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About This Book
Animal Studies is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field devoted to examining, understanding, and critically evaluating the complex relationships between humans and
other animals. Scholarship in Animal Studies draws on a variety of methodologies to explore these multi-faceted relationships in order to help us understand the ways in which other animals figure in our lives and we in theirs.Bringing together the work of a group of internationally distinguished scholars, the contributionin Critical Terms for Animal Studies offers distinct voices and diverse perspectives, exploring significant concepts and asking important questions. How do we take non-human animals seriously, not simply as metaphors for human endeavors, but as subjects themselves? What do we mean by anthropocentrism, captivity, empathy, sanctuary, and vulnerability, and what work do these and other critical terms do in Animal Studies?Sure to become an indispensable reference for the field, Critical Terms for Animal Studies not only provides a framework for thinking about animals as subjects of their own experiences, but also serves as a touchstone to help us think differently about our conceptions of what it means to be human, and the impact human activities have on the more than human world.
Frequently asked questions
The Absent Presence in Animal Abolition
Most members of our society have reached the conclusion that it was and is wrong to treat blacks “like animals.” But with regard to the animals themselves, most still feel that it is acceptable to treat them, to some degree or another, in exactly the same manner. . . . A line was arbitrarily drawn between white people and black people, a division which has since been rejected. But what of the line which has been drawn between human and non-human animals? (Spiegel 1988, 19–20)
[Slaves] have been treated by the law upon the same footing as in England, for example, the . . . animals are still. . . . [Some] have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may come one day to be recognized, that the number of legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. (Bentham  2007, 311n, quoted in Spiegel 1996, 32).
We now accept that every human being—whatever their level of intelligence, talent, beauty, etc.—holds a pre-legal moral right not to be treated as p...