Human culture values some nonhumans but not others, while human culture as a whole is engaged with an incredibly diverse range of living beings.
Animal studies is a growing interdisciplinary field that incorporates scholarship from public policy, sociology, religion, politics, philosophy, and many other fields. In essence, it seeks to understand how humans study and conceive of other-than-human animals, and how these conceptions have changed over time, across cultures, and among various scholarly modes of inquiry. This interdisciplinary introduction to the field boldly and creatively foregrounds the realities of nonhuman animals, as well as the imaginative and ethical faculties that humans must engage to consider our intersection with living beings outside of our species.
The field requires both learning and unlearning to develop forms of critical thinking that are scientifically informed and ethically sensitive. Animal Studies: An Introduction is a frank assessment of the ways human-centered approaches undermine the core values of the scientific tradition, robust education, and human compassion. Further, it argues that the breadth and depth of thinking and the humility needed to grasp the human-nonhuman intersection has the potential to expand the dualism that currently divides the sciences and humanities. As the first holistic survey of the field, Animal Studies: An Introduction is essential reading for any student of human-animal relationships, and for all people who care about the role nonhuman animals play in our society.
Chapter 1. Opening Doors: Four General Issues, Four Basic Tasks
Chapter 2. Through Open Doors: The Challenges of History, Culture and Education
Chapter 3. Science, Politics and Other Animals
Chapter 4. Early Twenty-First Century Animal Studies: Three Cutting Edges
Chapter 5. Animals in the Creative Arts
Chapter 6. Animals in Philosophy
Chapter 7. Comparative Studies: Legal Systems, Religions and Cultures
Chapter 8. Animals and Modern Social Realities
Chapter 9. The Special Roles of Anthropology, Archeology and Geography
Chapter 10. Telling the Larger Story
Chapter 11. Marginalized Humans and Other Animals
Chapter 12. The Question of Leadership: Getting Beyond Pioneers and Leaders to Individual Choices
Chapter 13. The Future of Animal Studies
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Paul Waldau is Associate Professor of Anthrozoology and Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation at Canisius College.