Cultures, Politics, and Economics of the Nonhuman

A Davis Humanities Institute Research Cluster

The 2017-18 cluster work is concerned both with international research fields variously called “Animal Studies” and with the broad set of practices and beliefs inflecting nonhuman relations across animal use contexts. The group includes members from nearly every College at Davis. Key aims include negotiating the deep animal care, concern, fascination, and experience motivating students’ major and career choices yet immediately forced into imperfect ‘compartments’ by disciplinary and professionalization demands.

The group’s Spring symposium will engage in current work by world renown scholars and dialogues on the cultural absences and enforced silences of the field, such as the notion that a problematic “Western” anthropocentrism is convincingly resolved via theoretical frames that have not included other ways of knowing such as indigenous and postcolonial critique. This also includes cultural attitudes toward animal use in food practices that are abusive by some American ethical and legal frameworks but part of the distinct cultural identities of multiple American communities.