Pedagogy and the “Animal Turn”: A Workshop

2 Nov 2012
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type

This workshop takes up the recent “animal turn” in light of pedagogy, asking: what does it mean to teach about and with animals now? While earlier work in the humanities and sciences tended to focus, for example, on whether animals suffer, on the nature and ethical implications of speciesism, what it means to consume an animal, and how animals relate to one another, recent scholarship has augmented these conversations. Animal cultures, human-animal relationships, and human exceptionalism are just some of the more recent focal points scholars have introduced. Some questions have become more prominent, such as, for example how do animals thrive? Or, in what ways do human/animal relationships inform not just species-specific divides, but also other categories such as breed, race, ability, gender, and sexuality? And how are the sciences that figure in human/animal relationships, such as applied animal behavior, caught up in these categories? While this is a deliberately broad description, it speaks to a recent and notable surge in the field of animal studies indebted to new scholarship highlighting ties among animal studies, science and technology studies, feminist studies, disability studies, postcolonial studies, queer and transgender theories, indigenous studies, and critical race scholarship. Taking this recent work as a starting point, this workshop aims to facilitate discussion among interested scholars about pedagogy after the “animal turn.”

Writings such as Mel Chen’s Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect, Donna Haraway’s When Species Meet, and Timothy Pachirat’s Every Twelve Seconds number among the more recent book-length works taking up human/animal relationships in the humanities and social sciences. Work interrogating animals has engendered new subfields, such as “multispecies ethnography,” while attention to the canine genome, for example, has been tied to inquiries regarding animal behavior. Special issues of American Quarterly, Social Text, Hypatia, and Cultural Anthropology have also initiated lively and provocative discussions about, for example, the relationship between species and race, the role of feminism in human/animal relationships, and the figure of the animal in imperialist imaginaries. In this workshop, we will construct a shared archive of these and related texts, websites, films, and syllabi that take up the “animal turn” in ways that we find useful for teaching. While focused on syllabus-building and related concerns (activities, lesson plans, etc.), this workshop also aims to continue the lively and interdisciplinary dialogue engendered by earlier events at the UC Berkeley STSC, such as the 2011 symposium “Why the Animal?” and the 2012 conference, “One Struggle: Intersectionality and Animal Studies.”

Workshop space is limited. Please RSVP to

Questions about the workshop should also be sent to

Image: Bears, by A. Panzeri e A. Lecis (2005)
This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies

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