of Alberta

Katherine Bishop is a graduate student at the University of Alberta completing her PhD in Anthropology. Her research focuses on shepherding in ancient Greece, and this fascination with goat management motivated her to get involved in Edmonton's GoatWorks project. Katherine is a forensic anthropologist and archaeologist who has worked with human and animal bones in Ontario, Italy, Peru, Greece, and Alberta. Katherine is here to talk about the connections between goat management in ancient Greece and our shifting uses for goats in Canadian cityscapes today.

Whether it is the cheese made from their milk, the fabric produced from their hair, or their ability to manage vegetation, people have been benefiting from goats and their byproducts for thousands of years. Goats were one of the first animals to be domesticated and used by humans and their popularity has only increased in recent years. As an archaeologist I conduct stable isotope analysis of ancient goat teeth to interpret how humans managed animals in Greece during the Hellenistic period (323 – 30 BCE). In 2019 I also had the opportunity to work with the City of Edmonton’s contracted shepherd and goatherd as part of parkland management. With this GoatWorks project I engaged directly with public education on the sustainable use of goats in modern cityscapes. This means that my research explores human-goat relationships from Greek antiquity to Edmonton’s urban parkland today. I question how these relationships have changed over time and how they have largely remained constant. Using various archaeological techniques and ethnographic observations I explore these relationships, examine how our ecological landscapes have been modified as a result, and understand how humans adapt our relationships to match the changing global economy. My research explores themes related to archaeology, sustainability, and the G.O.A.T. factor.

Ron Broglio

Department of English

Arizona State


Ron Broglio is the Director of Desert Humanities at Arizona State University and Co-Director of the Institute for Humanities Research at ASU as well as Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Cumbria School of Art. He is the author of the monographs Beasts of Burden: Biopolitics, Labor, and Animal Life and Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art. He had co-edited numerous book and collections including the recent Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies. He is collaborator and co-curator of Trout Fishing in America and Other Stories with the artists Bryndis Snaebjornsdottir and Mark Wilson which examines the cultural life of endangered species in the Grand Canyon. Currently, he is engaged in a number of long-term projects concerning the deserts of the American Southwest.


The conference’s closing event was Broglio’s idea. He will host the reverse panel that concludes the conference events on Saturday 21 March. The scholars on the stage ask the audience to engage with them directly on the themes of the conference. Carol Adams, Ron Broglio, David Clark, and Tracy McDonald will gather questions and themes that arise over the three-days of the conference and engage the audience in a discussion of these key ideas. In this way, the conference will invite the public to weigh in on the issues that have been raised and contribute to a broad discussion of matters of vital importance involving human and non-human animals in the age of the Anthropocene. He will also chair one of the conference’s panels.


Matthew Brower

Faculty of Information

University of Toronto


Matthew Brower is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Developing Animals: Wildlife and Early American Photography (University of Minnesota Press 2010). He has curated several exhibitions of contemporary art including Mediated Memories for the 6th Beijing International Art Biennale (National Art Museum of China 2015); Threatened, Endangered, Extinct (Open Studio 2014); Digital Animalites: Mapping (John B. Aird Gallery 2018); and Digital Animalities: Rendering (Contact Gallery 2018). 


Matthew Brower will deliver a paper entitled, “Curating Contemporary Animal Art from a Visual Culture Perspective.” His presentation will examine the curation of three exhibitions that explore contemporary artists’ engagement with animal issues. The Exhibitions: Threatened, Endangered, Extinct at Open Studio in 2014; Digital Animalities: Rendering at Contact in 2018 and Digital Animalities: Mapping at the Aird Gallery in 2018. The exhibitions foregrounded issues in animal representation and their changing meanings as they crossed disciplinary boundaries and display contexts. Brower organized the panel, “Reading the Visual Culture of Animals Across the Boundaries of Art and Science.” The presenters argue that representations of animal bodies have historically moved across disciplinary boundaries. Notably, Star and Griesemer formulated the notion of boundary objects through analyzing the production of taxidermic specimens for museum display. This panel brings together papers that analyse the representation of animal bodies across artistic and scientific contexts. 


David L. Clark

English and Cultural Studies

McMaster University


David L. Clark is Professor in the Department of English & Cultural Studies and a member of the Council of Instructors in the Arts & Science Program at McMaster University. His research emerges at the intersection of contemporary critical theory, post-Enlightenment philosophy, and Romantic aesthetic practice, with an emphasis on the conceptual remainders that trouble narratives about the exemplarity of the “human.” His work explores a wide range of subjects--from the desecration of bodies in Goya’s engravings to the question of the “animal” in Derrida’s Cerisy lectures, and from the responsibilities of the public university in wartime to the problem of embodied life in Kant’s late writings. His long-standing interest in the nexus of animals and violence in the writings of Emmanuel Levinas has led to more recent work in Critical Animal Studies that focuses on what he calls “the animal witness,” i.e., the haunting nearness of non-human actors to human atrocities.


The conference will close with a “reverse panel.” Ron Broglio of Arizona State University proposed the idea in which the scholars on the stage ask the audience to engage with them directly on the themes of the conference. This panel is sponsored by the Socrates Project of McMaster University. Carol Adams, Ron Broglio, David Clark, and Tracy McDonald, will gather questions and themes that arise over the three-days of the conference and engage the audience in a discussion of these key ideas.


Grace Coffman

MA, Philosophy

York University


Grace Coffman is currently a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Philosophy program at York University. She received her B.S in Anthropology from Ohio State University and a M.S in Primate Behavior from Central Washington University, where she completed a thesis entitled The Effect of Sound on Captive Chimpanzees. Her research interests include captive welfare, animal rights, and applied ethics.


In her paper, “Decibel Level and Chimpanzee Behavior in a Sanctuary Setting,” Grace Coffman assesses the behavioral responses to sound level in captive chimpanzees at the Fauna Foundation in Carignan, Québec, Canada. While not open to the public, the Fauna Foundation soundscape presented in this study consisted of chimpanzee, human, and mechanically generated sounds. Higher average sound level was associated with reassurance and agonistic behaviors, as well as with an increase in arousal level.


Emily Collins

Undergraduate, Biology

Concordia University


Emily Collins is obtaining a Bachelor of Science, Specialization in Biology at Concordia University in Montreal. Her focus is on nonhuman animal communication and behaviour, with the goal of applying this knowledge to the advancement of nonhuman animal welfare across many settings and disciplines. She been an intern at the Fauna Foundation Sanctuary in Carignan, Quebec since June 2019, where she has had the opportunity to receive training in compassionate care for nonhuman primates. 


In her paper, “Communicative Function of Chimpanzee Signs,” Emily Collins considers the signs that Chimpanzees acquired as infants and continued to use for the duration of their lives. Tatu and Loulis (signing chimpanzees) sign to caregivers and chimpanzees at Fauna Foundation constantly. Caregivers maintain daily sign records. Sign logs are detailed documentation of the chimpanzees signed and nonsigned interactions with caregivers and other chimpanzees. These records provide a way to understand the communicative function of Tatu and Loulis’ signs and provide insight into the cognition and emotional states of these two individuals. Communicative function illuminates the intent of utterances. She discusses the implications for captive nonsigning chimpanzees.


Maneesha Deckha

Faculty of Law

University of Victoria

Maneesha Deckha is Professor and Lansdowne Chair in Law at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include critical animal studies, animal law, postcolonial feminist theory, and reproductive law and policy. She is widely published and has received multiple grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and other funding bodies. She also held the Fulbright Visiting Chair in Law and Society at New York University. She is currently completing a book project on feminism, postcolonialism and critical animal law and serves as the Director of the Animal & Society Research Initiative at the University of Victoria. Professor Deckha’s research interests include critical animal studies and animal law, feminist analysis of law, socio-legal studies in general, and health law and bioethics. Her work has been published in Canada in the Alberta Law Review, the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, the Canadian Legal Education Annual Review, the McGill Journal of Law and Health, the McGill Law Journal, the Osgoode Hall Law Journal, the Ottawa Law Review, and the UBC Law Review. Her scholarship has also appeared internationally in the Animal Law Review, the Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law, Journal of Animal Law and Ethics, Medical Law Review, Harvard Journal of Gender and Law, Hastings Women's Law Journal, UCLA Women's Law Journal, Stanford Journal of Animal Law and Policy, Unbound: The Harvard Journal of the Legal Left, and the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society. Outside of law reviews, she has published in leading academic journals including American Quarterly, Hypatia, Sexualities, and Ethics and the Environment, among other publications. Professor Deckha has also contributed to numerous anthologies relating to animal law, animal studies, feminism, cultural pluralism and health law and policy.


Maneesha Deckha is a leading Canadian voice in both critical theory and animal law. Her paper. will elaborate on her own critical alternative to animal personhood. She has developed the concept of “beingness” as a potential legal category. She is part of the panel “Law’s Animal” organized by Jessica Eisen. This panel of Canadian legal experts on animals and the law will be held in the LRW Concert Hall on Saturday 21 March 2020.


Margo DeMello


Canisius College, NY


Margo DeMello received her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from UC Davis in 1995, and is an adjunct faculty member in the Anthrozoology Master’s Program at Canisius College. She is the Program Director for Human-Animal Studies at the Animals and Society Institute, and she is Past President of House Rabbit Society. Her books include: Stories Rabbits Tell: A Natural and Cultural History of a Misunderstood Creature, Why Animals Matter: The Case for Animal Protection, Teaching the Animal:

Human Animal Studies Across the Disciplines, Speaking for Animals: Animal Autobiographical Writing, Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies, and Mourning Animals: Rituals and Practices Surrounding Animal Death.


Stefan Dolgert

Political Science

Brock University


Stefan Dolgert is Associate Professor of Political Science at Brock University, where he writes and teaches on democratic theory, critical animal studies, posthumanism, hip-hop, and ancient Greek and Chinese political thought. He is currently finishing a manuscript on the rich tradition of non-anthropocentric thought in ancient Greece, and can be reached at


His paper, “Ichneumenoid Athena: The Posthuman Origins of 'The West' and the Xenopolis to Come” argues that most 20th century political theorists, from Leo Strauss to Hannah Arendt to Jacques Ranciere, presumed that the ancient Greeks were deeply anthropocentric, that they asserted humans to be morally superior to all other mortal beings, and that they based their politics and philosophy on these claims of human exceptionalism. Using the monster from Alien (1979) and parasitic wasps (ichneumonidae) as methodological inspiration, my work instead uncovers an important alternative tradition in the ancient Greeks that is nonanthropocentric, and I argue that the “humanism” of the Greeks (and of the canon of “Western philosophy”) is more an artefact of later authors than a reflection of what those authors actually wrote.  Our supposed tradition is therefore much more heterodox (and just plain weird) than previously believed, and by re-reading Homer, Plato, and Aristotle in this manner I find new resources for crafting a more ecologically-sensitive ethic for the 21st century, as well as for developing models for nonanthropocentric political institutions.


Jeanne Dubino

Department of English

Appalachian State University


Jeanne Dubino is professor of English and Global Studies at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. She is a key figure in their Animal Studies minor. She has been a visiting assistant professor of literature and Women’s Studies at Bilkent University (Ankara, Turkey); a Fulbright Scholar/Researcher at Egerton University (Njoro, Kenya); and a Fulbright Specialist at Northeastern University (Shenyang, China). She has published edited volumes, articles and essays on Animal Studies, travel, and Virginia Woolf.


Jeanne Dubino will present a paper entitled, “Traveling Menageries, Military Pageantry, and Imperial Designs: Emily Eden and Animals in India, 1838-1842.” Eden travelled with her brother George Eden when he was Governor-General in India from 1836-1842. In her narration of these travels, “Up the Country” (1866), Eden described the journey, through the Upper Provinces of India, itself and much of the writing engages with the display of hundreds of humans and animals alike. Eden represents animals as serious actors in her entourage and she includes them as significant parts of the world through which she is traveling.


Margherita Duesbury

Health and Aging

McMaster University


Margherita Duesbury graduated from McMaster University with a BA (Hons) with a double major in Health Studies and Gerontology, as well as a minor in Religious studies. Currently, she continues as a student in her MA within the Health and Aging department. Under the supervision of Dr. James Gillett, she studies the interactions between human-animals and Animal Assisted intervention (AAI) programs, specifically within long-term care facilities (LTC). With a passion for improving the wellbeing of older adults and further implementing AAI programs in LTC, she focuses on understanding the complex concept of the human-animal bond. Over the last few years, she has worked specifically on the qualitative media analysis of Cannabis and Dogs. Examining the legalization of Cannabis, this research specifically looks at its effect on dogs within the work force, healthcare and physical health. Through her academic work, she has gained a greater understanding of the impact of policies on the well-being of animals and the way of which animals influence human society.


Margherita Duesbury’s paper, “The Implication of Marijuana Legalization on the Lives of Working Canines,” explores disruptions arising as a result of changes in policy and legislation for the working lives of dogs trained in olfactory investigation and enforcement. In the Fall of 2018, the federal government of Canada passed Bill C-45 legalizing the use of marijuana. A consequence of this legislation is working dogs in the area of drug detection with specific training in identifying marijuana were no longer required to perform searches. This scenario presents an interesting case study in issues arising from the precarious status of canines who ‘work’ in institutional contexts like enforcement. We expand upon current literature in animal studies on the involvement of canines in work such as environmental protection, search and rescue, illegal substance and drug detection, and medical diagnosis.  Based on a qualitative case study of media coverage on the significance of cannabis legalization for dogs, four key themes are identified and discussed: Using a One Health framework, the analysis concludes by raising the importance of evaluating the participation of dogs in the workplace and the need for more robust set of policies and guidelines on their contribution in this sphere.     


Kathryn Eddy


PA and Colorado


Kathryn Eddy is an interdisciplinary artist who uses painting, drawing, collage, photography, sculpture, writing, and immersive sound installation to explore the complexities of the animal/human-animal relationship. As an activist against racism, domestic violence, and animal abuse, her work explores linked oppressions and examines the patriarchal power structure that perpetuates them. Her immersive sound installations, include often overlooked animals and their troubled and abusive relationship with human animals. She co-founded, along with artists Janell O’Rourke and L.A. Watson, ArtAnimalAffect, an artist coalition dedicated to bridging art and activism within the field of critical animal studies. In 2017, they organized and participated in The Sexual Politics of Meat Exhibition at The Animal Museum in Los Angeles which produced the catalog, The Art of the Animal: Fourteen Women Artists Explore the Sexual Politics of Meat, published by Lantern Press.


From January through March, 2020, Kathryn Eddy’s current ongoing immersive installation, Urban Wild Coyote Project, will be exhibited in its entirety for the first time as part of the exhibition, Animals Across Discipline, Time, and Space at the McMaster Museum of Art in Hamilton, Ontario. This exhibition will accompany and culminate with the conference by the same name, organized by Dr. Tracy McDonald, in March 2020 at McMaster University. A full color catalog will be published, co-written by Mandy Suzanne Wong and Tracy McDonald. In a cozy living-room setting, coyotes infiltrate familiar objects; their images pasted, painted, drawn, and sewn into wallpapers, drink coasters, embroidered samplers, and other decorations. Using the remote-control units on the coffee table, visitors can activate the sonic decoys on the pedestals. These commercially-available machines come prepackaged with recordings of living coyotes and the screams of dying and distressed deer, rabbits, and other animals; the idea being for these sounds to lure curious or hungry coyotes into steel traps or within rifle range. From loudspeakers around the room, TV actors’ prerecorded voices play serial killers luring human victims to their deaths. Beneath the chandelier—which is made of eight steel traps welded together, rendered useless for their cruel purpose—Eddy’s juxtapositions of sounds, images, and objects consider the relationships between hunters and serial killers, whose victims are eagerly commodified by fascinated popular cultures.


Katherine will give and artist talk on 19 March 2020 at the McMaster Museum of Art and will give a paper entitled “The Urban Wild Coyote Project: an immersive sound. art installation exploring modern myths and ideological coverups.”

Jessica Eisen

Faculty of Law

University of Alberta


Jessica Eisen is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law. Her research interests include animals and the law, constitutional and comparative constitutional law, equality and antidiscrimination law, feminist legal theory, intergenerational justice, and law and social movements. Eisen’s research has been published in the Journal of Law and Equality, Animal Law Review, Canadian Journal of Poverty Law, Transnational Legal Theory, Queen’s Law Journal, ICON: International Journal of Constitutional Law, University of British Columbia Law Review, University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, and elsewhere. She has studied at Barnard College, Columbia University (BA, Political Science and Human Rights Studies, 2004); The University of Toronto Faculty of Law (JD, 2009); Osgoode Hall Law School (LLM, 2014); and Harvard Law School (SJD, 2019); and has worked at Weir Foulds LLP, the Ontario Ministry of Labour, and the Constitutional Law Branch of the Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario.


Jessica Eisen is the organizer of the public panel “Law’s Animal.” Her paper will present an approach to animals’ legal status that spotlights animal kinship and relationality. Like, Maneesha Deckha, Eisen is interested in how we change the language of law and constitutions to better protect the “radically vulnerable” among us. Eisen’s panel revolves around the following questions: Who is law’s animal? How does law view non-human life, and its place in human polities? This panel brings together the leading scholars and litigators in the growing field of animal law. Together, these presentations will explore some of the most persistent challenges to transforming human-animal relations through law.


Murtadha Faraj

Communications Studies

Wilfred Laurier University

Murtadha Faraj is a multilingual research assistant for the Communication Studies department at Wilfrid Laurier University. He received an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies and Global Studies, and is a M.A. student in International Affairs at Carleton University. He has worked on interdisciplinary research projects including Human Zoos, Privacy Booth Exhibit and Cultures of Surveillance, and was an intern at a non-profit peace advocacy organization. He lives in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario and enjoys exploring new places in his free time.

German animal dealer, Cark Hagenbeck (1844-1913), is credited with inaugurating ethnographical shows in the mid-1870s after his business of providing nonhuman animals to European zoos began to wane. Hagenbeck coined the term, völkerschau, which translates as international show or what became known in English as human zoo. Though human zoos have origins that precede Hagenbeck’s opportunism, they gained widespread popularity in the context of 19th-century colonialism, scientific racism and mass entertainment. The exhibits travelled to major world cities and were documented in thousands of photographs, picture postcards and early films. Some of these visual artefacts are held in European museums. Others are collected by private individuals. This paper emerges from a funded research project that reads messages on the reverse side of human zoo postcards and photographs. Existing scholarship on such imagery largely examines the visual and, notably, exoticized humans who are depicted. Little attention is paid to nonhuman animals who can be seen alongside humans. They included dogs, camels, horses, water buffaloes, snakes, monkeys, goats, elephants, oxen and donkeys. What are animals doing in human zoos? In other words, how are they depicted and what ideological work might their inclusion have served? For this research project, over 100 postcards and photographs held by an Austrian collector and 40 others held by a German museum were photographed and the message side translated to English. This paper interprets how the images and messages reflected impressions of human versus animal, seen versus unseen, us versus them. This paper argues that the significance of human zoos in the past, and their continuation into contemporary carceral forms, particularly for nonhuman animals and for racialized humans, cannot be interpreted only by reading visual representations of humans.

Leesa K. Fawcett



She is part of a roundtable organized by Joshua Russell. In this session, the speakers will draw on—literally and figuratively—quilting as an active and processual framework to explore our pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning about human-animal relationships across and between disciplines. Each member of the panel has unique experiences in higher education as educators and/or as students that they bring to the session in the form of presentation, discussion questions, and representation. At the same time, they will invite those present to visually represent their own disciplinary considerations and points of view—we will provide artistic supplies—in order to create a “quilt” that captures something of the “accumulated and shared experience” of those in attendance (Botha, 2009, p. 436). The quilt will be a point of discussion and reflection as we place the various squares together at the end.

Angela Fernandez

Law and History

University of Toronto


Angela Fernandez is Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, cross-appointed to the Department of History. She was a leader for four years of a Working Group at the University of Toronto’s Jackman Humanities Institute “Animals in the Law and Humanities” and contributor to the 2018-19 “Animal Law Lab” at the Faculty of Law. Professor Fernandez is the author of a book-length study on Pierson v. Post, the famous first possession case often used to begin the study of American (and sometimes Canadian) property law: Pierson v. Post, the Hunt for the Fox: Law and Professionalization in American Legal Culture (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018). She is an Associate Editor (Book Reviews) for Law and History Review and a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the American Society for Legal History. She is also on the Board of Directors for Animal Justice Canada and is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.


In her paper, “Animals and ‘personhood,’” she applies her extensive expertise in legal history and property law, her paper offers her own critical analysis of leading efforts to dispel animals’ status as property—in particular, efforts to achieve ‘personhood’ status for animals. Fernandez is a member of the public panel organized by Jessica Eisen on “Law’s Animal.” The panel revolves around the following questions: Who is law’s animal? How does law view non-human life, and its place in human polities? This panel brings together the leading scholars and litigators in the growing field of animal law. Together, these presentations will explore some of the most persistent challenges to transforming human-animal relations through law.

Erica Gajewski




Erica Gajewski is a Canadian visual artist who is engaged with issues of biodiversity loss, human and other animal relations, and socio-ecological systems. Her artistic practice employs a variety of materials, from traditional drawing and painting to soft sculpture, instillation and more recently, an expanded practice rooted in land. Gajewski completed a B.F.A and M.F.A from the Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah, GA, U.S.A, and is presently completing a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada, where her practice based interdisciplinary work intersects academic fields of Multispecies Studies, Environment and Cultural Studies, and Visual Arts. Her work is held in many private and public collections, including the Toronto Zoo and the US Department of State’s Embassies in Moscow, Russia, and Kabul, Afghanistan.


Erica Gajewski will exhibit two large and stunning pencil works, “every twenty minutes” and “mercury water” at the McMaster Museum of Art exhibition “Animals Across Discipline Time and Space,” running from 4 January to 21 March. She will present an artist’s talk on Thursday 19 March 2020 about her work in the gallery and her interest in human and nonhuman animal relations as it permeates all of her work. The exhibition will accompany and culminate with the conference by the same name, organized by Dr. Tracy McDonald, in March 2020 at McMaster University. A full color catalog will be published, co-written by Mandy Suzanne Wong and Tracy McDonald. Glimpses of Gajewski’s drawings can be found in the publicity and social medial materials currently available for AADTS.


Bonnie Glencross

Archaeology and Heritage Studies

Wilfrid Laurier University


Bonnie Glencross (Associate Professor, Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo), is a bioarchaeologist with research interests broadly concentrated in biological anthropology and human osteology, and specializing in health, diet, and disease in the past. Her current focus, the reconstruction of ancient human diet provides an exciting opportunity to explore the canid-human interface in greater depth. Central to this research is an understanding of the shared feeding behavior between dogs and humans that is found in many cultures. Both oral tradition and historical ethnographic accounts play a significant role in documenting the close relationship between humans and their dogs, and fortifying inferences based on biochemical data generated through stable isotope analyses.


Bonnie Glencross’s paper addresses the efficacy of dog bone as a substitute for human bone when attempting dietary reconstruction from carbon and nitrogen isotopes for ancestral Huron-Wendat communities in southern Ontario AD1300-AD1650. She and her co-authors analyzed dog and canid bones from five Huron-Wendat sites in southern Ontario and compared those results to previously published human stable isotope data for the same sites. Results from our study suggest that maize, a staple of the ancestral diet, is clearly present in the diet of ancient dogs. Carbon values for dogs and humans correspond well through time suggesting that dogs can serve as proxies for contemporary human maize consumption; however, dog nitrogen values are quite variable and need to be established for each archaeological context independently. This evidence is framed with knowledge from ethnographic sources and oral tradition on dog ecology, and the roles of dogs in Huron-Wendat society.


Kimberly Hart


SUNY Buffalo State


Kimberly Hart is an Associate Professor, SUNY Buffalo State, is a social-cultural anthropologist and visual anthropologist who earned her Ph.D. at Indiana University, Bloomington in 2005. Having first visited Turkey in 1987, the country has become the focus of her work. Before turning to the street animals of Istanbul, she conducted fieldwork (2000-2010) on rural life, labor, gender, marriage, love, and Islamic practice. Her work on the street animals of Istanbul is on urban transformation, government policy, empathy, compassion, cruelty, and the lives of street dogs and cats from the late Ottoman era to the present in a rapidly transforming city. Among her monograph and articles, she is the author of, “On the Cultural Dimensions of Empathy: Street Animals and Istanbul,” in Re-thinking Human-Canid Relationships edited by John Sorenson and Atsuko Matsuoka, McGill-Queens University Press, 2019.


Her paper, “Managing Street Animals in Istanbul,” differentiates between street dogs and street cats, and outlines how their future survival is shaped differently through municipal policies based on the 5199 Animal Protection Law. This law spells out how animals should be treated by municipalities, though many of the policies are directed toward dogs. Municipalities manage street animal populations by providing medical services, water systems, and food. Of course, these practices are not always implemented, leading to huge populations of street dogs in the undeveloped periphery of the city and the remaining forests. She will discuss how the law recognizes the needs of street animals and contains basic guidelines establishing their right to live on the street, but also defines street animals as "ownerless" (sahipsiz) rather than "street." Their status as quasi-property is thereby implied. Animal rights activists and animal welfarists both consider how the law contains a dark potentiality for justifying the removal of the street animals, but especially the street dogs, and housing them in vast animal shelters, when street habitat is deemed inadequate for their survival. In fact, two newly-constructed, vast shelters demonstrate that such a plan is afoot.


John Hill

McMaster Museum of Art

McMaster University


John Isaiah Edward Hill is a queer, Indigenous, working class poet and artist from Hamilton, Ontario. He is Oneida nation, Turtle clan from Six Nations of the Grand River. His poetry deals with colonization, queerness, anger, hope, and the enchantment which lies beneath the surface of so-called modern civilization.


John Hill will be reading from his work on 21 March 2020.

Defne Inceoglu

MA, Museum Studies

University of Toronto


Defne Inceoglu is a SSHRC-Funded Master of Museum Studies Candidate at the University of Toronto. They hold a BA Hons. from Brock University in Art History and Visual Culture. Inceoglu lives in Toronto, Ontario. They are a practicing visual artist and curator. Inceoglu’s research focuses on interdisciplinary topics related to art history, museums and animals.


Defne Inceoglu’s paper “Animal bodies in the climate crisis: a visitor study at the Royal Ontario Museum” focuses on The Royal Ontario Museum’s (ROM) ‘Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity.’ This 10,000 square foot permanent gallery space combines a variety of different exhibits, including a live coral reef aquarium and a presentation space. However, the vast majority of the objects within this gallery's displays are taxidermic animals from a wide variety of species. The gallery’s primary thematic concern is climate change, with an emphasis on the impact of human life on animal habitats. The research looks into the relationships of audiences and museum professionals to non-human animals in the gallery. It asks how these relationships may be reinterpreted to include an introspective look at human decisions to display animal bodies. Through interviews with museum patrons, this project explores the effectiveness of displaying animal bodies in achieving the gallery’s aims of promoting awareness of human responsibility for the current crisis. The research also reflects on the issues involved in the instrumental use of animal bodies to promote a non-instrumental relationship to nature.

Alaina Interisano

PhD candidate, Environmental Studies

York University


Alaina Interisano is a second year PhD student at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. She obtained her BA and MA in sociology at Brock University, concentrating in critical animal studies. In her MA thesis research, she examined student perspectives of animal experimentation to understand how this exploitative practice in science education, and the status quo of animal models in research and testing, are maintained and reproduced through post-secondary education. Her current research looks at the convergence of environmental education and critical animal pedagogy, and human-animal relations in science education and research. In her PhD research, she continues to focus on animal experimentation in universities, with new methodologies and a focus on implementing non-animal alternatives.


In her paper, “‘It’s a Privilege:’ A Critical Examination of University Students’ Perspectives of Experimentation in Science Education,” Alaina Interisano looks at how students are taught to make sense of this practice as a part of their education and conceptualize non-human animals as research objects, thus perpetuating dominative human-animal relations in science. This paper employs critical animal studies and critical pedagogy as frameworks for identifying and deconstructing themes in students’ accounts and experiences with nonhuman animals in classroom settings. The results show that students’ experiences of animal experimentation pedagogy have greatly influenced their attitudes and perceptions of animals in science and have instilled in them a reliance and perceived necessity of this exploitative practice in education. Most notably, instructors are depicted by students as highly influential in shaping their acceptance of animal experimentation, as well as coercive when students express ethical concerns and hesitation in participating, which will be discussed in relation to broader implications of animal experimentation pedagogy.


Derek Jenkins




Derek Jenkins is a filmmaker and lab technician based in Hamilton, ON. His practice is handmade, personal, and documentary, with an interest in labour, ecology, and social reproduction. His films have screened widely, most recently at Media City Film Festival, Experiments in Cinema, Fracto Film Encounter, and Antimatter [Media Art]. His sound work, “The E6 Process,” was installed at Factory Media Centre in 2018 as part of HAVN’s Sonic Art Series. His film “Contents” was included in the exhibition “Minding the Archive” at Hamilton Artists Inc. in September 2019. He is a student in Documentary Media (MFA) at Ryerson University and works at Niagara Custom Lab.


Derek will give and artist talk on 19 March 2020. To make films in the context of obsolescence is to make films that call attention to the material conditions of their creation. The film strip, a byproduct of industrial slaughter, secretes in its gelatin suspension what Nicole Shukin has characterized as a “sensible trace of cinema’s contingency on animal sacrifice.” But as the means of image production have transitioned into a more complex and atomised entanglement in global trade—one of commodity chains and slippery logistics, with equal grip on resource colonization in Africa and labour exploitation in the East—the flesh behind images has been rendered indiscernible, while the pace of obsolescence has reached full gallop. His film, “Livestock,” shot on expired stock with available light at the Warren Livestock Auction in rural Arkansas, considers these issues at the peripheries of two industries. Flares, hairs, and other mistakes are incorporated into the edit, attended by an asynchronous aurality dominated by cattle vocalisations, clanging gates, and squawking callboxes. To make films in the context of obsolescence is to begin to think through conditions which might constitute a post-revolutionary society. Making films on film is a way of communicating with a future in which film cannot exist.


Mary Lee Jensvold

Primate Communication Scientist at Fauna Foundation for Friends of Washoe

Senior Lecturer advising graduate students in the Primate Behavior and Ecology Program

Central Washington University


Dr. Mary Lee Jensvold has worked with chimpanzees who communicate with sign language since 1986. She holds a BA in Psychology from University of Oregon, a MS in Experimental Psychology from Central Washington University, and a PhD in Experimental Psychology from University of Nevada Reno. Mary Lee specializes in ethological studies of apes, animal intelligence, communication, language, and culture. Her studies include conversational behaviors, private signing, phrase development, chimpanzee to chimpanzee conversation, imaginary play, and artwork in chimpanzees. Other research includes caregiving practices, zoo visitor effects, and public education about chimpanzees. She is active in improving conditions for captive chimpanzees. In addition to being an active member of Fauna Foundation’s board of directors, Mary Lee is also on the board of the Animal Welfare Institute and Friends of Washoe.


Mary Lee Jenvold organized a panel with three interns from the Fauna Foundation. Her presentation will focus on the training of students to work with signing chimpanzees. At the Chimpanzee & Human Communication Institute, home to signing chimpanzees from 1980-2013, Jensvold and her colleagues trained students to care for chimpanzees as well as learning noninvasive observational research methods. The care experience ranged from preparing meals to managing the daily activities of the sanctuary. In 2013 the CHCI closed and the remaining two chimpanzees moved to Fauna Foundation near Montreal. There she began training students in the same tradition as she had at CHCI. Interns participated in care while learning observational data collection. Some interns conducted noninvasive experiments. The role of the scientist and the caregiver blend seamlessly. Scientific rigor is maintained and interesting behaviors are discovered. At the same time chimpanzees receive compassionate care. Only research proposals that benefit the chimpanzees at Fauna Foundation are accepted. Studies have been in communication, sign language studies, and animal welfare. This panel highlights some of the student projects accomplished in this program.


Signs of Aesthetics in Chimpanzee Drawings Mary Lee Jensvold, Ph.D. Young chimpanzees acquired signs of American Sign Language and other behaviors typical of Western human children such as drawing. The chimpanzees’ use of two-way communication provided opportunity to ask questions about their drawings. Their drawings and paintings show individual differences in style between chimpanzees. For example Tatu uses small concise marks, while Loulis uses bold marks. The chimpanzees titled many of their drawings, which provided an opportunity to systematically examine the chimpanzees’ perception of their productions. Researchers asked chimpanzee Moja to draw pictures of seven objects resulting in 35 drawings. Using this set of drawings, experimenters instructed human participants to sort the drawings into stacks, based on their similarity to an exemplar. Participants frequently sorted Moja’s drawings of cup, boot, and banana into separate stacks, indicating they identified patterns that were repeated in each set of drawings. Aesthetics include aspects such as balance. In another study chimpanzees drew on sheets of paper that were either blank or were printed with a stimulus. The stimulus was located either in the center or offset from the center. Analysis of digitized versions of these drawings tested whether chimpanzee mark placement was contingent on the location of stimulus figures. Centroid locations in drawings significantly changed between stimulus type and among participants for free choice and central figure drawings. Participants tended to draw in the empty space opposite offset figure drawings. Stone throwing in free-living chimpanzees also shows particular placement of objects in space. These results raise questions of and provide evidence for a sense of aesthetics in nonhuman apes.


Robbie Judkins

Sound Artist



Robbie Judkins is a sound artist and musician with a focus on performance, improvisation, composition and broadcasting. Robbie is the creator of Animal Sounds (Resonance FM) and also performs under the moniker Left Hand Cuts off the Right. He is particularly interested in animal rights, sonic activism, mental health issues and listening. 


Game 2020 (30 minutes)


Game is a new performance that repurposes sonic devices and methods used by hunters to allure, trap or confuse non-human animals. A selection of hunting whistles, horns, high frequency sine waves, ultrasound and rudimentary tools will be used and manipulated during this performance.  


Game is part of an ongoing project researching the sonic methods used to control, hurt or confuse non-human animals.

Benjamin J. Kapron

PhD candidate, Environmental Studies

York University


Benjamin J. Kapron is a Ph.D. candidate in York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, exploring how he might develop and inform his decolonial and ethical praxes, as a settler, through understanding Land to be a decolonial agent and teacher. In his work, Ben aims to bring into conversation environmental ethics and philosophy; decolonization, Indigenous studies, and settler colonial studies; and critical environmental thought challenging human exceptionalism and exemptionalism. Ben is the managing editor of UnderCurrents: journal of critical environmental studies.


In his paper, “‘[A] vision and vital condition to endure, to outwit evil and dominance, and to deny victimry:’ Exploring Animal Survivance,” Kapron extends Gerald Vizenor’s concept of “survivance” to other-than-human animals, in order to affirm their agency and challenge damage-centered understandings of them. He will argue that concerns over animal exploitation, abuse, and extinction―although necessary―have served to essentialize animals as suffering, creating damage-centered understandings of animals, couched in victimry. Although we may focus on these topics out of care and concern for other animals, understanding animals through a damage-centered lens is a violent denial of animal agency and futurity. It ignores the actions that animals actively and agentially undertake in order to survive against the various violences they face. Utilizing the continued survival of bison in Makȟóšiča (the badlands of South Dakota) as a case study, I examine how the lived survivance of animals rejects animal victimry, affirms animal presence, and upholds animal agency and futurities.


Andrew Kettler

Department of History



Andrew Kettler received his doctorate from the History Department at the University of South Carolina in May of 2017. He researches the use of olfactory language in the making of racial, class, and gendered metaphors that were used to assert forms of state, religious, and patriarchal power during the Enlightenment. Andrew has recently published some of these original findings in Senses and Society, the Journal of American Studies, in the Australian Feminist Law Journal, and in the edited collection Empire of the Senses. During the 2017-2018 academic year, he researched as a fellow at the University of Toronto, the Huntington Library, and the John Carter Brown Library. For the 2018-2019 academic year, Andrew also served as a short-term Mellon Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society, while continuing to teach and research at the University of Toronto. For the 2019-2020 academic year, Andrew will serve as an Ahmanson-Getty Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles as part of the 1619 anniversary series on the history of American slavery. His upcoming monograph, The Smell of Slavery: Olfactory Racism and the Atlantic World is under contract at Cambridge University Press, will be released in the spring/summer of 2020, and focuses on the importance of aromatic consciousness in the making of Atlantic era resistance to the racialized olfactory discourses of state, religious, and slave masters.


In his paper, “Tasting Cattle in New Ways: The Demoralization of Diets in the Second Slavery,” Andrew Kettler connects slavery and the colonies to the development of a taste for beef in Britain. Prior to the rise of capitalism, as represented within many legal and religious literatures from the Early Modern Era, farm animals were often held in high respect as both providers of sustenance and beings delivered as laborers from a benevolent God. In many cases, European citizens credited animals enough consciousness to provide animal witnesses a chance to offer legal defenses against accusations that frequently included trampling crops. Partially because of the legality of animal consciousness, eating hefty amounts of beef remains an anomaly within Western history, and exists today only due to a recent expansion triggered by the rise of capitalism and slavery within the Atlantic World. In order for beef to become fetishized as a primary dietary product, especially within Britain of the Early Modern Era, cows had to become expendable objects rather than subjects serving as agricultural farmhands. As cattle shifted from respected assistants in the providential fields of the Early Modern Era to objects for warfare and supply on the colonial frontier, beef was constructed as a positive flavor for European tongues. Flavor is a socially constructed aspect of the intersensorial established through biopolitical alterations to the taste buds on the tongue and the two routes for odors moving from the mouth to the nasal membranes. These flavorizing senses frequently link with ideals of nationalism and masculinity to define the worth for different alimentary goods. The rise of capitalism necessitated that a greater population desire quick access to meats, as workers were driven harder into the machines that buttressed the means of production.


Madeleine Lavin

Freelance Writer & Editor


Madeleine Lavin holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from York University.  A self-proclaimed naturalist, Madeleine’s academic work is focused on multispecies studies, specifically human-arthropod relations.  Her other research interests include: human-nonhuman animal relations, new materialism, phenomenology, ecology, natural history, and environmental education.  Madeleine is currently working as a freelance writer and editor. 


In her paper, “Pests, Pestiness, and Pesticides,” Madeleine Lavin explains how the term “pest” is vital to an understanding of the relationship between human beings and arthropods. Essential to this understanding is that a pest is a human construct that serves as both an ontological category (an organism’s way of being) as well as a value judgement (based on human perceptions); ultimately shaping our interactions with this vast group of organisms. The ways in which arthropods are confronted in various environments are always situated and context-dependent: within the home, an arthropod’s mere presence may be sufficient for its labelling as a pest. As a result, the threshold of exterior doors and walls becomes a physical manifestation of a biopolitical line, which effectively “makes killable”—to borrow from Haraway (2016a)—any and all arthropods within the home. Pesticides, especially the synthesised compounds developed in the mid-twentieth century, have served as the primary mediator of human-arthropod relations for the last century. By looking at the evolutionary and ecological history and roles of indoor arthropods, we can begin to tease out what it means to be a pest and challenge the indiscriminate pest-labelling of household arthropods. Instead, following Richard Mabey’s (2015) concept of “weediness,” the idea of “pestiness” may be helpful in furthering an understanding of the categorising processes at work in human-arthropod entanglements within North American homes.


She will also read, “Book Louse: A Speculative Fabulation.”

Joanna Lilley



Joanna Lilley's fifth book and third poetry collection, Endlings, will be published by Turnstone Press in March 2020. She's also the author of a novel, Worry Stones (Ronsdale Press), which was long-listed for the Caledonia Novel Award, and a short story collection, The Birthday Books (Hagios Press). Joanna's other poetry collections are If There Were Roads (Turnstone Press), and The Fleece Era (Brick Books) which was nominated for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Joanna has an MLitt degree in creative writing from the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde and is a Humber School for Writers graduate. Joanna is from the UK and now lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, where she helped to set up the Yukon Writers' Collective Ink. She is grateful to the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council on whose Traditional Territories she resides.


Hearing Voices: Poems of Extinction

A poetry reading by Joanna Lilley 


Is there a way to hear the voices of extinct species and put them on the page? Even though writer Joanna Lilley knew this wasn’t possible, she wanted to see how close she could get by ‘meeting’ fossils, carrying out research and connecting with other artists’ work. The result is her third poetry collection, Endlings, published by Turnstone Press in March 2020. 


Join Joanna to hear her perform a selection of poems illustrating some of the approaches she took – imagining what the dusty bones of a dodo in a museum might say; telling the story of how the very last Labrador duck was shot and eaten; travelling back to inhabit the planet before Homo sapiens existed; and showing that no human exists independently of all the creatures that went before them. The event will include time for questions and answers. The author of five books, Joanna believes we shouldn’t treat animals as lesser species in our writing or anywhere else. Her essay, ‘Do We Have the Right to Write About Animals’, was published in Writing for Animals (Ashland Creek Press) in 2018.


More about Endlings (Turnstone Press, 2020)

Endlings takes us across continents and through the long expanse of aeons to give voice to the dead. In poems that are lyrical, exact, and deeply melancholic, Joanna Lilley demands audience for the final moments of animal extinction. From the zebra-horse quagga and chiding dodo, to the giant woolly mammoth and delicate Xerces Blue Butterfly, the haunting, urgent words of these “endlings” cut to the bone to expose the brutality of Nature and the devastating repercussions of human ignorance and intent, while giving hope that our humanity will help save what remains.

Danielle Taschereau Mamers

Cultural Studies

McMaster University


Danielle Taschereau Mamers is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at McMaster University. Her research examines how documents mediate asymmetrical power relations in settler colonial societies. Her current research examines themes of documentation, vision, and power in the relations between humans and bison on the North American prairie and how those relations have been torqued by colonial violence. She has published in Settler Colonial Studies, PUBLIC: Art | Culture | Ideas, Journal of Narrative Politics, and Humanimalia: Journal of Human-Animal Interface Studies, and Photography & Culture and has held fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Toronto.


Her paper "Documenting Multispecies Colonialities: Bison in the Settler Archive" examines the near extinction of bison played a pivotal role in making possible late 19th- and early 20th-century settlement of the North American west. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous histories of this period recognize that humans and bison have “simultaneously parallel and entangled biographies.”[1] Yet, forces of colonization and capital have unevenly torqued these biographies and the nature of their entanglements. Animal lives and communities have been central to colonial endeavors, yet animal life and human-animal relations do not always appear in analyses of settler colonial processes or archives. To illustrate some of the ways humans and bison are entangled in processes of settler colonization and the possessiveness of extractive colonial industries, this paper considers bison extermination and its representations in archival photographs taken to celebrate settler expansion. These images of cleared land, railroads, and piles of bison bones minimize the impact on bison herds and their human and nonhuman relations or ignore these impacts as “externalities” of settlement. Through the lenses of settler colonial and critical animal studies, this paper first examines how settler photographs make visible settlement-in-process and the ways colonial processes have violently ordered human and animal life on the prairie. However, there are also instances where Indigenous resistance plays out before the camera, alongside material relations of colonization. Attuned to Indigenous critical thought, the paper engages the work of Tasha Hubbard (nêhiyaw), Zoe Todd (Métis), and Leroy Little Bear (Kainai), to explore counter-readings of the photographs, as documents of a radical shift in a world of shared human-buffalo relations.

[1] S. Eben Kirksey and Stefan Helmreich, “The Emergence of Multispecies Ethnography,” Cultural Anthropology 25, no.4 (2010): 545-576.

Brian McCormack

PhD, Humanities 

York University


Brian McCormack completed his PhD in the Humanities Department at York University in 2019. His research focuses on critical posthumanism, theories of meaning and interdisciplinary environmental humanities. He worked with Jody Berland as a research assistant on “Digital Animalities: Media Representations of Nonhuman Life in the Age of Risk,” 2015-2019 SSHRC Funded Project (June 2015-present). His publications include “Narrative, Meaning and Multispecies Ethical Ontologies.” Humanimalia 11.1, September 2019, 64-88 and “Robotic Jellyfish Blooms in Anthropocene Oceans.” Digital Animalities: Media Representations of Nonhuman Life in the Age of Risk. Ed. Jody Berland and Thomas Lamarre, forthcoming 2020.


Brian McCormack will deliver a paper entitled, “Robots, Care Work and Interspecies Ethical Relations: Empathy, Dignity and Relationality.” He looks at affective computing, machine learning and biomimetic robotics which are increasingly important tools for a variety of forms of care work. As they become more realistic and responsive to human affect, they raise

urgent, complex ethical questions concerning human dignity, authenticity and empathy. A number of recent studies engage such questions, but not enough attention has been paid to how these technologies are bound up with complex human/nonhuman animal relationships. This paper will explore the Paro seal, a therapy device widely used in caring for elderly patients with dementia. Paro has been criticized for putting human dignity at risk, threatening to replace authentic social interactions – including those with therapy animals – with inauthentic and demeaning ones. Yet Paro has also been shown to increase social activity among patients and to provide a degree of relief from isolation and depression. He argues that Paro can be understood neither as a seamless replacement for human relationships with other animals, nor as a disingenuous object which badly and perhaps dangerously mimics authentic interspecies empathetic relations. Biomimetic robotic animals like Paro emerge in the midst of, contribute to the ongoing development of, and thus should be a topic of concern for, interspecies ethical relations. As they become more sophisticated and ubiquitous, their effects on these relations will be increasingly apparent, and the ethical questions they raise will become more urgent.


Tracy McDonald

Department of History

McMaster University


Tracy McDonald is an historian of Russian and Soviet History at McMaster University. Her areas of interest include social and cultural history, micro-history, film, agrarian studies, violence, and animal studies. McDonald co-edited (with Lynne Viola, Sergei Zhuravlev and Andrei Mel’nik) a volume of documents on collectivization entitled Riazanskaia derevnia v 1929-1930 gg.: khronika golovokruzheniia (The Riazan Countryside, 1929-1930: A Chronicle of Spinning Heads), Moscow, Rosspen, 1998. She is the author of Face to the Village: The Riazan Countryside under Soviet Rule, 1921-1930 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011). In November 2012, her book received the ASEEES Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History for outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia in the field of history in 2011. McDonald was one of the three founding members of the independent documentary-film company Chemodan Films. Between 2004 and 2009 she participated in the making of four films including Province of Lost Film, Uprising, and Photographer. McDonald co-edited Zoo Studies: A New Humanities (McGill-Queens University Press, 2019) with Daniel Vandersommers. She is the guest curator of the exhibition Animals Across Discipline, Time & Space at the McMaster Museum of Art which runs from 4 January to 21 March 2020.

Judith Nicholson

Communication Studies

Wilfred Laurier University

Judith A. Nicholson is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. She researches and teaches in the area of mobilities studies. Current research projects include the university-funded project, Reading Human Zoo Postcards, a SSHRC-funded collaboration on the history of privacy booths, and a SSHRC-funded collaboration on pedagogies for mobilities studies.

German animal dealer, Cark Hagenbeck (1844-1913), is credited with inaugurating ethnographical shows in the mid-1870s after his business of providing nonhuman animals to European zoos began to wane. Hagenbeck coined the term, völkerschau, which translates as international show or what became known in English as human zoo. Though human zoos have origins that precede Hagenbeck’s opportunism, they gained widespread popularity in the context of 19th-century colonialism, scientific racism and mass entertainment. The exhibits travelled to major world cities and were documented in thousands of photographs, picture postcards and early films. Some of these visual artefacts are held in European museums. Others are collected by private individuals. This paper emerges from a funded research project that reads messages on the reverse side of human zoo postcards and photographs. Existing scholarship on such imagery largely examines the visual and, notably, exoticized humans who are depicted. Little attention is paid to nonhuman animals who can be seen alongside humans. They included dogs, camels, horses, water buffaloes, snakes, monkeys, goats, elephants, oxen and donkeys. What are animals doing in human zoos? In other words, how are they depicted and what ideological work might their inclusion have served? For this research project, over 100 postcards and photographs held by an Austrian collector and 40 others held by a German museum were photographed and the message side translated to English. This paper interprets how the images and messages reflected impressions of human versus animal, seen versus unseen, us versus them. This paper argues that the significance of human zoos in the past, and their continuation into contemporary carceral forms, particularly for nonhuman animals and for racialized humans, cannot be interpreted only by reading visual representations of humans.

Taylor O’Connor

PhD Candidate, French

Penn State University


Taylor O’Connor is a doctoral student and graduate teaching assistant in the department of French and Francophone Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. She received her M.A. in French from Penn State, and has taught at l’Université de Strasbourg in France. Her primary research interests lie in Enlightenment-era vegetarianism, however her work touches upon questions of animal activism, species egalitarianism, and new materialisms as they appear in the Francophone world both historically and in modern day. She has presented her work both in Europe and the U.S.


Taylor O’Connor will present the paper, “The Logic of Vengeance-An Anti-Anthropocentric reading of En Eaux Troubles by Jean-François Samlong.” The novel explores at length the contact zone of human and shark through the interiority of several human characters, connected through varying degrees of grief caused by shark attack. Though the human species and the shark species are overwhelmingly depicted as age-old enemies, irreconcilable to one-another… the reader may discern, through the measured unfolding of the story’s events, that there are no simple interpretations of the fleshy world. As sharks kill humans and humans kill sharks, a cycle of violence comes into focus. Who is victim, and who is aggressor… who is the predator and who is the prey… only becomes hazier as one turns the pages of Samlong’s text. The paper engages a reading of the logic of vengeance, defined here as retribution enacted in retaliation for injury or wrongdoing, as it exists in Samlong’s novel.


Nathan Olmstead

PhD Candidate, Political Science

University of Toronto


Nathan Olmstead is a doctoral student studying political science at the University of Toronto. His research interests include urban development, transhuman technology, and posthuman subjectivities. His current work focuses on the anthropocentric foundations of the Smart City movement and contemporary urban governance, the structures of inequality that these foundations support, and the need for a deconstructive and posthuman alternative. Nathan has also been an active policy researcher and consultant focusing on environmental sustainability, responsible technology, and animal welfare. His previous works have been published in Political Theology, Urban Studies, Adaptive Human Behaviour, and Neuroscience.  


In, “No Time for Idle Dreaming: smart cities, factory farms, and the politics of corralling,” Nathan Olmstead will argue that the proliferation of surveillance-based technologies and algorithmic decision-making reflects techniques and strategies are already well-established along other frontiers of the Anthropocene. More specifically, in its quest to measure, analyze, and harmonize the spatio-temporal patterns of urban life, the Smart City movement is implicated in exploitative and dehumanizing systems of control that are already dominant in industrial farming and the destruction of nonhuman animals. In both cases, assumptions about what it means to be human mobilize new technologies towards the taming and commodification of behaviour, the elimination of wasted time, and the correction or destruction of the nonhuman. He concludes with an exploration of the way the anthropocentric foundations of the Smart City intersect with, and contribute to, other systems of marginalization within urban spaces.

dave phillips


dp has worked solo as dave phillips/dp since 1987. part of schimpfluch-gruppe since 1991 (with rudolf & gurgelstøck, joke lanz/sudden infant etc.), co-founded ohne in 2000 (with tom smith, daniel löwenbrück, reto mäder), started the oneman-doom-project dead peni in 2004, the perverts in white shirts duo since 2012, co-founded fear of god in 1987 and has played in numerous other bands, projects and collaborations. dp's humanimalism is a concept that describes a developed humanoid existence that has overcome the erroneous religious, material and supremacist phases of evolution (recognised as mistakes that anticipate learning processes), acknowledges itself as part of a whole and has grown into an empathic, conscientious & connected creature allowing emotion & instinct their equal part in decision-making, moving beyond the previously dominant one-sided, reductive rational/logical/systematic/male/anthropocentric mindset, and having balanced itself within its environment by retracing an origin, with social and environmental awareness becoming inherent sensual functions. dp has been sonically active for 30+ years, has appeared on over 200 releases and has played near to 600 concerts in 50 countries.


video action 2020 (25 minutes)


video action is an actionistic and physical performance accompanied by visuals, loops and samples of voice and objects are played live over prepared sonic structures and follow a narrative. the video talks of existential, philosophical and sentient matters, on personal, social and global levels. this set is an evocation of 'humanimal', a sonic ritual, an audio-visual catharsis, a trigger of discourse, offering food for thought.


dp is also presenting a paper entitled, "an attempt to formulate why i do what i do,” in which he will attempt to explain why he does what he does.

Colleen Plumb




Colleen Plumb (American, born Chicago, IL) makes photographs, videos, and public video projections investigating contradictory relationships people have with animals. Her recent projects explore the way animals in captivity function as symbols of persistent colonial thinking, that a striving for human domination over nature has been normalized, and that consumption masks as curiosity. Plumb's work sheds light on abnormal behaviors of captive animals in order to bring attention to implicit values of society as a whole, particularly those that perpetuate power imbalance and tyranny of artifice. By projecting videos on the street, strangers connect as witnesses and contribute to the idea that sentient beings are not meant for spectacle or display.

Plumb's work is held in several permanent collections and has been widely exhibited, including the Portland Art Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Blue Sky Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts in Portland, Dina Mitrani Gallery  and The Screening Room in Miami, Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona, Jen Bekman Gallery in New York, Union League Club of Chicago, and the Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. Her work has been part of The Chicago Project at Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago since 2005 and the Midwest Photographers Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography since 2003. She has written for the Center for Humans and Nature, an organization dedicated  to exploring and promoting human responsibilities in relation to nature, and was a contributor to their book, City Creatures (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Her first photography monograph, Animals Are Outside Today (Radius Books, 2011) critically documents our ambivalent dispositions towards animals. Her focus for nearly two decades has been an inquiry into a society whose appetite for animals, whether in flesh or in reproduction, with admiration or obsession, is voracious. Plumb's work has appeared in LitHub, Psychology Today, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Village Voice, Blow Photo Magazine, RealSimple, New York Times LENS, Time Lightbox, Oxford American, Photo District News, and Artillery Magazine. Plumb lives in Chicago and has taught photography and video at Columbia College Chicago since 1999. Six of Colleen Plumb’s photographs are part of the AADTS exhibition at the McMaster Museum of Art from 4 January to 21 March. She will give and artist’s talk at the museum, and as part of the conference on 19 March 2020, on these works and on her more recent work that documents the tensions between human and nonhuman animals. And she will be presenting her film Thirty Times a Minute on 21 March 2020.

Traveling to over sixty zoos in the US and Europe, I filmed elephants exhibiting what biologists refer to as stereotypy, a behavior only seen in captive animals, which includes rhythmic rocking, swaying, head bobbing, stepping back and forth and pacing. Thirty Times a Minute looks at elephants exhibiting stereotypy due to lack of adequate mental stimulation or an inability to engage in natural activities. These compulsive, repetitive movements can cause debilitating, life-threatening damage to the animals’ feet and joints.

The durational video of these repetitive movements within environments that nearly replicate one another, are made from stationary viewpoints, and when viewed en masse, become a larger study into unified, rhythmic movement. I am interested in the notion of collection as obsession, and ways that the project’s multiplicity, in form and content can mirror the endless and obsessive state of the animals’ behavior. Elephants communicate through infrasonic sound (sounds too low for humans to hear). The audio alludes to these hidden vocalizations.


Ziba Rashidian​

Department of English

Southeastern Louisiana University


Ziba Rashidian teaches theory, animal studies, and comparative literature at Southeastern Louisiana University where she oversees the graduate program in English. She is co-editor with Jeanne Dubino and Andrew Smyth of Representing the Modern Animal in Culture (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014).


In her paper, “Beyond Precarity: Human-Animal Coexistence in Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices of Chernobyl,” Ziba Rashidian focuses on the persistent reference to and presence of nonhuman animals in the observations and narratives of the interviewees. She argues that the narratives present an altered understanding of the human-animal relation. While many of the speakers were or are small farmers and while their “before Chernobyl” relation to nonhuman animals (at least domesticated animals) involved a mutuality of exchange, with the human provision of “care” to the animals and the animal provision of sustenance to the humans, in the “after Chernobyl” perceptions of survivors and of the new immigrants to the exclusion zone, nonhuman animals—both wild and domestic—are seen as surviving within the same horizon of bodily appropriation and temporal dispossession as the human beings who co-exist with them in the exclusion zone.


T.N. Rowan

PhD candidate, Environmental Studies

York University


T.N. Rowan is a PhD student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University whose academic interests span Critical Animal Studies, Gender Studies, Arts-Based Research, Environmental Ethics, and Technology Studies. As part of their dissertation T.N. is researching world building as an Environmental Ethics methodology that can facilitate intersectional activist communities in identifying and responding to issues that matter to them. T.N. is particularly interested in depictions and responses to the interwoven trauma human and non-human animals face.


In, “Animal Studies, Darwin, and Species Skepticism,” T.N. Rowan examines one of Darwin's overlooked beliefs: species was an arbitrary idea for human convenience. Darwin's species skepticism may seem strange, but it was strongly supported by naturalists at the time and has been discussed by feminist scholar Elizabeth Grosz and many philosophers and historians of science. Species is a symbolic representation humans place onto other animals. Scholars have yet to fully engage with how species reflects and enacts an unequal power relationship that uses both difference and continuity for human benefit. Other animals are like human beings when it benefits us and not like humans when it benefits us. By returning to On the Origin of Species they complicate human-animal relationships to show the nuanced ways other animals can be understood as both like and unlike humans in a way that can benefit animals.


Joshua Russell

Department of Animal Behavior

Canisius College


Joshua Russell is an assistant professor in both the Department of Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation as well as the Anthrozoology Master’s Program at Canisius College. He is also co-director of the Canisius Institute for Studies in Human-Animal Relationships. His scholarly work explores children’s relationships with animals, phenomenological accounts of animal encounters, and the application of queer theory to animal studies and environmental education. He lives in southern Ontario with his partner Sean and their rescue dog, Penny.


He is organizer of a roundtable. In this session, the speakers will draw on—literally and figuratively—quilting as an active and processual framework to explore our pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning about human-animal relationships across and between disciplines. Each member of the panel has unique experiences in higher education as educators and/or as students that they bring to the session in the form of presentation, discussion questions, and representation. At the same time, they will invite those present to visually represent their own disciplinary considerations and points of view—we will provide artistic supplies—in order to create a “quilt” that captures something of the “accumulated and shared experience” of those in attendance (Botha, 2009, p. 436). The quilt will be a point of discussion and reflection as we place the various squares together at the end.


Kimber Sider

PhD, Performance and Theatre

University of Guelph


Kimber Sider holds a PhD in Performance and Theatre from the University of Guelph, specializing in interspecies performance, communication arts, and practice-based research. Sider is also a documentary filmmaker and the Artistic Director of the Guelph Film Festival, which is a documentary film festival that focuses on inspiring community engagement and an appreciation for the arts through connecting people with stories of global reach and local relevance.


“Speaking Across Difference: Performance as the Foundation for an Interspecies Ethics of Engagement” Ric Knowles writes, “As with intercultural performance, there is, it seems to me, an urgent need to reconsider interspecies performance as a horizontalist and rhizomatic project in which no one partner in the exchange and negotiation dominates” (i). Within performance exists the potential to bridge cultures and communities, and to speak across difference. As Knowles references here, the meeting of a human and an animal through performance is in fact an intercultural exchange, in which two ways of knowing and being in the world meet, collide, and potentially crossover, allowing each to receive a glimpse of the other. Animals have come to find themselves in a subordinate position in their encounters with humans in dominant culture. Their perspectives are rarely recognized, and when they are acknowledged it is often only in a limited sense, a sense that only allows the given animal certain elements of self and perspective. We (humans) have placed animals in these positions by forgetting (or never knowing) how to hear their stories and recognize their agency. The anthropocentric obsession with verbal language denotes that often only human perspectives are recognized and acknowledged as valid. However, in contexts where words cease to mean (such as in working with animals), meaning becomes dominantly created through the expressive action of performance. It is through performance that a shared mode of exchange is found between humans and animals, one which recognizes and celebrates animal ways of knowing and being in the world—ways that are also employed by humans. This paper explores how performance-based methodologies can be used to hear animal voices and create an interspecies ethics of engagement that works towards a horizontalist and rhizomatic exchange.

Andrew Smyth

English Education & Renaissance Literature

Southern Connecticut State University


Andrew Smyth is Professor and Chair of the English Department at Southern Connecticut State University, where he teaches Secondary English Education and Renaissance Literature. He has been a Visiting Professor in the Foreign Studies College of Northeastern University, Shenyang, China, where he led workshops on Digital Humanities. He is currently engaged in a Fulbright Specialist Assignment—“Capacity Building for Research Leadership in English Language and Literature”—at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. Among recent publications, he co-edited Representing the Modern Animal in Culture (2014); wrote “Impersonating Authority: Animals and the Reconceptualization of Anglo-Irish Social Order in Maria Edgeworth’s Ennui and Edmund Spenser’s Mother Hubberds Tale,” published in Representing Animals in Irish Literature and Culture, edited by Kathryn Kirkpatrick and Borbala Farago (2015); and co-authored “Can We Be Part of the Pride? Reading Animals through Comics in the Undergraduate Classroom,” published in Animal Comics: Multispecies Storyworlds in Graphic Narratives, edited by David Herman (2018).


In his paper “Talking Back to Militarization: The Recovery of Animal Identity in WE3” he engages with the comic WE3 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely and how it depicts the technologizing of animals—a dog, cat, and rabbit—for military purposes and the resistance they offer using and ultimately rejecting the tools of their hybridization. The gleaming high-tech conversion of these animals into living weapons illuminates the decline of traditional military weaponry, which may rust away in martial and mechanical history, and the horrible transference of such arsenals of destruction to unwilling participants in human warfare. What allows these animals to recover their identity, ironically, is the capability for human language that has been added into their programming.


The language of the nonhuman in this book opens up productive arguments about representation and empathy. While talking animals in comics is commonplace, the utilitarian insertion of language into the cognitive framework of nonhuman animals in WE3 disrupts readers’ willingness to indulge in fictional constructs and refocuses attention on the animals and how they represent themselves and their suffering through language. The military commodification of the dog, cat, and rabbit effaces their animal identity and agency, shocking us into realizing how most of our relationships with animals are likewise slanted toward modes of commodification that serve human purposes, from food to clothes to property protection to emotional support. Readers, through their engagement with animal comics such as WE3, may renegotiate the boundaries between themselves and animal others and seek a different understanding of animal consciousness, agency, and sapience. The recovery of animal identity in the comic calls for increased resistance to human exploitation of other animals and greater empathy for their plight.

Vasile Stanescu

Communications & Women and Gender Studies

Mercer University

Vasile Stanescu is Assistant Professor of Communication at Mercer University; he also serves as faculty in the department of Women and Gender Studies. Stanescu is co-senior editor of the Critical Animal Studies book series published by Rodopi/Brill, the co-founder of the North American Association for Critical Animal Studies (NAACAS), the former co-editor of the Journal for Critical Animal Studies, and former co-organizer of the Stanford Environmental Humanities Project. Stanescu is the author of over 20 peer-reviewed publications on critical animal studies. His current research interests include Critical Animal Studies, food studies, decolonialism, animals and gender, climate change, and the topic of in vitro meat. Stanescu’s research has been recognized by The Woods Institute for the Environment, Minding Animals International, The Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Culture and Animals Foundation, the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, among others.


In his paper, “‘She’ or ‘They:’ Animals and the Trans and Non-binary Question,” Stanescu argues that forced gender categorization harms not only humans by re-essentializing gender in an exclusively dichotomous framework based on biological sex characteristics; it also harms animals themselves by obscuring their own possible queer desires in an enforced heteronormative norm of forced mating. All meat is based on the reality of forced mating and/or forced impregnation. Such actions constitute violence even within a cisgender binary of heteronormativity as it violates the animals' ability for sexual consent, refusal, and bodily integrity. However, it also elides the possibility of queer animal identities, asexual animals, gay animals, non-binary and trans animals. Of the over 70 billion land animals raised and killed each year, some of them must surely be queer. For them, the forced mating causes a double-violence: not only is their refusal violated —indeed ignored as if it does not exist— they also experience the violence of imposed and required heteronormativity and enforced cisgendering.


Donna Szoke

Visual Arts

Brock University


Donna Szoke is an artist-researcher, her body of work on invisible animals explores what is invisible in the visual realm in order to explore immanence and non-visual knowledge. She creates artworks that she thinks about as being transformational objects, objects that can shift us into new ways of perceiving. The leap of perception through an art experience changes our understanding of the world. Donna Szoke creates expanded animation, media art, video, drawing, and collaborations. She investigates immanence, embodied perception, and the fluidity of lived experience. She is Chair & Associate Professor, Visual Arts, at Brock University where she received the Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity in 2017.


In her presentation “Invisible Animals,” she looks at how artworks about invisible animals enact embodied and affective experience for wider society that drives public witnessing and well-being. Through an analysis of Crary’s utility of ghosts, and Derrida’s notion of hauntology, she describes the productive functionality of invisible animals haunting consumer culture. She further explores the multiple roles of invisible animals as Marxian dispossessed workers, as ongoing containers of their own alienated labour, and taking up Sontag, as productive-unproductive expenditures. Further comparing her geo-locative works to narratives of power and invisibility, she touches upon the elided histories of animals in warfare. Arendt’s concept of natality gives productive grounds to shared embodiment and empathy through projection as a medium of co-presence. Fabulations, hallucinations, ghosts and other invisible animals prove productive subjects to frame media art as an agent of poetry, figuring these non-human animals with a privileged interiority. Her art practice tackles ethical issues about invisibility, manifesting an aesthetics of care. The continuum between the visible and invisible speaks not just to the thing-ness of the world but to perception itself.

Tracy Timmins

PhD Candidate, Environmental Studies

York University


Tracy Timmins is a doctoral candidate at York University under the supervision of Dr. Justin Podur. Her research investigates encounters and relationships between humans and eastern grey squirrels in Toronto. She contributes to transspecies urban theory and develop recommendations for supporting just interspecies relationships and co-flourishing in cities. Her doctoral research has been supported by York University, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the Donna and Adrienne Pocock Memorial Award and SSHRC Insight Grant: Crossing Boundaries: Encounters with Urban Wildlife in the Greater Toronto Area.


In her paper, Timmins examines encounters and relationships that can develop between some liminal animals and humans. She argues that some liminal animals, in this case, eastern grey squirrels, can become a part of multispecies communities in Toronto and, in doing so, establish mutually rewarding relationships with some humans. Eastern grey squirrels also experience risks navigating their habitats like vehicular traffic and predatory dogs and cats. Some humans who encounter squirrels in need are compelled to help them. They often seek out information on the Internet about what to do and may take them to the Toronto Wildlife Centre or other rehabilitators for care. In the process, they become more engaged with the issues confronting our rarely considered urban co-residents. I conclude with some thoughts about how humans might coexist with liminal animals in ways that support mutual well being.


Emily Wanderer


University of Pittsburgh


Emily Wanderer is an anthropologist of science who works primarily in Latin America. Her research integrates medical and environmental anthropology to address how ideas of identity and place in the world are implicated in the practice of life scientists, as well as the ways human and non-human lives intersect and are transformed in scientific practice. She is the author of numerous articles including, “The Axolotl in Global Circuits of Knowledge Production: Producing Multispecies Potentiality” Cultural Anthropology 33(4) 2018: 650-679 and “Bioseguridad in Mexico: Pursuing Security Between Local and Global Biologies,” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 31(3) 2017: 315-331. Her first book, The Life of a Pest, tracks the work practices of scientists in Mexico in labs, fields, and offices, arguing that through the study and management of these life forms biologists moved biopolitics and biosecurity beyond a concern with human life to include animal, plant, and microbial worlds.


Her paper, “Life without Conditions: Model Organisms and New Human Biologies,” analyses how axolotls, a salamander native to Mexico, are reinterpreted not as exceptional, but rather as models demonstrating that regeneration and plasticity are fundamental biological processes that should be considered potential attributes of human bodies as well. I examine the new connections across species lines that are being developed in regenerative biology, and how the work of these scientists has consequences for our understanding of both human and nonhuman life forms. The paper considers what it means to interpret both human and axolotl bodies as plastic and flexible, particularly as the near extinction of the axolotl in the wild demonstrated the limits to their own biological flexibility. What are the moral and ethical dimensions of plasticity and the implications of this research for human and animal life? How do the cultural, political, and economic contexts in which regenerative biologists work shape their imagining of what the biology could or should be?


Sebastian Williams

PhD Candidate, Modernism & Bioethics

Purdue University


Sebastian Williams is a PhD candidate at Purdue University, studying modernism and bioethics. His dissertation is on Parasitic Modernism: Bioethics, Dependency, and Literature, with a special focus on animal studies, disability studies, and the history of medicine and science. He currently teaches introductory film, and he’s an editorial assistant for Shofar, a Jewish studies journal. His publications include, “Rogue Bodies: Disabled Antiheroes and the Pop-Culture Saga in Vikings” (co-authored with Alexander Long). Journal of Popular Culture, forthcoming and “The Gothic Grotesque: Disability and Monstrosity in Faulkner’s Sanctuary.” Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, vol. 13, no. 4, 2019, forthcoming.


In his paper, “‘Monstrous Vermin:’ Becoming the Modernist Parasite,” takes as a starting point Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Unlike how the verminous Gregor ultimately dies in The Metamorphosis, in Lispector’s The Passion According to GH, the vermin becomes a source of mystical transcendence. And, in West’s The Dream Life of Balso Snell, the protagonist parasitically worms his way through the bowels of the Trojan Horse, creating a somatic map of Western civilization and pondering the fable of St. Puce—a fiction flea that lived on Christ’s body. For each of these authors, the parasite is not a repugnant, lowly creature, as it instead offers a way of refiguring how we conceptualize the networks of human and nonhuman animals that exist in our environment. In short, the modernist parasite is a subversive reversal of anthropocentric assumptions in the early twentieth century.


Mandy- Suzanne Wong

Author & Independent Scholar


Mandy-Suzanne Wong is an award-winning author and independent scholar. Her fiction chapbook Awabi won the 2018 Digging Press Chapbook Series Competition. It was published by Digging Press, USA, in 2019. Her novel Drafts of a Suicide Note was chosen as a finalist for the 2018 Permafrost Book Prize, shortlisted for the Santa Fe Writers’ Project Literary Award, named a semi-finalist for the Conium Review Book Prize, and awarded an honorable mention in the Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest. Published in 2019 by Regal House Publishing, USA, this novel was an award-winning finalist for the American Book Fest 2019 Best Book Award in the General Fiction category, a finalist for the Eyelands Book Award, and a PEN Open Book Award and Foreword Indies Book Prize nominee. She is also the author of the artist essays in the catalog for the exhibition Animals Across Discipline, Time & Space at the McMaster Museum of Art 4 January through 21 March 2020.


In the USA, Mandy-Suzanne’s short fiction has appeared in Quail Bell, The Deck Hand, The Island Review, The Spectacle, The Hypocrite Reader, Conclave, Dark Matter, Five on the Fifth, and elsewhere. Her story “Persimmon Wonderseeker and the Mystery of the Deadly Lambshade” was shortlisted for the UK’s Aeon award, and her story “Coconut octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)” took first prize in the 2018 Eyelands International Flash Fiction Competition hosted by Strange Days Books in Greece. Her essays have appeared in Sonic Field, Volume!The Hypocrite Reader, anthologies from Open Court and Routledge, and several other venues. Her first literary nonfiction monograph, Listen we all bleed, was named a finalist and awarded an honorable mention in the 2019 Red Hen Press Women’s Prose Prize Competition. Artificial Wilderness, her literary nonfiction chapbook, won the Selcouth Station Environmental Chapbook Competition and will be published by the UK’s Selcouth Station Press.


Mandy-Suzanne was a founding editor of Evental Aesthetics, a journal of philosophy which she still serves as an editorial consultant. In September 2019 she joined Manqué Magazine as a regular columnist. She holds a BA from Wellesley College, an MM from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. She lives on the coral-caressed mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda, where she was born.


She will be reading from her work Awabi, reading for Thirty Times a Minute, and presenting a paper entitled “Artificial Wilderness: Empathy in Field Recording.” Empathy with nonhumans starts with paying attention: acknowledging that not-just-human beings exist and inviting their exhortations to interrupt our private telenovelas. An obvious way to do this is to listen to their voices. There are as many ways to listen as there are listeners, but all listening takes effort. Listening means being quiet and not tuning out; disattending from your preconceptions to attend to what you’re hearing; and admitting that by coexisting with such a sound, the utterance itself and the being who voices it claim your compassion, empathy, and more. Listening approaches activism when we listen for those claims in others’ interruptions. Conspiring with dave phillips' South Africa Recordings, I wager that listening to nonhumans—and listening to them in art: a painstaking, emotional, risky practice—can help us learn to hear them in ways that could make them get under our skin. 


Miranda Workman



Is part of a roundtable organized by Joshua Russell. In this session, the speakers will draw on—literally and figuratively—quilting as an active and processual framework to explore our pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning about human-animal relationships across and between disciplines. Each member of the panel has unique experiences in higher education as educators and/or as students that they bring to the session in the form of presentation, discussion questions, and representation. At the same time, they will invite those present to visually represent their own disciplinary considerations and points of view—we will provide artistic supplies—in order to create a “quilt” that captures something of the “accumulated and shared experience” of those in attendance (Botha, 2009, p. 436). The quilt will be a point of discussion and reflection as we place the various squares together at the end.

Charlton Yingling

Department of History

University of Louisville


Chaz Yingling is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Louisville. His first book will investigate race and religiosity in the Spanish Caribbean during the Haitian Revolution. His next two co-authored projects will explore dog attacks against black populations across the Americas, and intersections of cattle with the rise of slavery and destructive legacies of consumption to the present. He has conducted research in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Spain,

the Vatican, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and his articles appear in Past & Present, History Workshop Journal, and The Historical Journal, among others.


In his paper, “Cattle Agency Amid Colonialism and Capitalism,” he argues that British colonists recreated cultural preferences for beef and cheese to bolster ideas of masculine dominance also derived from robustly restrictive racial codes. From these first profitable English colonies similar systems of cattle and chattel developed in less profitable colonies of North America. Cattle and chattel slaves thus became extremely connected by labor and imposed mutual definitions. Colonial cattle penning enabled sugar profit, coincided with racialized slavery, and expanded increasing beef economies of the Atlantic World. As amoral manacles of commerce locked, cattle nevertheless continued to resist. We should heed the dissent of those animals whose actions shaped the confines foundational to capitalist commodification. In our current moment of climate change, driven partly by appetites that drive methane emissions, academic disciplines must contend with how cattle consciousness shaped a shared mammalian past and present to challenge rationales that cause millions of cows to suffer today. Academia must overcome reflexive skepticism that dismisses animal actions as environmental determinism or instinct. Without considering cognition, historical causation remains silenced.

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