Animal Agency: Language, Politics, Culture

Animal Agency: Language, Politics, Culture

12-13 MAY 2016, University of Amsterdam

Call for papers

Deadline for 250-300 word proposals: 31st of January 

Recent work in political philosophy, animal studies, and ethology, asks us to view nonhuman animals as subjects with their own perspective on life. Other animals have their own languages and cultures, and co-shape practices that are often understood as exclusively human. They actively relate to others of their own and different species, and some argue they should be seen as political and social actors in mixed human-animal communities. Viewing other animals as subjects or political actors shifts research questions from how we, humans, should treat them, animals, to a different set of questions: What kind of relationships do they have with each other and humans? What kind of relationships may they desire to have with us? And how can we, collectively, find new ways of co-existing?

Challenging human exceptionalism, speciesism, and anthropocentrism in theory and practice asks not only that we investigate other animals’ capabilities, desires, and relations; we also need to rethink concepts such as language, politics, and culture, with them. This conference addresses the question of nonhuman animal agency from different theoretical directions, ranging from philosophy to ethology, aiming to critically reflect on the exclusion of other animals from thought and practice, and to explore alternatives.

This intensive two day seminar welcomes a broad range of responses from a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, sociology, geography, literary studies, art history, politics and critical studies. Companion animals are welcome to join, if so inclined. As are proposals to (non-intrusively) mediate the active presence of wildlife or liminal creatures.

Please submit a 250-300 word proposal by the 31st of January to:

For more information, please contact Eva Meijer or Clemens Driessen /

Info :


Le double sens de la communauté morale: La considérabilité morale et l’agentivité morale des autres animaux

Mon nouvel article « Le double sens de la communauté morale: La considérabilité morale et l’agentivité morale des autres animaux » vient d’être publié dans un dossier spécial sur “La justice animale : de l’éthique à la politique”  édité par Valéry Giroux et Jean-Philippe Royer pour Les ateliers de l’éthique/The Ethics Forum (vol 9, no 3, Automne 2014).

Ateliers ethique justice animale cover 3


double sens

Ateliers ethique justice animale coverRÉSUMÉ : Distinguant deux sens de « communauté morale », cet article soutient que certains animaux appartiennent à la communauté morale dans les deux sens : (1) ils sont des patients moraux dignes de considération morale directe et équivalente, mais également (2) des agents moraux au sens où ils sont capables de reconnaître, d’assumer et d’adresser aux autres des exigences minimales de bonne conduite et de savoir-vivre. Au moyen de la notion d’« attitudes réactives » développée par Peter F. Strawson, je soutiens que les animaux sociaux qui sont à la fois objets et sujets d’attitudes réactives forment des communautés morales au second sens, dans la mesure où ils se traitent mutuellement comme des individus ayant des obligations et tenus à des exigences de bonne volonté minimale dans leurs interactions interpersonnelles. Distinguant l’agentivité morale du raisonnement moral, je soutiens que la capacité de raisonner abstraitement sur les principes et les conséquences de nos actions nous imposent plus de responsabilités que n’en ont d’autres animaux, mais que cela ne fait pas nécessairement de nous des agents moraux plus compétents que d’autres animaux sociaux. Je termine en donnant un aperçu de quelques implications de ce changement de perspective en éthique animale.

This article draws the distinction between two meanings of “moral community” and maintains that certain animals belong to moral communities in both senses of the term: these animals are (1) moral patients worthy of direct and equivalent moral consideration, but also (2) moral agents in the sense that they are capable of recognizing and respecting minimal requirements of good conduct and manners as well as expecting and demanding the same from other members of their community. By way of the notion of “reactive attitudes” developed by Peter F. Strawson, I maintain that social animals who are at once objects and subjects of reactive attitudes constitute moral communities in the second sense of the term, in that they treat each other as individuals who have obligations and who are bound by the demand for a minimum of good-will in their interpersonal interactions. Distinguishing between moral agency and moral reasoning, I maintain that the capacity to reason abstractly about the principles and consequences of our actions gives us more responsibilities than other animals have, but that this does not necessarily make us more competent moral agents than other social animals. I conclude with an overview of some of the implications that this change in perspective has for animal ethics.

Voici les autres articles du dossier (Revue complète accessible en ligne)




Bailey, Christiane, « Le double sens de la communauté morale: La considérabilité morale et l’agentivité morale des autres animaux », Les Ateliers de l’éthique/The Ethics Forum, vol 9, no 3, Automne/Fall 2014.

Dossier spécial “La justice animale : de l’éthique à la politique” édité par Valéry Giroux et Jean-Philippe Royer.


CfHAS Conference: Animals: ethics, sustainability, sentience

Animals: ethics, sustainability, sentience

25 October, 2014: Ormskirk, Edge Hill University, UK

UK Centre for Human Animal Studies Conference

Centre for Human Animal Studies Conference and Launch

Keynote speakers:

Professor Elisa Aaltola (University of Eastern Finland; University of Turku)

Professor Jonathan Balcombe (Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy)

Dr Richard Twine (Institute of Education, University of London; CfHAS)

Full program:


The Centre for Human Animal Studies (CfHAS) will be holding its inaugural conference on Saturday 25th October 2014 at Edge Hill University. The conference will also mark the official launch of CfHAS, the first centre of its kind in the UK. Reflecting the expansion and intellectual vibrancy in the fields of animal studies, Critical Animal Studies, human-animal studies, and the science of animal emotion and cognition, this conference will have three broad but intersecting thematic strands: ethics, sustainability and sentience.

The aim of the conference and for CfHAS is to examine how rethinking our relations with animals can create meaningful social, policy, environmental, ethical and cultural change. To this end, we welcome papers from those working in the arts and humanities, social sciences and natural sciences that address one or more of the conference themes.

Contact: Claire Molloy at:

24th October 2014: pre-conference event
17.00 – 18.30
Launch of Growl with reading and Q&A with author, Kim Stallwood.

25th October 2014

10.00 – 10.45
Keynote: Professor Jonathan Balcombe (Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy)

10.45 – 12.15
Panel 1: Questions of agency

Vasile Stănescu: “Happy Meals” and the Myth of Consent
Jasmijn de Boo: ‘The moral implications of the #MonkeySelfie’
Andrew J P Flack: ‘Pacing Bears and Gorilla Friends: Accessing the “Agency” of Animals Past’
Richie Nimmo: ‘Apiculture in the Anthropocene: Between Posthumanism and Critical Animal Studies’

10.45 – 12.15
Panel 2: Cultural representations
Tobias Linné: ‘Gals, caring mothers: Gendered representations of cows in the dairy industry’ Amelie Björck: ‘The body-productivity-temporality complex in Swedish literature’
Matthew Cole & Kate Stewart: ‘’I need fish fingers and custard’: The irruption and suppression of vegan ethics in Doctor Who’
Ann-Sofie Lönngren: HumAnimal transformations in Nordic literature

12.15 – 13.15
Lunch & launch of Our Children and Other Animals: The Cultural Construction of Human

Keynote: Professor Elisa Aaltola (University of Eastern Finland;University of Turku)

Panel 3: Welfare, rights and protection

Jose Parry: ‘Animal protection and globalisation’
Katherine Wayne, Kurtis Boyer & Guy Scotton: Beyond complicity and denial: moral repair for humans and animals
Bel Deering: ‘“Cats know your feelings, but gulls just don’t care”: young people making sense of sentience and the human-animal relationship’
Corey Wrenn: ‘The medicalization of nonhuman animal rights: frame contestation and the exploitation of ability status’

14.00 – 15.30
Panel 4: Human-animal relationships

Ruth Butler: ‘Me, my dog and guide dogs: the impact of identity on guide dog owners successful negotiation of public space’
Tom Fletcher & Louise Platt: ‘Who’s walking who? The everyday dog walking experience’
Julie Walsh: ‘A canine call for harmony: The benefits of centralized policy for dogs’
Juliet MacDonald: ‘Running the maze: animal sentience as a variable in the psychology of early maze experiments’

Panel 5: Education and consciousness-raising

Karin Gunnarsson Dinker & Helena Pedersen: ‘Critical Animal Pedagogies: Re-learning our relations with Animal Others through
the unthinking of “the Human”’
Diahann Gallard: ‘Educational Anthrozoology in early childhood: An issue of ethics’
Susan Richardson: ‘Let my words be bright with animals: poetry as a tool for consciousness-raising and engendering behaviour change’

15.50– 17.30
Panel 6: Ethics

Patrizia Setola: ‘Marcheseni’s posthumaist philosophy’
Anette Kristensson: ‘The French philosopher Jacques Derrida’s neologism “carnophallogocentrism” could be a key concept in human-animal studies, animal studies and critical animal studies’
Justyna Wlodarczyk : ‘From submission to Self- Control: The ethical turn in dog training on the example of the sport of canine obedience
in Poland’
Rachel Jekanowski :‘Absent animals and digital oil: Animal capital, agency and ethic s in Fort McMoney’

17.30 – 18.15
Keynote: Dr Richard Twine

PhiloSophia – Neolithics to Neoliberal : Communities Human and Non-Human

Neolithic to Neoliberal: Communities Human and Non-Human

philoSOPHIA: A Feminist Society

PhiloSophia9th Annual Meeting
May 14-16, 2015
Emory University (Atlanta, GA)

Conference theme:

Neolithic to Neoliberal: Communities Human and Non-Human

Local Hosts: Noëlle McAfee| Erin Tarver| Cynthia Willett

Submit All Proposals to
by December 1, 2014

Keynote Speakers: Drucilla Cornell| Lisa Guenther & Chloë Taylor| Kelly Oliver

Plenary Session:
The Ethical Lives of Animals
(Co-sponsored by Center for Ethics, Emory)

Two workshops for discussion of participants’ and organizers’ papers, with limited participation:

Whose Community? Intersections of Gender, Race, Sex, and Nationality in Kant and German Idealism” (with a focus on social and political philosophy), led by Dilek Huseyinzadegan, Emory University

“Fugitive Femininities” (with a focus on concepts of race, femininity and sexuality within the context of narratives of capture and escape), led by Rizvana Bradley, Emory University

Up to two graduate student travel prizes will be awarded for the best graduate student papers

You may submit one of the following:
1. Individual abstracts of 500-700 words.
2. Panel proposals (500 words) with individual abstracts (500-700 words each).
3. Workshop paper abstracts (500-700 words). Please identify which workshop.
4. For those graduate students who wish to be considered for a travel award, a complete paper (3000 words). Please also declare your status
as a graduate student in the body of your email.

Abstracts, panel proposals, workshop paper abstracts, and papers should be submitted in an email attachment suitable for anonymous review. In the body of your email, please include your name, affiliation, contact information, and a brief bio, along with the title of your presentation.

Please submit all proposals electronically to


Download the CFP :

For more information, please visit:

CFP: SLOTH. A Journal of Emerging Voices in Human-Animal Studies

Sloth-  Animals and Society Journal









Sloth: A Journal of Emerging Voices in Human-Animal Studies

The ASI has created this journal for undergraduate students and recent graduate students to publish their papers, book and film reviews, and other work.

Sloth is an online bi-annual journal that publishes international, multi-disciplinary writing by undergraduate students and recent (within three years) graduates that deals with human/non-human animal relationships from the perspectives of the social sciences, the humanities, and the natural sciences. Sloth showcases the important and innovative contributions of undergraduates, giving those who are interested in human/non-human animal relationships a way to contribute to and engage with the field, as well as an opportunity to build their skills, knowledge, and resumes in anticipation of their graduate school careers.

Sloth is a refereed and selective journal. All articles submitted to Sloth pass through a four-stage peer review and revision process: (1) the article is initially reviewed by either the humanities or social science editor of Sloth; (2) if it is judged to be potentially publishable, then the article is sent to two reviewers; (3) if the outside reviews are positive, the student author will be asked to revise the article for publication; (4) the article will go through a final copy editing stage, if needed.

Sloth takes its name from arboreal animals native to Central and South America known for their relatively slow, careful movements. Because of their unhurried nature, sloths are often stereotyped as dull-witted, sluggish, and lazy; the animal was named, in fact, after one of the seven deadly sins. Yet the deliberate movements of sloths are a beneficial adaptation, making them very successful animals in the rainforest environment. By conserving energy, sloths have survived while other animals have gone extinct. A salute to these and other misunderstood creatures, Sloth encourages our contributors to think and write purposefully about the animals-individuals and species-with whom we share this planet and to engage critically and creatively with more-than-human ways of being in the world.

“Sloths have no right to be living on this earth, but they would be fitting inhabitants of Mars, whose year is over six hundred days long.” William Beebe (1926)

Kelly Enright, Assistant Professor of History, Director of Public History, Flagler College
Kara Kendall-Morwick, Assistant Professor of English, Washburn University

Advisory Council:
Margo DeMello, Human Animal Studies Program Director, Animals and Society Institute
Eric Greene, Founder, Family Spirals; Principal, EverGreene Consulting
Cheryl Joseph, Professor of Sociology, Notre Dame de Namur University
Christina Risley Curtiss, Associate Professor of Social Work, Arizona State University
Ken Shapiro, Founder and Editor, Society & Animals, President, Animals and Society Institute
Nik Taylor, Associate Professor in Sociology, Flinders University

Associate Editors:
Stephan Blatti, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Memphis
Alaistair Hunt, Assistant Professor of English, Portland State University
Eliza Ruiz Izaguirre, Veterinarian and Recent PhD, Waginingen University
Tom Tyler, Senior Lecturer, Philosophy and Culture Oxford Brookes University

Submission and Formatting Instructions:

When submitting an article to Sloth, please format it according to the following guidelines:

  1. PC-compatible files only (MS Word);
  2. Required length: 3-5,000 words;
  3. On a separate page/post, include your name and your postal and e-mail addresses, the college or university where you are a student and your year, the title of your essay, and a brief abstract of its contents (3-5 sentences);
  4. For the text itself: margins at 1″, double spaced, font size 12 pt. or smaller;
  5. Use Chicago Style (author-date) for all documentation;
  6. Include Notes and Works Cited at the end as regular text. In other words, please do NOT use the “automatic” footnote/endnote function on your word processor to generate these. They sometimes tend to disappear when traveling through cyberspace or when the document is converted.
  7. Include a one-page CV or resume with your submission.

Submissions should be sent to

Deadline for first submissions: October 2014
First issue to be available: Winter 2014

Questions can be directed to Kelly Enright or Kara Kendall-Morwick

Info :

Ethologie et Anthropologie: Des mondes sensibles aux mondes de la représentation

Appel à communication : Ethologie et anthropologie : des mondes sensibles aux mondes de la représentation

Appel à communication : Ethologie et anthropologie : des mondes sensibles aux mondes de la représentation

Appel à communication (english below)

Ethologie et anthropologie :

des mondes sensibles aux mondes de la représentation

Dans Mondes animaux, Monde humain, publié en 1934, Jakob von Uexküll réfute la proposition d’un animal réduit à un mécanisme, répondant à des stimuli par des réactions. En prenant l’exemple de la tique, il montre comment son monde perceptif traduit ce qui pour la tique fait sens dans ce qui l’entoure. Cette idée d’Umwelt, « monde environnant » ou « monde sensible », pourvoit chaque animal, les humains inclus, d’un « monde propre ». L’idée que tous les animaux sont dotés d’une sensibilité, qu’ils interprètent le monde et agissent en conséquence pose la question de l’héritage laissé par Von Uexküll tant pour l’éthologie que pour l’anthropologie. L’hypothèse d’une continuité du règne animal était déjà présente dans la première monographie animale digne de ce nom, celle de l’anthropologue Lewis Henry Morgan (1868). Dans son étude sur la vie et les œuvres du castor américain, il attribue un principe mental commun aux humains et non-humains. Ces prémisses forment donc matière à débat : quelle est la valeur heuristique des « mondes sensibles » ? Quelles démarches expérimentales ou empiriques permettent d’atteindre tant au “point de vue de l’animal” qu’au “point de vue de l’indigène” tel que défini par Malinowski ? Les « mondes » des animaux sociaux et solitaires diffèrent-ils sensiblement? Quels impératifs écologiques, phylogénétiques ou culturels déterminent la constitution et l’interprétation de ces mondes ?

Il s’agira de construire des ponts disciplinaires et de faire sauter différents verrous épistémologiques qui entravent la connaissance intime des sociétés animales. Un anthropomorphisme de questionnement, à visée comparative, permettrait en effet de rendre moins étanches les champs respectifs des sciences sociales et des sciences de l’animal lato sensu. Les propositions audacieuses, émanant de jeunes chercheurs, seront les bienvenues.

Une journée d’étude se tiendra à l’Université de Nanterre (Maison de l’Archéologie et de l’Ethnologie) le vendredi 10 octobre 2014 articulée autour de trois points :

– la question des mondes sensibles telle que posée par von Uexküll, en lien avec la théorie des affordances de Gibson (1979), c’est-à-dire la manière dont un être vivant constitue son propre milieu à travers sa perception ;

– la question des mondes de signification, traitée par Sebeok & Ramsay (1969) définissant la « zoosémiotique » comme production et interprétation du monde par les êtres sensibles, y compris dans sa dimension sociale ; la codification des émotions, et le décodage qui s’ensuit, dérive de cette question ;

– la question des mondes de la représentation, enfin, au cœur de la discipline anthropologique, c’est-à-dire le postulat que les mondes ne sont pas individuels, mais bel et bien partagés, grâce à des systèmes de normes, de valeurs, de classification. L’expression des émotions semble être centrale dans cette capacité de partage, aussi bien chez les non-humains que chez les humains (Halbwachs 1947). Il s’agira à la fois de décrire ce que nous savons des mondes sociaux des non-humains, et de dégager ce qui, dans l’enquête ethnographique, ne ressortit pas au langage.

Les propositions de communication (20 lignes) seront envoyées avant le 30 juin 2014

Renseignement et envoi des propositions :


Comité scientifique

Alain Boissy (INRA)

Eric Baratay (Université Lyon 2)

Philippe Erikson (Université de Nanterre)

Florent Kohler (Université de Tours)

Michel Kreutzer (Université de Nanterre)

Jean-Michel Le Bot (Université Rennes 2)

Comité d’organisation

Philippe Erikson (Université de Nanterre)

Florent Kohler (Université de Tours)

Gérard Leboucher (Université de Nanterre)


Call for papers

Ethology and Anthropology: From « Umwelt » to representational worlds

In A Stroll through the Worlds of Animals and Men, published in 1934, Jakob von Uexküll refuted the idea that animals could be reduced to a mere mechanism, responding to stimuli by reactions. Taking the tick for example, he showed how it perceives the world according to what makes sense in its surroundings. The theory of Umwelt, “surrounding world” or “sensitive world”, provides every animal, human beings included, with an own particular world. The idea that all animals are endowed with a sensibility, that they interpret their environment and act accordingly, raises the question of Von Uexküll’s legacy, both for Ethology and for Anthropology. The hypothesis of a continuity amidst the animal reign was already present in the first worthy animal monograph, that of the anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan (1868). In his study on the life and works of the American beaver, he considers both human and non-human beings are endowed with a common mental principle. Such premises raise a challenging debate: what is the heuristic value of the “sensitive worlds “? What experimental or empirical approaches allow us to delineate both the “animal perspective” and the “Native point of view” such as defined by Malinowski? Are the “worlds” of social and solitary animals significantly different? What ecological, phylogenetic or cultural imperatives determine the constitution and the interpretation of these worlds?

Our objective is to build disciplinary bridges and to by-pass various epistemological bolts which hinder the intimate knowledge of animal societies. A methodological anthropomorphism, with a comparative aim, would indeed allow us to fill in the gap between the respective fields of social sciences and animal sciences in the broader sense of the latter word. The workshop will welcome young researchers with groundbreaking proposals.

A workshop will be held at Nanterre University (Maison de l’Archéologie et de l’Ethnologie) on Friday, October 10th, 2014. Three topics should be considered :

– The question of sensitive worlds, such as defined by von Uexküll, in connection with Gibson’s theory of affordances (1979): that is the way a sensitive being constitutes its own environment through its perception;

– The question of meaning, or “zoosemiotics” (Sebeok and Ramsay, on 1969), as production and interpretation of the world by sensitive beings, including in its social dimension; the codification of the emotions, and the decoding which follows, derives from this question;

– Finally, the question of representational worlds, central issue for the field of anthropology, that is the postulate that worlds are not individual, but socially shared, thanks to systems of norms, values, classification. The expression of the emotions seems to be crucial in this capacity of sharing among non-human and human beings (Halbwachs, 1947). The issue here is to expose what we know about animal social worlds, as well as to shed light on what, in the ethnographical inquiry, is not a matter of language.

Proposals (1500 characters without spaces) should be sent before June, 30th, 2014

Information and abstracts proposals are to be sent to


Scientifique Commitee

Alain Boissy (INRA)

Eric Baratay (Lyon 2 University)

Philippe Erikson (Nanterre University)

Florent Kohler (Tours University)

Michel Kreutzer (Nanterre University)

Jean-Michel Le Bot (Rennes 2 University)

Organization Commitee

Philippe Erikson (Nanterre University)

Florent Kohler (Tours University)

Gérard Leboucher (Nanterre University)