Aims and focus
This edited volume advances feminist approaches in critical animal studies (CAS), exploring the cultural and structural oppression of non-human animals and possibilities for changing their condition from critical feminist perspectives. The volume focuses on analysing human–animal relations in the context of food production, consumption and politics. Concurrently, the edited collection responds to calls to develop distinctly feminist approaches to animal studies (see Fraser and Taylor 2018; Gruen et al. 2012; Gibson 2019). These approaches are needed to enable enriched intersectional analyses in CAS and to take into account broader developments in feminist studies that could further contribute to CAS, meanwhile challenging the anthropocentric frameworks of (mainstream) feminism. This volume offers an opportunity to consider how contemporary feminisms can inform CAS in the context of food and eating, thus offering novel insights into the development of feminist animal studies.
Particularly ecofeminist scholarship (Adams 1990/2000; Cudworth 2005; Donovan 2006; Gaard 2002; Kemmerer 2011; Kheel 2008) has been central to the development of CAS and feminist animal studies, theorising links between sexism and speciesism and highlighting animal liberation as a feminist issue (see Twine 2010). While ecofeminist perspectives inspire the approaches in this book, the volume strives to complicate and challenge the narrow focus on gender/species intersections and theories of patriarchy that have been prevalent in much of ecofeminist research.
In recent years, feminist analyses of animal oppression and approaches in CAS have critically engaged, for example, with posthumanism (Giraud 2019), colonialism and racism (Deckha 2012, Narayanan 2017), and the politics of mourning (Stanescu 2012). In addition, feminist methodologies have been developed to study human–animal relations (Birke 2014; Gillespie 2019). Despite these developments, research that utilises contemporary feminist approaches in CAS remains scattered. We suggest that contemporary feminisms provide a range of approaches that could be relevant to the development of feminist animal studies. For example, feminist theorists have examined nonhuman animals, food and eating from poststructuralist, new materialist, postcolonial, queer and science studies perspectives (e.g. Despret 2016; Giffney and Hird 2008; Hamilton 2016; Haraway 2016; Mol 2012; Mortimer-Sandilands and Erickson 2010; Muñoz et al 2015; Probyn 2016; Steinbock et al 2017; Tsing 2015). However, this theorisation has rarely taken a critical focus on the oppression of nonhuman animals nor centred on the question of food from the perspective of CAS. Thus, its implications and possibilities for benefitting CAS inspired feminist animal studies remain nearly unexplored.
Vegan scholars of colour have argued for the centrality of race in conceptualising veganism and our relationship to other animals (Harper 2010, Ko and Ko 2017). Disability theorists have pointed to the ableist underpinnings of our relationship to other animals, current food systems and debates about veganism (e.g. Taylor 2017). Queer, trans and critical race studies scholars have, for example, theorised “species identity” as a performative product that distinguishes humans from other species socially and politically (DellArvesano 2010). They have shown how racialisation works as part of the processes where human/animal boundaries and who counts as “human” are sedimented (Muñoz et al 2015). These scholars have also analysed how normative categorisations related to gender, sexuality and family intersect with those of nonhuman animals (Weaver 2015, 2017), arguing that love for nonhuman animals and multispecies styles of homemaking can question heteronormative family constellations and home spaces (McKeithen 2017). As these examples suggest, contemporary feminist scholarship has a potential to offer a variety of concepts and viewpoints that could enrich what we call feminist animal studies. In this book, we propose that there is a need to expand and enrich feminist scholarship in CAS by introducing to the field a range of feminist approaches that have been thus far employed to a limited extent in critical explorations of human–animal relations, food and eating.
Scope and content
We invite chapters that explore species-based oppression as an intersectional issue in the context of food consumption, production and politics from various feminist perspectives, including queer, trans, postcolonial, indigenous and disability studies feminisms. We welcome theoretical and methodological contributions as well as chapters based on empirical research. Activists are also welcome to contribute to the volume. We invite all chapters to explore the approach of feminist animal studies and/or feminist animal activism from their own perspectives. Chapter proposals can address, for instance, the following topics:
- Feminist perspectives to the oppression of animals in agricultural industries
- Institutional change in food production and consumption: transitioning beyond the animal-reliant food system and institutionalisation of plant-based eating as an intersectional issue
- Feminist insights into climate change, nonhuman animals and food production
- Veganism and its links to gender, race, class and decolonisation
- Veganism and food justice
- Queer perspectives on food and eating
- Food and eating in relation to ethnic and gendered identities
- Problematising nationalism in relation to food and food politics
- The concept of companion species and its relation to food production, consumption and politics
- Feminist methodologies in studying human–animal relations in the context of food and farming
- Contributions by new materialist or other theoretical approaches that have so far been less influential in CAS
- Prospects of collaboration and mutual constitution of queer, trans, anti-racist, disability, postcolonial, indigenous, animal advocacy and environmental perspectives and activisms in relation to food and food cultures
- Conceptualising links (including possible tensions) between CAS, feminist animal studies and ecofeminism (or between particular concepts/approaches used in these fields of study)
This edited collection is intended for scholars, activists and students interested in feminist approaches to human–animal relations, food and eating. The interdisciplinary book is relevant for various disciplines in social sciences and humanities, including but not limited to gender studies, sociology, environmental humanities and environmental social sciences.
Abstracts, manuscript workshop and timeline
If you are interested in contributing to this book, please submit an abstract (maximum 250 words), along with a brief bio to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 27, 2020. Decisions of acceptance of the abstracts will be made by early May. Please note that the final acceptance of the manuscripts will be done only after peer-review.
First drafts (3000–5000 words) are due August 16. Contributors are invited to discuss the manuscripts in a chapter workshop, which is organised on September 3–4 at the University of Helsinki. Final versions (ca 7000 words) are due November 22, 2020. The book is offered for publication in the Critical Animal Studies series of Brill.
Editors and further information
Kadri Aavik, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki; Associate Professor of Gender Studies, Tallinn University, email@example.com
Kuura Irni, PhD, University Lecturer in Gender Studies, University of Helsinki, firstname.lastname@example.org
Milla-Maria Joki, MA, Doctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki, email@example.com
Saara Kupsala, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki, firstname.lastname@example.org
The edited collection is prepared in a research project Climate Sustainability in the Kitchen – Everyday Food Cultures in Transition (University of Helsinki, 2018–2021). The project is funded by Kone Foundation. For further information, please visit the website of the project: www.helsinki.fi/en/projects/climate-sustainability-in-the-kitchen
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Deckha, M. (2012). Toward a Postcolonial, Posthumanist Feminist Theory: Centralizing Race and Culture in Feminist Work on Nonhuman Animals. Hypatia, 27(3), 527-545.
DellArvesano, C. (2010). The Love Whose Name Cannot be Spoken: Queering the Human-Animal Bond. Journal for Critical Animal Studies, Volume VIII, Issue 1/2, 73-125.
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