Annotated bibliography

Calgary: City of Animals

2016 Annual Community Forum

This annotated bibliography provides a selection of academic resources which shaped this year’s community seminar themed “Calgary: City of Animals”.

The complete annotated bibliography of this project can be accessed through this link to Mendeley. This resource will be updated regularly leading to the seminar and will be available afterwards for references.

The following annotated bibliography included 6-7 resources in the following four categories:

Human-Animal Relationship

Agamben, G. (2004). The Open: Man and Animal. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

The end of human history is an event that has been foreseen or announced by both messianics and dialecticians. But who is the protagonist of that history that is coming—or has come—to a close? What is man? How did he come on the scene? And how has he maintained his privileged place as the master of, or first among, the animals?

In The Open, contemporary Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben considers the ways in which the "human" has been thought of as either a distinct and superior type of animal, or a kind of being that is essentially different from animal altogether. In an argument that ranges from ancient Greek, Christian, and Jewish texts to twentieth-century thinkers such as Heidegger, Benjamin, and Kojève, Agamben examines the ways in which the distinction between man and animal has been manufactured by the logical presuppositions of Western thought, and he investigates the profound implications that the man/animal distinction has had for disciplines as seemingly disparate as philosophy, law, anthropology, medicine, and politics.

DeMello, M. (2012). Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-animal Studies. New York: Columbia University Press.

Considering that much of human society is structured through its interaction with non-human animals, and since human society relies heavily on the exploitation of animals to serve human needs, human--animal studies has become a rapidly expanding field of research, featuring a number of distinct positions, perspectives, and theories that require nuanced explanation and contextualization.The first book to provide a full overview of human--animal studies, this volume focuses on the conceptual construction of animals in American culture and the way in which it reinforces and perpetuates hierarchical human relationships rooted in racism, sexism, and class privilege. Margo DeMello considers interactions between humans and animals within the family, the law, the religious and political system, and other major social institutions, and she unpacks the different identities humans fashion for themselves and for others through animals. Essays also cover speciesism and evolutionary continuities; the role and preservation of animals in the wild; the debate over zoos and the use of animals in sports; domestication; agricultural practices such as factory farming; vivisection; animal cruelty; animal activism; the representation of animals in literature and film; and animal ethics. Sidebars highlight contemporary controversies and issues, with recommendations for additional reading, educational films, and related websites. DeMello concludes with an analysis of major philosophical positions on human social policy and the future of human--animal relations.

Kalof, L., & Fitzgerald, A. (2007). The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings. Oxford: Berg Publishers.

The study of animals - and the relationship between humans and other animals - is now one of the most fiercely debated topics in contemporary science and culture. Animals have a long history in human society, providing food, labour, sport and companionship as well as becoming objects for exhibit. More contemporary uses extend to animals as therapy and in scientific testing. As natural habitats continue to be destroyed, the rights of animals to co-exist on the planet - and their symbolic power as a connection between humans and the natural world - are ever more hotly contested. The Animals Reader brings together the key classic and contemporary writings from Philosophy, Ethics, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Environmental Studies, History, Law and Science. As the first book of its kind, The Animals Reader provides a framework for understanding the current state of the multidisciplinary field of animal studies. This anthology will be invaluable for students across the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as for general readers.

Nance, S. (2015). The Historical Animal. New York: Syracuse University Press.

The conventional history of animals could be more accurately described as the history of human ideas about animals. Only in the last few decades have scholars from a wide variety of disciplines attempted to document the lives of historical animals in ways that recognize their agency as sentient beings with complex intelligence. This collection advances the field further, inviting us to examine our recorded history through an animal-centric lens to discover how animals have altered the course of our collective past. The seventeen scholars gathered here present case studies from the Pacific Ocean, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, involving species ranging from gorillas and horses to salamanders and orcas. Together they seek out new methodologies, questions, and stories that challenge accepted historical assumptions and structures. Drawing upon environmental, social, and political history, the contributors employ research from such wide-ranging fields as philosophy and veterinary medicine, embracing a radical interdisciplinarity that is crucial to understanding our nonhuman past. Grounded in the knowledge that there has never been a purely human time in world history, this collection asks and answers an incredibly urgent question for historians and others interested in the nonhuman past: in an age of mass extinctions, mass animal captivity, and climate change, when we know much of what animals have done in the past, which of our activities will we want to change in the future?

Shukin, N. (2009). Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

The juxtaposition of biopolitical critique and animal studies—two subjects seldom theorized together—signals the double-edged intervention of Animal Capital. Nicole Shukin pursues a resolutely materialist engagement with the “question of the animal,” challenging the philosophical idealism that has dogged the question by tracing how the politics of capital and of animal life impinge on one another in market cultures of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Shukin argues that an analysis of capital’s incarnations in animal figures and flesh is pivotal to extending the examination of biopower beyond its effects on humans. “Rendering” refers simultaneously to cultural technologies and economies of mimesis and to the carnal business of boiling down and recycling animal remains. Rendering’s accommodation of these discrepant logics, she contends, suggests a rubric for the critical task of tracking the biopolitical conditions and contradictions of animal capital across the spaces of culture and economy. From the animal capital of abattoirs and automobiles, films and mobile phones, to pandemic fear of species-leaping diseases such as avian influenza and mad cow, Shukin makes startling linkages between visceral and virtual currencies in animal life, illuminating entanglements of species, race, and labor in the conditions of capitalism. In reckoning with the violent histories and intensifying contradictions of animal rendering, Animal Capital raises provocative and pressing questions about the cultural politics of nature.

Taylor, N., & Twine, R. (2014). The rise of critical animal studies: From the margins to the centre. London: Routledge.

As the scholarly and interdisciplinary study of human/animal relations becomes crucial to the urgent questions of our time, notably in relation to environmental crisis, this collection explores the inner tensions within the relatively new and broad field of animal studies. This provides a platform for the latest critical thinking on the condition and experience of animals. The volume is structured around four sections: #engaging theory #doing critical animal studies #critical animal studies and anti-capitalism #contesting the human, liberating the animal: veganism and activism. The Rise of Critical Animal Studies demonstrates the centrality of the contribution of critical animal studies to vitally important contemporary debates and considers future directions for the field. This edited collection will be useful for students and scholars of sociology, gender studies, psychology, geography, and social work.


Animals in Environmental History

Bantig, P. (2014). Colony Collapse Disorder: Settler Dreams, the Climate Crisis, and Canadian Literary EcologiesStudies in Canadian Literature 39 (1), p. 5-20. (Click here

The essays collected herein (Issue 1) showcase some of the best work being done in ecocriticism in Canada today. In juxtaposing and exploring the realistic wild animal story in relation to post-apocalyptic and post-human narratives and Inuit seal stories, in illuminating how a deeply lived connection with the land is no guarantee of equal sensitivity to the coercions of gender- and hetero-normativity, in valorizing a compost aesthetics and the figures of the feral and the “misfit,” and in demonstrating how human-animal relationships are not fixed but aspects of relational and fiscal economies, the work gathered here and the literary texts at their respective cores both clarify and blur some of the categories which form the supportive armature of settler culture. I am grateful to the contributors to this issue for allowing us to engage so thoroughly with their work and to the journal’s editors, Herb Wyile and Cynthia Sugars, for inviting me to guest-edit the issue and to have the pleasure of collaborating with them.

Colpitts, G. (2010). Game in the Garden: A Human History of Wildlife in Western Canada to 1940. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Frontier and pioneer societies provide numerous unexplored avenues of social history. Game in the Garden identifies the imaginative use of wild animals in early western society. In what is now western Canada, humans have long used wildlife in order to survive their surroundings, better understand their natural world, and form aspects of their identity. The shared use of wild animals has helped to determine social relations between Native peoples and newcomers. In later settlement periods, controversy about subsistence hunting and campaigns of local conservation associations drew lines between groups in communities, particularly Native peoples, immigrants, farmers, and urban dwellers. In addition to examining grassroots conservation activities, Colpitts identifies early slaughter rituals, iconographic traditions, and subsistence strategies that endured well into the interwar years in the twentieth century. Drawing primarily on local and provincial archival sources, he analyzes popular meanings and booster messages discernible in taxidermy work, city nature museums, and promotional photography. Environmental historians, Native studies specialists, history students, conservationists, nature enthusiasts, and general readers alike will find fascinating how western attitudes to wild animals changed according to subsistence and economic needs and how wildlife helped to determine the social relations among people in western Canada.

Grier, K (2006). Pets in America: A History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Entertaining and informative, Pets in America is a portrait of Americans' relationships with the cats, dogs, birds, fishes, rodents, and other animals we call our own. More than 60 percent of U.S. households have pets, and America grows more pet-friendly every day. But as Katherine C. Grier demonstrates, the ways we talk about and treat our pets--as companions, as children, and as objects of beauty, status, or pleasure--have their origins long ago. 

Grier begins with a natural history of animals as pets, then discusses the changing role of pets in family life, new standards of animal welfare, the problems presented by borderline cases such as livestock pets, and the marketing of both animals and pet products. She focuses particularly on the period between 1840 and 1940, when the emotional, behavioral, and commercial characteristics of contemporary pet keeping were established. The story is filled with the warmth and humor of anecdotes from period diaries, letters, catalogs, and newspapers.

Filled with illustrations reflecting the whimsy, the devotion, and the commerce that have shaped centuries of American pet keeping, Pets in America ultimately shows how the history of pets has evolved alongside changing ideas about human nature, child development, and community life. 

Kheraj, S. (2012). Demonstration Wildlife: Negotiating the Animal Landscape of Vancouver’s Stanley Park, 1888-1996. Environment and History, 18 (4), 497-527.

Since 1931, Canada has been a majority urban society with most of its population concentrated in a handful of southern cities. Given the urban character of Canadian society in the twentieth century, histories of large city parks, such as Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC, illustrate the changing relationship between people and wild animals in Canada because they represent local, regular encounters with a diverse range of animal species. The histories of local and regional parks in Canada reveal that human relations with wildlife were not limited to occasional, and sometimes fleeting, encounters in large national parks, distant from major population centres. As this article argues, the everyday interactions between people and animals within shared urban environments also influenced Canadian perceptions of wildlife and the management of park animals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Park animal management policies and attitudes toward the place of animals in parks were not always informed by imagined, idealised concepts about wildlife from a distance but were shaped and changed over time according to local concerns and regular interactions between people and animals living in a shared environment. Over the course of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, human-animal relations on the Stanley Park peninsula shifted according to prevailing notions of 'improvement' and landscape modification current in the North American parks and later environmental movements. Prior to 1945, Park Board animal management policies embodied the perception that human modification of the animal composition of the park was a necessary improvement for the pleasure of tourists and other park visitors. After 1945, the Park Board moved away from such interventionist policies and began instead to foster habitat to establish sanctuaries for wildlife observation.

McNeur, C. (2014). Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

With pigs roaming the streets and cows foraging in the Battery, antebellum Manhattan would have been unrecognizable to inhabitants of today’s sprawling metropolis. Fruits and vegetables came from small market gardens in the city, and manure piled high on streets and docks was gold to nearby farmers. But as Catherine McNeur reveals in this environmental history of Gotham, a battle to control the boundaries between city and country was already being waged, and the winners would take dramatic steps to outlaw New York’s wild side.

Between 1815 and 1865, as city blocks encroached on farmland and undeveloped space to accommodate an exploding population, prosperous New Yorkers and their poorer neighbors developed very different ideas about what the city environment should contain. With Manhattan’s image, health, and property values on their minds, the upper classes fought to eliminate urban agriculture and livestock, upgrade sanitation, build new neighborhoods, demolish shantytowns, create parks, and generally improve the sights and smells of city living. Poor New Yorkers, especially immigrants, resisted many of these changes, which threatened their way of life.

By the time the Civil War erupted, bourgeois reform appeared to be succeeding. City government promised to regulate what seemed most ungovernable about urban habitation: the scourge of epidemics and fires, unending filth, and deepening poverty. Yet in privileging the priorities of well-heeled New Yorkers, Manhattan was tamed at the cost of amplifying environmental and economic disparities, as the Draft Riots of 1863 would soon demonstrate.

Sandberg L. A. et al (Eds.) (2013). Urban explorations: Environmental histories of the Toronto region. Hamilton: L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University.

This edited volume of sixteen chapters seeks to trace how the economic and demographic development of the Toronto region has remade the environment, and how that in turn has affected the peoples and societies living here. The book chronicles not just how people and nature related in the past, but also how that has shaped the present, and what that suggests for the future. But more than this, the book's existence signals that Canadian environmental history, often preoccupied by the Canada of the north and the Canada of the wild, is giving increasing consideration to the Canada of cities, the places where the majority of Canadians actually live." - Alan MacEachern Inspired by the field trips organized for the American Society for Environmental History's 2013 conference in Toronto, Urban Explorations invites readers to look for nature in the built environment, and the built environment in the natural world. Maps, images and essays guide readers through sixteen different journeys in the region, from downtown Toronto to the Oak Ridges Moraine, from the Leslie Street Spit to Niagara Falls, from the sacred Indigenous mounds of High Park to the queer groves of David A. Balfour Park, from the engineering achievements of R.C. Harris to the imagined landscapes of Lawren Harris.


Animals in the Urban Context

Alexander, S., & Quinn, M. (2012). Portrayal of Interactions Between Humans and Coyotes (Canis latrans): Content Analysis of Canadian Print Media (1998-2010). Cities and the Environment (CATE).

Print media is one form of public discourse that provides a means to examine human-coyote interactions. We conducted a content analysis of 453 articles addressing coyote events reported in the Canadian print media between 1998 and 2010. We found 119 articles about human-coyote interactions, of which 32 involved a report of coyote biting (26) or attempting to bite (6) a person. 108 articles were about coyote-dogs and 32 about coyotes-cat interactions. Remaining articles were on topics unrelated to interactions (e.g. culls). Basing our analysis in grounded theory, we identified important descriptive and emotional themes surrounding these events. The most common words describing coyotes were: brazen, wiley, mangy, nuisance, wild and vicious. Interactions were described as attacks in 185 articles, while only 32 “attacks” were identified. Coyotes were portrayed as not natural in cities, as an invasive species, and more recently using language depicting criminal behaviour. Descriptions of coyotes killing or attacking people were inflammatory (e.g. savaged, ripped juts open), whereas descriptions of people killing coyotes were not (e.g. euthanized). Five emotional responses emerged describing humans involved in coyote interactions. Of these, statements of fear were most prevalent and yielded the richest understanding of perceptions about the risk of coyote-human interactions, including: fear for children’s safety (73), fear for disease (44), fear for pet safety (43), and fear for self or others safety (35). Traumatic response was reported in 28 articles, while sadness and grief were described in 17. Two other themes were: 1) animal welfare concerns, 2) frustration due to lack of agency response. Popular media plays a critical role in shaping public understanding and can influence people’s emotional experiences, perceptions and management consequences. We highlight that coyotes are prejudiced (and stereotyped) based on the isolated and sensationalized incidents. Coyotes in particular elicit a wide range of emotional responses in people, and there is often a wide gap between perception and reality of risk when understanding whether it is possible for humans and coyotes to co-exist. Hence, there is a strong need for media literacy about the unintended or intended maligning of coyotes to the general public, as the consequence can be social amplification of risk and the unwarranted persecution of coyotes.

Atkins, P. (2012). Animal Cities: Beastly Urban Histories. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing.

Animal Cities builds upon a recent surge of interest about animals in the urban context. Considering animals in urban settings is now a firmly established area of study and this book presents a number of valuable case studies that illustrate some of the perspectives that may be adopted. Having an ‘urban history’ flavour, the book follows a fourfold agenda. First, the opening chapters look at working and productive animals that lived and died in nineteenth-century cities such as London, Edinburgh and Paris. The argument here is that their presence yields insights into evolving understandings of the category ‘urban’ and what made a good city. Second, there is a consideration of nineteenth-century animal spectacles, which influenced contemporary interpretations of the urban experience. Third, the theme of contested animal spaces in the city is explored further with regard to backyard chickens in suburban Australia. Finally, there is discussion of the problem of the public companion animal and its role in changing attitudes to public space, illustrated with a chapter on dog-walking in Victorian and Edwardian London. Animal Cities makes a significant contribution to animal studies and is of interest to historical geographers, urban, cultural, social and economic historians and historians of policy and planning.

Benson, E. (2013). The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States. Journal of American History 100 (3), 691–710.

The article discusses the introduction of gray squirrels into American cities beginning in the mid-nineteenth century through to the early-twentieth century. Topics considered include human-animal relationships, anthropomorphism, popular attitudes towards squirrels as neighborhood pets or pests, and public opinions regarding cruelty to park squirrels.

One of my goals in the article was to show that the presence of these ubiquitous and highly visible mammals in North American cities was the result of a very intentional, sustained, and widespread project of late-nineteenth-century urban reformers and nature enthusiasts. It was not an accidental or “natural” process in any conventional sense of the term, although it was also not purely a human project. Squirrels too were crucial participants.

Many of the urban residents who released, fed, sheltered, and protected gray squirrels thought that by doing so they were beautifying the city and elevating the moral character of the community (as well as entertaining themselves). Even though the ideas about charity and community that they held have since largely been discarded in favor of an ecological perspective, the squirrels remain, in part due to their remarkable capacity to adapt to a changing urban environment.

Biehler, D. (2013). Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

From tenements to alleyways to latrines, twentieth-century American cities created spaces where pests flourished and people struggled for healthy living conditions. In Pests in the City, Dawn Day Biehler argues that the urban ecologies that supported pests were shaped not only by the physical features of cities but also by social inequalities, housing policies, and ideas about domestic space.

Community activists and social reformers strived to control pests in cities such as Washington, DC, Chicago, Baltimore, New York, and Milwaukee, but such efforts fell short when authorities blamed families and neighborhood culture for infestations rather than attacking racial segregation or urban disinvestment. Pest-control campaigns tended to target public or private spaces, but pests and pesticides moved readily across the porous boundaries between homes and neighborhoods.

This story of flies, bedbugs, cockroaches, and rats reveals that such creatures thrived on lax code enforcement and the marginalization of the poor, immigrants, and people of color. As Biehler shows, urban pests have remained a persistent problem at the intersection of public health, politics, and environmental justice, even amid promises of modernity and sustainability in American cities.

Brandow, M (2008). New York's Poop Scoop Law: Dogs, the Dirt, and Due Process. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press.

It's hard to imagine eight million people trying to avoid dog refuse on the streets of New York City on a daily basis. Likewise, it's harder not to imagine New Yorkers from all walks of life picking up after their canines. Using plastic bags or trendy, mechanized devices, pet owners have become a unified force in cleaning up the sidewalks of the Big Apple. Not long ago, picking up after your Poodle, Puli, or Pekinese was not a basic civic duty. Initially, many politicians thought the idea was absurd. Animal rights activists were unanimously opposed. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals condemned the proposed legislation because it would impose undue hardship on dog owners. New York's Poop Scoop Law chronicles the integration of dog owners, a much-maligned subculture, into mainstream society by tracing the history of the legislation that the York's City Council shelved twice before, then Mayor Ed Koch was forced to go to the state level for support. Brandow shows how a combination of science and politics, fact and fear, altruism and self-interest led to the adoption and enforcement of legislation that became a shining success.

McShane, C., & Tarr, J. (2007). The horse in the city: living machines in the nineteenth century. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

The nineteenth century was the golden age of the horse. In urban America, the indispensable horse provided the power for not only vehicles that moved freight, transported passengers, and fought fires but also equipment in breweries, mills, foundries, and machine shops.

Clay McShane and Joel A. Tarr, prominent scholars of American urban life, here explore the critical role that the horse played in the growing nineteenth-century metropolis. Using such diverse sources as veterinary manuals, stable periodicals, teamster magazines, city newspapers, and agricultural yearbooks, they examine how the horses were housed and fed and how workers bred, trained, marketed, and employed their four-legged assets. Not omitting the problems of waste removal and corpse disposal, they touch on the municipal challenges of maintaining a safe and productive living environment for both horses and people and the rise of organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In addition to providing an insightful account of life and work in nineteenth-century urban America, The Horse in the City brings us to a richer understanding of how the animal fared in this unnatural and presumably uncomfortable setting.

Velten, H. (2013). Beastly London: A History of Animals in the City. London: Reaktion Books.

Beastly London explores the complex and changing relationship between Londoners of all backgrounds and their animal neighbours, and reveals how animals helped to shape the city’s economic, social and cultural history

Horse-drawn cabs rattling through the streets, terrified cattle being herded along congested thoroughfares to Smithfield market, pigs squealing and grunting in back yards – London was once filled with a cacophony of animal noises (and smells). But over the last thirty years, the city seems to have finally banished animals from its streets, apart from a few well-loved beasts such as the ravens at the Tower of London and the shire horses that pull the Lord Mayor’s golden coach.

Londoners once shared their homes with all kinds of animals – pets, livestock and vermin – and the streets were full of horses, cattle and the animal entertainers that performed to passers-by. Animals from all corners of the globe were imported through London’s docks and exotic beasts became popular attractions at venues such as the Zoological Gardens or lived in the private menageries of kings and naturalists. The city’s residents were entertained by performing fleas, mathematically gifted horses and dancing bears, as well as more bloodthirsty pursuits such as shooting and dog- and cockfights. In the Victorian age the city, not before time, became the birthplace of animal welfare societies and animal rights campaigns. Yet just as conditions gradually improved for the beasts of London, markets, slaughterhouses and dairies began to be moved to the suburbs, and the automobile eventually replaced the horse. The number of resident animals fell, and they are no longer a large part of everyday life in the capital – apart from a stalwart few, such as pets, pigeons and pests.


Animals and Identity

Amato, S. (2015). Beastly Possessions: Animals in Victorian Consumer Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

In Beastly Possessions, Sarah Amato chronicles the unusual ways in which Victorians of every social class brought animals into their daily lives. Captured, bred, exhibited, collected, and sold, ordinary pets and exotic creatures – as well as their representations – became commodities within Victorian Britain’s flourishing consumer culture. As a pet, an animal could be a companion, a living parlour decoration, and proof of a household’s social and moral status. In the zoo, it could become a public pet, an object of curiosity, a symbol of empire, or even a consumer mascot. Either kind of animal might be painted, photographed, or stuffed as a taxidermic specimen. Using evidence ranging from pet-keeping manuals and scientific treatises to novels, guidebooks, and ephemera, this fascinating, well-illustrated study opens a window into an underexplored aspect of life in Victorian Britain.

Arluke, A., Bogdan, R. (2010). Beauty and the Beast: Human-Animal Relations as Revealed in Real Photo Postcards, 1905-1935. New York: Syracuse University Press.

From fairy tales to photography, nowhere is the complexity of human-animal relationships more apparent than in the creative arts. Art illuminates the nature and significance of animals in modern, Western thought, capturing the complicated union that has long existed between the animal kingdom and us. In Beauty and the Beast, authors Arluke and Bogdan explore this relationship through the unique lens of photo postcards. This visual medium offers an enormous and relatively untapped archive to document their subject compellingly.

The importance of photo postcards goes beyond their abundance. Recognized as the "people’s photography," photo postcards were typically taken by photographers who were part of the community they were photographing. Their intimacy with the people and places they captured resulted in a vernacular record of the life and times of the period unavailable in other kinds of photography. Arluke and Bogdan use these postcards to tell the story of human-animal relations in the United States from approximately 1905 to 1935. During these years, Americans experienced profound changes that altered their connection with animals and influenced perceptions and treatment of them today. Wide-ranging in scope, Beauty and the Beast looks at the variety of roles animals played in society, from pets and laborers to symbols and prey. The authors discuss the contradictions, dualisms, and paradoxes of our relationship to animals, illustrating how animals were distanced and embraced, commoditized and anthropomorphized. With over 350 illustrations, this book presents a vivid chronicle of the deep cultural ambivalence that characterized human-animal relations in the early twentieth century and that continues today.

Calarco, M. (2015). Thinking Through Animals: Identity, Difference, Indistinction. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

The rapidly expanding field of critical animal studies now offers a myriad of theoretical and philosophical positions from which to choose. This timely book provides an overview and analysis of the most influential of these trends. Approachable and concise, it is intended for readers sympathetic to the project of changing our ways of thinking about and interacting with animals yet relatively new to the variety of philosophical ideas and figures in the discipline. It uses three rubrics—identity, difference, and indistinction—to differentiate three major paths of thought about animals. The identity approach aims to establish continuity among human beings and animals so as to grant animals equal access to the ethical and political community. The difference framework views the animal world as containing its own richly complex and differentiated modes of existence in order to allow for a more expansive ethical and political worldview. The indistinction approach argues that we should abandon the notion that humans are unique in order to explore new ways of conceiving human-animal relations. Each approach is interrogated for its relative strengths and weaknesses, with specific emphasis placed on the kinds of transformational potential it contains.

Green, A. (1999). Animal Underworld: Inside America’s Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species. New York: Public Affairs.

A vast and previously undisclosed underground economy exists in the United States. The products bought and sold: animals. In Animal Underworld, veteran investigative journalist Alan Green exposes the sleazy, sometimes illegal web of those who trade in rare and exotic creatures. Green and The Center for Public Integrity reveal which American zoos and amusement parks dump their "surplus" animals on the middlemen adept at secretly redirecting them into the private pet trade. We're taken to exotic-animal auctions, where the anonymous high bidders are often notorious dealers, hunting-ranch proprietors, and profit-minded charlatans masquerading as conservationists. We visit some of the nation's most prestigious universities and research laboratories, whose diseased monkeys are "laundered" through this same network of breeders and dealers until they finally reach the homes of unsuspecting pet owners. And we meet the men and women who make their living by skirting through loopholes in the law, or by ignoring the law altogether. For anyone who cares about animals; for pet owners, zoo-goers, wildlife conservationists, and animal welfare advocates, Animal Underworld is gripping, shocking reading

Kelm, M.-E. (2012). A Wilder West: Rodeo in Western Canada. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

The rodeo cowboy is one of the most evocative images of the Wild West. The master of the frontier, he is renowned for his masculinity, toughness, and skill. A Wilder West returns to rodeo's small-town roots to explore how rodeo simultaneously embodies and subverts our traditional understandings of power relations between man and nature, women and men, settlers and Aboriginal peoples. An important contact zone ? a chaotic and unpredictable place of encounter ? rodeo has challenged expected social hierarchies, bringing people together across racial and gender divides to create friendships, rivalries, and unexpected intimacies. At the rodeo, Aboriginal riders became local heroes, and rodeo queens spoke their minds. A Wilder West complicates the idea of western Canada as a "white man's country" and shows how rural rodeos have been communities in which different rules applied. Lavishly illustrated, this creative history will change the way we see the West's most controversial sport.

Kete, K (1994). The Beast in the Boudoir: Pets in Nineteenth-Century Paris. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Kathleen Kete's wise and witty examination of petkeeping in nineteenth-century Paris provides a unique window through which to view the lives of ordinary French people. She demonstrates how that cliché of modern life, the family dog, reveals the tensions that modernity created for the Parisian bourgeoisie.

Kete's study draws on a range of literary and archival sources, from dog-care books to veterinarians's records to Dumas's musings on his cat. The fad for aquariums, attitudes toward vivisection, the dread of rabies, the development of dog breeding—all are shown to reflect the ways middle-class people thought about their lives. Petkeeping, says Kete, was a way to imagine a better, more manageable version of the world—it relieved the pressures of contemporary life and improvised solutions to the intractable mesh that was post-Enlightenment France. The faithful, affectionate family dog became a counterpoint to the isolation of individualism and lack of community in urban life. By century's end, however, animals no longer represented the human condition with such potency, and even the irascible, autonomous cat had been rehabilitated into a creature of fidelity and affection.

McHugh, S. (2011). Animal Stories: narrating across species lines. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Beginning with a historical account of why animal stories pose endemic critical challenges to literary and cultural theory, Animal Stories argues that key creative developments in narrative form became inseparable from shifts in animal politics and science in the past century. Susan McHugh traces representational patterns specific to modern and contemporary fictions of cross-species companionship through a variety of media—including novels, films, fine art, television shows, and digital games—to show how nothing less than the futures of all species life is at stake in narrative forms.McHugh's investigations into fictions of people relying on animals in civic and professional life—most obviously those of service animal users and female professional horse riders—showcase distinctly modern and human–animal forms of intersubjectivity. But increasingly graphic violence directed at these figures indicates their ambivalent significance to changing configurations of species. Reading these developments with narrative adaptations of traditional companion species relations during this period— queer pet memoirs and farm animal fictions—McHugh clarifies the intercorporeal intimacies—the perforations of species boundaries now proliferating in genetic and genomic science—and embeds the representation of animals within biopolitical frameworks.

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