Funny Kinds of Love: The Ethics and Affects of Human-Animal Relationships

Thursday - Friday
9 May - 10 May 2013

3335 Dwinelle & 9 Lewis

Event Type




Thursday May 9

Locations: 9-2:30 in 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
3-6 in 9 Lewis Hall, UC Berkeley

Friday May 10

Location: 9-4 in 3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley

Representations and expressions of love between humans and non-human animals suffuse contemporary U.S. culture. There is the love-at-a-distance of the feral cat rescuer, the often- deadly love of the cattle rancher, and the everyday love of the poop-scooping dog owner. There is the loving precision of the wildlife biologist tracking elk populations, the loving compassion of the veterinary laboratory technician, and the loving violence of the dog fighter. And then there is the love expressed by animal advocate Jessica Dolce in
light of the reality of overcrowded shelters and underfunded sanctuaries: “putting them to sleep, in your arms, can be the greatest act of love you can give to your pet.” These are undoubtedly funny kinds of love.

Kind is important here, for kind indexes the different kinds of love and the frequently mixed affects –care, compassion, violence –involved in these relationships. However, kind also indicates varying kinds of ethics, for the researcher who carefully, even lovingly follows protocols for the humane treatment of animals in a lab arguably engages with different ethics than those undertaken by the animal shelter worker who carefully, even lovingly administers a temperament test to determine if an animal should be euthanized. And kind is also crucial to understanding the roles of category differences at play in these loves, for while the species divide of human/non-human looms large, divisions of breed, sex, gender, and race also deeply shape these loves.

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Schedule of Events

Thursday, May 9

9-9:15 Introduction
Harlan Weaver
9:15-10:15 Animal Bodies and Sciences of Love
“In loving memory: rendering clones, wombs, and meat in commercial pet cloning.”
An examination of what the emergence of commercial pet-cloning services across Korea and the U.S. tells us about the affect (both ethical and aesthetic) of mourning in a time of genetic and cybernetic reproduction.
Hyaesin Yoon
“Fishing for Affinity: Gender-bending Bonds in the Yangtze River.”
 A paper exploring ties among gender-bending youth and intersex fish in terms of contemporary environmental activism in China.
Janelle Lamoreaux
Clips from “The Gold Fish.”
The Gold Fish swims with a Salmon through the dangerous world of U.S. water politics while refreshing audiences with speculations of inter-species collaboration…
Sarolta Jane Cump, director
10:30-11:30 Ethics, Affects, and Animal Loves
“Why loving animals is not enough: a feminist critique.”
A talk critiquing the ethics of “loving animals” drawing from feminist and queer theories.
Vasile Stanescu
“Ill Fallait Toucher Cette Chose: Haptic Human-Animal Encounters in Marie Darrieusecq’s ‘My Mother Told Me Monsters Do Not Exist.”
A talk critiquing the ethics of “loving animals,” drawing from feminist and queer theories
Sophia Magnone
Starting with Erica Rutherford’s cat yoga text (studied through Irigaray’s text on yoga/breath), an exploration of cat affects and parasitic (Taxoplasmosis) catchings.
Eva Hayward
11:30-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:30 Desires and Kinships
“On Anthropophilia: Theorizing Parasitic Desire”
A paper examining the possibilities of love that emerge from parasitic entanglements through the lens of the tiger mosquito and the West Nile Virus.
Neel Ahuja
 “A Bite of Love: Dracula in Guangdong.”
A paper on Western and Chinese vampires as culturally-specific images and narratives for zoonotic disease, and an argument for focusing on perverse production as opposed to ‘bad consumption’ of animal products.
Justin Eichenlaub
“Race and Affective Kinship in Victor Hugo’s Bug-Jargal.”
An examination of what it means for the nonhuman figure to become racially- and nationally- affiliated through the lens of Victor Hugo’s 1826 novel of the Haitian revolution, Bug-Jargal.
Brigitte Fielder
“Flesh of my flesh: the empathetic imagination at Americat’s feast”
A talk on the empathetic imagination engaged by cat food commercials and animal adoption ads.
Megan Boatwright
3:00-4:15 Training and Learning Together
“On Changing Notions of Respect.”
A discussion of the roles of respect and love in animal training discourses.
Ane Gabrielsen
“Dominated and Affectionate: Cesar Millan and Humans (like me) who obey their dogs.”
A talk on the transformation of a specific human/dog relationship in light of the interventions of celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan.
Julie Smith
“On Love and Horses: Towards Healthy Interspecies Communication.”
A talk on the role of love in equine-assisted therapy programs.
Ned Weidner
“A Piaffe into Politics: Considering the Reflection of Political Identity from Dressage Training and Horsemanship.”
Michelle Fuentes
4:30-6:00 Keynote Conversation
Professors Donna Haraway, Eduardo Kohn, and Colin Dayan discuss questions related to the ways animal advocates/animal lovers feel/think/act through situations where both living and dying, killing and nurturing are required and at stake in our finite, mortal knots? And how do we practice the love of both kinds and individuals in different situated relatings?

Friday, May 10

9:00-10:00 Love and Care
“It would be selfish of me to keep him alive.”
An examination of interspecies ethics in euthanasia drawing from fieldwork conducted at an emergency veterinary care facility.
Caroline DeVane
“Lu Xun and Animals: Notes on Modern Chinese Literature.”
A talk examining the roles of neglect and care for nonhumans in early 20th-century Chinese literature.
Chris Tong
“Eating Animals: A ‘Funny’ Kind of ‘Love’”
Ethics, animals, and the absent referent in contemporary animal studies
Robert C. Jones
10:00-11:30 Place
“Dam ‘Em All: Beaver Believers, Beaver Deceivers, and Other Watershed Entanglements.”
A joint talk investigating the ethics of inter-species collaboration that underwrites different ways of representing, perceiving, and managing beavers.
Daniel Sarna and Cleo Woelfle-Erskine
“Romantic Interspeciesism.”
Ted Geier
“My Dog is My Home: increasing awareness of inter-species homelessness in theory and practice.”
Christine Kim, Emma Newton, Samantha Feinerman
Clips from Home Work, a documentary directed by Irene Gustafson, featuring Posener and others involved in animal care and rescue.
Jill Posener, Director, Paw Fund
11:30-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:30 Life, Death, Justice, and Love
“Like a dog: animal law, human cruelty, and the limits of care”
Drawing from legal stories of canine profiling, an exploration of the ways that, where dogs are concerned, especially, ideas of personhood and the meaning of cruelty are sorely tested in ways that reveal how, in these narratives, a certain kind of dog and a certain kind of man are at risk, threatened by the peculiar vigilance that comes with socially sanctioned inequity.
Colin Dayan
Selections from Animacies.
Mel Chen
“Thinking with a Forest’s Thoughts.”
A meditation on the anthropology of life.
Eduardo Kohn
A meditation-style essay about the ways human/non-human relatings can teach inexperienced humans about shared conditions of mortality among the living.
Carla Freccero
2:45-3:45 Experiments in Love
“Horses, Expectations, and Changing the World” (video)
Stormy May
“I Always Dreamt of Giving Birth to a Cat.”
A creative work-in-progress, that draws from experience working with shelter cats, living with cats, loving cats, and pawing at the human/nonhuman boundary.
Nina Varsava
“Talking to Birds about Genocide: Symbol Ethics in the Poetry of Simon Ortiz.”
A performance exploring relationships among human poet, nonhuman collaborator, nonhuman-collaborator-as-symbol, and human reader using the writings of Acoma poet Simon Ortiz.
July Cole
“What Child Is This?”
An examination of different and funny loves through valuations and excoriations of connections between animals and children.
M. Mather George
3:45-4:00 Concluding Remarks


This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies • Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management
Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management