A belated shout-out* to the nice people at Columbia University Press, who sent me copies of two of their latest animal-related titles: Animal Rights Without Liberation: Applied Ethics and Human Obligations by Alasdair Cochrane and Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies by Margo DeMello, both of which came out in August.
I’m especially excited about Animals and Society, which is an introductory human-animal studies reader – a textbook – the first of its kind! Totally up my alley; I can’t tell you how much I wish my college had offered a HAS course or two back when I attended in the late ’90s/early aughts. (A quick perusal of their website shows that they STILL don’t offer any such courses. Boo! Hiss! Boo!)
Here’s some info about the author and book, via Amazon:
Margo DeMello received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from U.C. Davis in 1995, and currently lectures at Central New Mexico Community College, teaching sociology, cultural studies, and anthropology.
Her books include Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community (2000), Stories Rabbits Tell: A Natural and Cultural History of a Misunderstood Creature (2003), Low-Carb Vegetarian (2004), Why Animals Matter: The Case for Animal Protection (2007), The Encyclopedia of Body Adornment (2007), Feet and Footwear (2009), Teaching the Animal: Human Animal Studies Across the Disciplines (2010), Faces Around the World (2012), Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies (2012) and Speaking for Animals: Animal Autobiographical Writing (2012).
She has recently had articles published in the Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships (Marc Bekoff, ed.), Encyclopedia of Animal Rights (Marc Bekoff, ed.), and A Cultural History of Animals: The Modern Age (Randy Malamud, ed.).
She is also the President and Executive Director of House Rabbit Society, and the Program Director for Human-Animal Studies at Animals & Society Institute.
She lives outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a husband, four Chihuahuas, two cats, a parrot, and over 50 house rabbits.
Considering that much of human society is structured through its interaction with non-human animals, and since human society relies heavily on the exploitation of animals to serve human needs, human–animal studies has become a rapidly expanding field of research, featuring a number of distinct positions, perspectives, and theories that require nuanced explanation and contextualization.
The first book to provide a full overview of human–animal studies, this volume focuses on the conceptual construction of animals in American culture and the way in which it reinforces and perpetuates hierarchical human relationships rooted in racism, sexism, and class privilege. Margo DeMello considers interactions between humans and animals within the family, the law, the religious and political system, and other major social institutions, and she unpacks the different identities humans fashion for themselves and for others through animals. Essays also cover speciesism and evolutionary continuities; the role and preservation of animals in the wild; the debate over zoos and the use of animals in sports; domestication; agricultural practices such as factory farming; vivisection; animal cruelty; animal activism; the representation of animals in literature and film; and animal ethics. Sidebars highlight contemporary controversies and issues, with recommendations for additional reading, educational films, and related websites. DeMello concludes with an analysis of major philosophical positions on human social policy and the future of human–animal relations.
As soon as my escapist fiction trend comes to an end, Animals and Society will be the first book I tackle.
If you’re interested in human-animal studies, you might also enjoy the ongoing anthrozoology reading list I compiled. Suggestions always welcome!
* “Belated” because I haven’t emptied out my po box since July! GET IT TOGETHER, GARBATO!