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Considering Animals: Contemporary Studies in Human-Animal Relations

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In 2005 a small group of academics gathered at the University of Western Australia for a modest yet highly significant interdisciplinary conference focused on scholarship in the emerging field of human-animal studies... Not only is Yvette Watt’s cover-art beautiful and thought provoking in and of itself, it also serves to remind readers that this book is dealing with a highly interdisciplinary field of academic inquiry... The remainder of the book consists of 14 papers by (often prominent) academics, all of who presented at the 2007 University of Tasmania “Considering Animals” conference... Bringing a coherent structure to a book that consists of papers by disparate scholars, each with their own assumptions concerning style, focus and emphasis is always a big challenge... In the case of a book concerned with human-animal studies the challenge is ten-fold greater because the field truly is profoundly interdisciplinary with the only unifying feature being an interest in the nonhuman animal... As a political scientist, when faced with a collection of human-animal studies papers I tend to head straight for anything authored by a fellow political scientist, or legal studies scholar... This essay compares the representation of possums in Australia and New Zealand in order to examine how New Zealand culture demonises possums, thereby overriding or ignoring any appeal their cuteness might have (p. 67)... Milton looks to cultural norms and the socialization process to understand the phenomenon and concludes that: Cultural priorities determine whether animals are in the wrong place (possums in New Zealand, possums in Australian roof space) or the right place (possum in the Australian bush) and shape their treatment by human society (p. 77)... While Milton’s essay is an example of an unexpected treasure that happens to speak to a recent research interest of mine, I nonetheless found many of the other essays engaging, instructive and thought provoking... Low’s essay is titled ‘When is Nature not?’ and I must admit that it was my favorite essay of the book... In a discussion about the complexities of climate change and the role many different types of life play in our evolving environment, I found observations such as: “If killer ants had risen to world domination they would not have set aside safe areas for other species, nor devised laws to protect them” (p. 203).

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Dust jacket of Considering Animals.
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animals-02-00377-f001: Dust jacket of Considering Animals.

Mentions: The first striking feature of the book Considering Animals (hardback version), is the artwork on the dust jacket (Figure 1). While some may not pay a book’s dust jacket much heed, I view Considering Animals stunning cover-art as quite a coup. In an age of publishing rationalisation and belt-tightening, I imagine that the editors must have fought hard for permission to display a colour image on the book’s cover; and for the inclusion of such a large number of pictures throughout the book. If this is the case, then their persistence paid off. Not only is Yvette Watt’s cover-art beautiful and thought provoking in and of itself, it also serves to remind readers that this book is dealing with a highly interdisciplinary field of academic inquiry. Human-animal studies is not only about words. It is about images, representation, art and interpretation. One of the most noteworthy features of the bi-annual Australian Animal Studies Group, and the Minding Animals, conferences is the extent to which visual and other creative artists contribute to the field. With the use of such powerful cover-art the editors give effect to the contribution made by creative arts to the emerging discipline of human-animal studies.


Considering Animals: Contemporary Studies in Human-Animal Relations
Dust jacket of Considering Animals.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4494291&req=5

animals-02-00377-f001: Dust jacket of Considering Animals.
Mentions: The first striking feature of the book Considering Animals (hardback version), is the artwork on the dust jacket (Figure 1). While some may not pay a book’s dust jacket much heed, I view Considering Animals stunning cover-art as quite a coup. In an age of publishing rationalisation and belt-tightening, I imagine that the editors must have fought hard for permission to display a colour image on the book’s cover; and for the inclusion of such a large number of pictures throughout the book. If this is the case, then their persistence paid off. Not only is Yvette Watt’s cover-art beautiful and thought provoking in and of itself, it also serves to remind readers that this book is dealing with a highly interdisciplinary field of academic inquiry. Human-animal studies is not only about words. It is about images, representation, art and interpretation. One of the most noteworthy features of the bi-annual Australian Animal Studies Group, and the Minding Animals, conferences is the extent to which visual and other creative artists contribute to the field. With the use of such powerful cover-art the editors give effect to the contribution made by creative arts to the emerging discipline of human-animal studies.

View Article: PubMed Central

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

In 2005 a small group of academics gathered at the University of Western Australia for a modest yet highly significant interdisciplinary conference focused on scholarship in the emerging field of human-animal studies... Not only is Yvette Watt’s cover-art beautiful and thought provoking in and of itself, it also serves to remind readers that this book is dealing with a highly interdisciplinary field of academic inquiry... The remainder of the book consists of 14 papers by (often prominent) academics, all of who presented at the 2007 University of Tasmania “Considering Animals” conference... Bringing a coherent structure to a book that consists of papers by disparate scholars, each with their own assumptions concerning style, focus and emphasis is always a big challenge... In the case of a book concerned with human-animal studies the challenge is ten-fold greater because the field truly is profoundly interdisciplinary with the only unifying feature being an interest in the nonhuman animal... As a political scientist, when faced with a collection of human-animal studies papers I tend to head straight for anything authored by a fellow political scientist, or legal studies scholar... This essay compares the representation of possums in Australia and New Zealand in order to examine how New Zealand culture demonises possums, thereby overriding or ignoring any appeal their cuteness might have (p. 67)... Milton looks to cultural norms and the socialization process to understand the phenomenon and concludes that: Cultural priorities determine whether animals are in the wrong place (possums in New Zealand, possums in Australian roof space) or the right place (possum in the Australian bush) and shape their treatment by human society (p. 77)... While Milton’s essay is an example of an unexpected treasure that happens to speak to a recent research interest of mine, I nonetheless found many of the other essays engaging, instructive and thought provoking... Low’s essay is titled ‘When is Nature not?’ and I must admit that it was my favorite essay of the book... In a discussion about the complexities of climate change and the role many different types of life play in our evolving environment, I found observations such as: “If killer ants had risen to world domination they would not have set aside safe areas for other species, nor devised laws to protect them” (p. 203).

No MeSH data available.