Professor Erica Fudge, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (UK)
Erica’s interdisciplinary research locates in the fields of Animal Studies and Renaissance Studies. She has written on issues as varied as meat eating, dreams, children, laughter, reason, bladder-control and animal faces. In addition, she has done work on contemporary culture, and have looked at a range of areas where humans interact with animals, including pet ownership, experimentation, the wearing of fur, anthropomorphic children’s literature and vegetarianism.
Erica is also the director of the British Animal Studies Network (BASN) bringing together those with an interest in human-animal relations from a range of backgrounds from both within and beyond academia. Details of the network can be found at http://www.britishanimalstudiesnetwork.org.uk/
KEYNOTE: Conversations with Cows in Early Modern England
This paper attends to a historical moment that addresses key concerns of this conference (as outlined in the cfp): that ‘Humans and other animals share spaces and create communities together. They touch each other in various symbolic and material ways, constantly crossing and redrawing communal, ethical and very practical boundaries.’ Using current work from animal studies alongside early modern materials, including agricultural manuals, ballads and plays, the paper will look at the ways in which humans and cows lived together and laboured alongside each other in the yards of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Focusing in particular on questions of individualisation, empathy, and communication, it will trace the paradoxical nature of the common worlds of people and cows.
Associate Professor Jamie Lorimer, University of Oxford (UK)
Jamie is an environmental geographer whose research explores popular understandings of Nature and the politics of environmental governance. His research projects span scales from elephants to microbes and include thematic interests in volunteering, rewilding, and the Anthropo-scene. His current focus is on the microbiome. This includes the geographies of the human management of hookworm, which are characterised by concurrent initiatives to deworm and reworm the world. A second interest is in participatory methods for engaging people with the microbes that live in their kitchens (www.goodgerms.org). Jamie runs the Oxford Interdisciplinary Microbiome Project (www.oximp.org). He is the author of Wildlife in the Anthropocene: Conservation after Nature.
KEYNOTE: The Probiotic Turn
A probiotic turn is underway in the management of life in parts of the late modern, techno-scientific world (Lorimer 2017). Growing anxieties about the excesses of antibiotic approaches have driven novel experiments in rewilding; the return of absent ecological processes in the hope of redressing pathologies associated with various form of ecological dysbiosis. Such interventions span domains and cross scales. Examples would include enthusiasms for the reintroduction of keystone species in wildlife conservation, naturalistic modes of flood management, or ‘post-Pasteurian’ (Paxson 2008) interventions to manage the human microbiome. This paper introduces the probiotic turn as an example of a novel form of environmental biopower (Massumi 2009), concerned with modulating the intensities of socio-ecological systems to tip dysfunctional ecologies back into desired stable states. It aims to situate this turn in its spatial context, mapping both the partial reach and necessary exclusions of this new mode of managing life in the Anthropocene.
Lorimer, J. 2017. Probiotic Environmentalities: Rewilding with Wolves and Worms. Theory, Culture & Society 34 (4):27-48.
Massumi, B. 2009. National Enterprise Emergency: Steps Toward an Ecology of Powers. Theory, Culture & Society 26 (6):153-185.
Paxson, H. 2008. Post-pasteurian cultures: The microbiopolitics of raw-milk cheese in the United States. Cultural Anthropology 23 (1):15-47.
Helena Telkänranta, University of Bristol (UK) and University of Helsinki (FIN)
Helena is a zoologist specializing in animal behaviour and cognition. She is currently developing new methods of using infrared thermography to measure animal emotions. Her previous research projects have involved other methods for measuring perception and welfare in animals, as well as testing cost-effective options for reducing welfare problems on pig farms.
In addition to academic research, Helena’s work consists of providing lay audiences with up-to-date knowledge on the science of animal behaviour and cognition. Most of this work has realised in the Finnish language so far, in the form of books, magazine articles and public lectures.
The Finnish-language body of work by Helena has been recognized with awards by the Finnish Association of Science Editors and Journalists, the Finnish Federation for the Animal Welfare Associations and the Finnish Association of Non-fiction Writers. The book Millaista on olla eläin? (“What’s it like to be an animal?”), an in-depth look into animal cognition for lay readers, has also won a State Award for Public Information, awarded by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland, as well as the Lauri Jäntti award for outstanding non-fiction literature.
More info: http://www.telkanranta.com/index_engl.html
KEYNOTE: What Do Animals Feel? An Overview on the Current Knowledge from Natural Sciences
The science of animal emotions has advanced rapidly during the past couple of decades. It has started to shed light on questions that once were thought forever beyond the realm of natural sciences, such as whether animals have conscious experiences. In this talk, I will present an overview on the current scientific knowledge on animal emotions, with additional information from the related, interacting fields of animal intelligence and sensory perception.
Basic emotions, such as pleasure or fear, have been found widespread among animals. They have mostly been studied in mammals and birds, but evidence of them has also been found in reptiles, fish and even in some invertebrates such as octopi. A smaller group of species – animals with advanced cognitive complexity, from rats to elephants – have been found to also experience more complex emotions, such as empathy, which requires an ability to take the viewpoint of another individual. Meanwhile, the intensity of basic emotions does not appear to depend on the level of intelligence. This is in line with the current knowledge on how conscious basic emotions arise from different brain processes as compared to intelligent thinking.
There still is a range of open questions to address, such as which are the minimum brain structures required for experiencing anything at all: how simple does an animal need to be so that we can be certain it is uncapable of pain or pleasure? The science continues to develop further, providing an increasingly useful tool for us to better understand how the consequences of our actions are experienced by other animals in this shared world.