Thinking with Animals

Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre
Wednesday 26 June 2019 (10:00-16:30)

If you would like to find out more about this workshop please email


WORKSHOP LEADER(S) - Dr Megan Cavell, School of EDACS (English Literature); Dr Julia Myatt, Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences/Biosciences; and  Dr Kate Nichols, LCAHM, (Art History)

The past decade has seen the field of interdisciplinary animal studies explode into the academic sphere, with an international rise in new journals, book series and even degree courses devoted to thinking critically about the human/animal binary. This ‘animal turn’ is not a trend, but a direct response to recent breakthroughs in animal cognition and behaviour. Our increased understanding of animals also comes at a time when we are now in a race to preserve the ever-increasing numbers of threatened species and their habitats. With every discovery, it becomes more urgent that we reassess the longstanding relationships between humans and other species in the world, and that is the work the interdisciplinary field of animal studies seeks to undertake.

UoB staff whose research falls within the scope of animal studies, has academics working across five Schools within the Colleges of Arts and Law and Life and Environmental Sciences. The popularity of interdisciplinary and theoretical approaches to human/animal relations will grow, as humanity grapples with global challenges such as climate change, deforestation and species loss. This workshop seeks to build on and explore collaborations and future directions in this field to deliver cutting-edge research which has an impact on policy in this new era of posthumanism.

Research questions we are particularly interested in include:

  • How can our work enrich the lives of animals around us, and how do these animals enrich human lives?
  • How can researchers of animal ethics, cultural histories, philosophy, politics, etc. work productively with other academics whose work involves living animal subjects?

Image Credits
: Detail of Karel Dujardin, A Shepherdess Speaking to her Dog (1653), © The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham