CFP Representing Animals: Nonhuman ‘Others’ in Human Publics

CFP: AAA 2013 “Representing Animals: Nonhuman ‘Others’ in Human Publics” (deadline 31 March 2013)


For the 112th American Anthropological Association Meeting (, November 20-24, 2013 in Chicago, IL

2013 Annual Meeting

*Representing Animals: Nonhuman ‘Others’ in Human Publics*

From “Save the Whales” campaigns of the 1960s to the recent rise of the progressive Dutch political party PvdD (“Party for the Animals”), people have searched for ways to incorporate nonhuman animals into the human social order. These efforts expose, but are also limited by, the anthropocentric and humanist assumptions built into legal and political frameworks. Recent attempts by anthropologists to include nonhuman animals in theories of subjectivity have struggled against a similar set of assumptions. Often, anthropologists seek to extend anthropocentric frameworks rather than develop innovative theories that do more than transpose human models onto nonhuman animals. As Cary Wolfe (2009) suggests in his work on posthumanism, the social sciences must move beyond merely ‘de-centering’ the human to truly incorporate the animal within these investigations.

This panel analyzes innovative attempts (recent and historical) to represent animals in human social, legal, and political arenas.
Specifically, we ask: what strategies have been employed for representing animals? What attempts, if any, have been made to go beyond the metaphor of “voicing” or “speaking for” animals? And is it possible to understand any of these attempts from an anthropological perspective without first rethinking some of the underlying assumptions of the discipline?

Possible topics include:

Lawsuits on behalf of or involving animals
Attempts by activists to represent animals in political discourse
Wildlife management regimes
Animal rights and animal welfare movements and NGOs
Accounts of animals in mainstream media
Grassroots campaigns on behalf of specific animals
Biological models of animal behavior
Animals in film and other artistic mediums

We welcome participants from a diverse range of theoretical perspectives and disciplines


Les Beldo, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Comparative Human Development,
University of Chicago

Ashley Drake, Doctoral Student, Department of Comparative Human
Development, University of Chicago


Mary Weismantel, Professor, Northwestern University (Discussant)

Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words to
and by *March 31st.