Human and Animal Research Network Conferences


July 11 & 12, 2016, University of Sydney.

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Call for Papers


Keynote: Lori Gruen, Professor of Philosophy, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University

From ‘crazy cat ladies’ to ‘deranged’ animal advocates occupying a ‘lunatic fringe’ (Wolfe, 5), the spectre of the ‘crazy’ label is never too far from the ‘question of the animal’. The cultural connections between madness, species, race and gender are plentiful, stereotypical and persistent, highlighting similar trajectories and patterns of marginalisation. Their intersection also requires careful contextual analysis and framing. This symposium at the University of Sydney will focus on the role of madness, reframed in terms of species, race and gender as ‘animaladies’. It will examine how animaladies come in different forms of ‘crazy love’ (D B Rose, 2013); passions, attentiveness and empathy that are sometimes also experienced alongside social marginalisation by animal advocates, animal carers and animal studies scholars. The ‘crazy love’ of the animal advocate can reveal forms of courageous wisdom, persistence in the face of impossibilities and improbabilities. Seen in this light, animaladies can unhinge prevailing norms concerning human animal relationships, particularly those based around indifference towards animal misery.

Animaladies will have an explicitly feminist animal studies focus, one that draws on the gender, race and species specific histories of madness, including the cultivation of norms about reason and (human) civilisation. It will inquire into the associations between femininity and madness as expressive of political and psychological discontent, but one which does not, as Showalter warns against in The Female Malady, ‘romanticise madness as one of womens’ wrongs’ (1985: 5), nor essentialise ‘rationality’ and ‘reason’ as man’s right. Nor will Animaladies re-inscribe animality as ‘dark rage, the sterile madness that lies in men’s hearts’ (Foucault 67), but will instead focus on the impact of exploitative practices on animals themselves, sometimes driven mad by the conditions defined by human domination. The symposium will examine how the pathologisation of human-animal relationships works to block empathy towards animals, and how the characterisation of animal advocacy as mad distracts attention from broader social un-ease regarding human exploitation of animal life. It will analyse how the pathologisation of animal advocacy effects the field of animal studies as a whole, and what the broader effects on the field might be. But it will also focus on animaladies at large – the institutionalised forms of violence against animals that are often held at arm’s length though structural conditions of invisibility by factory farming, industrialised farming practices, and marginalised workers within them. The social discontent and dis-ease that is now more regularly expressed in social media and also in more traditional media outlets suggest that the wildly contradictory ideas and feelings that we have towards animals are gaining greater attention, not least because of the activities of animal advocacy groups.

Understanding how the ‘madness’ of our instrumentalised relationships with animals intersects with the ‘madness’ of taking animals seriously, is the major task of this Symposium. The purpose is not to decide where the madness ‘truly’ lies, but rather how it is distributed, how it is made purposeful, how it is disguised (as ‘economic expediency’) and how it is made to work for social change or against it, how it is shaped as an insult, embraced as a zone of quarantine, or left as an undefined fear. Animaladies are also a potential obstacle to connections with other progressive movements, and as such, they warrant specific attention and careful analysis.

We are calling for papers (20 mins long, 10 mins question time) to address the following core ideas:

  • Case studies that show how particular human/animal relationships are pathologised (and their effects)
  • the conditions under which animaladies can work for and against animal advocacy
  • the function of particular associations between animals and madness/forms of ‘unreason’ and irrationality, from Classical philosophy to more contemporary schizoanalysis
  • discussion of animal madness in the context of industrial farming and global capitalism
  • the role that gender and race play in the pathologisation of human/animal bonds and connections
  • cross- species animaladies in the form of public health/One Health paradigms: ‘mad cow’ disease, the ‘black dog’ of depression, ebola, H1N1, Hendra virus, pathological connections between humans and animals that invite ‘more than human’ responses to crises of health and welfare.
  • The effectiveness of animal studies approaches, methodologies, insights in countering the negative effects of animaladies while exploiting the positives.


Lori Gruen, Professor of Philosophy, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Environmental Stud

Professor Lori Gruen

Lori Gruen, Professor of Philosophy, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University.

Lori Gruen is a feminist philosopher whose work is central to the field of Animal studies. Her most recent work includes Entangled Empathy (Lantern 2015), Ethics and Animals (Cambridge 2011) and she is Co-editor (with Carol Adams) of Ecofeminism: Feminist intersections with other animals and the Earth (Bloomsbury 2014). Lori also created the memorial for the first 100 chimpanzees used in research in the US:

“Most of my work is guided by two broad philosophical commitments. First, is the belief that ethics should be aimed primarily at enhancing well-being. The second philosophical commitment that motivates and is expressed in my work is a commitment to justice, although my interest in justice tends to identify unjust distributions of benefits and burdens in areas that have previously been set to the side by others working on questions of justice. So, for example, I am concerned about the ways in which environmental degradation or advances in biotechnologies or mass incarceration disproportionately impacts poor communities, communities of color, women and children. In addition to the familiar concerns about injustice against certain individuals or communities of people, my work is also centrally concerned with injustice to non-humans.’ [source:]


  • Roslyn Appleby (UTS), ·
    The Madness of Sharks
  • Clare Archer-Lean (U Sunshine Coast)·
    Dingo Narratives: The stories that bind the K’gari Fraser Island Dingo
  • Su Ballard (U of Wollongong)·
    Only the best animals: a sketchbook for survival.
  • Anna Boswell (Auckland)·
    The Zombie Possum Apocalypse
  • Jeffrey Bussolini (CUNY) & A Mukherjea (CUNY)·
    Crazy Cat Ladies' and Feline Sociality as Animaladies (or φάρμακον/pharmakon)
  • Danielle Celermajer (USyd)·
    Dignity, madness and domination: King Lear and the risks of majesty
  • Matthew Chrulew (Curtin), ·
    Abnormal Animals: The Problematisation of Captivity in Hediger and Meyer-Holzapfel
  • Kevin Coleman, (Independent Author) ·
    Paradigm Shift: From Patriarchy to Participation; From Ego to Eco.
  • Chloe Diamond Lenow (U California, SC), ·
    March Madness is in the Air: Motherhood, Monstrosity and Bestiality
  • Kathleen Davidson (USyd)·
    More careful about the little details’: picturing gender in nineteenth-century aviculture.
  • Heather Fraser (Flinders) & Nik Taylor (Flinders) ·
    If it weren’t for… women having their anxiety soothed through companion animal connections
  • Andrew Goodman (UNSW)·
    Tigeresquness: Animal Fabulations as Creative Madness
  • Tessa Laird (Uni Melb) ·
    The Battier the Better: Chiropteran Mythinformation vs C21 Totemism
  • Susan Pyke (Uni Melb)·
    Citizen snake: uncoiling human-bindings for life
  • Laura McKay (Uni Melb)·
    Creatures of culture: interspecies relationship in Marian Engel’s Bear
  • Catherine Moir (USyd)·
    Animal Madness and Anthropological Materialism in Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck
  • Lynn Mowson (Uni Melb)
    empathic udder-ness: witnessing and the traumatic imagination
  • Ananya Mukherjea (CUNY) & J Bussolini (CUNY)·
    Animal Culls, OneHealth, and the Ethics of Care: Zoonotic Outbreak Management, Panic Governance, and Social Vulnerability
  • Margo de Mello (Canisius College and Animals and Society institute)·
    I am the Crazy Rabbit Lady: Rabbits, Rescue, Hoarding and Gender
  • Clare Mann, (Independent Author)·
    The Madness is not my own: mental health and Animal Advocates
  • Annie Potts (Canterbury)·
    (Feminist?) Sexology and the Intimate Abuse of Female Animals
  • Yamini Narayanan (Deakin) ·
    Cow protection’ as ‘casteised speciesism’: the pathologisation of human/water buffalo relations in India
  • Jen Rae (Uni Melb)·
    Popular, Potent and Political: The rise and descent of the polar bear as an icon of climate change
  • Hayley Singer (Uni Melb) ·
    Jamming the carnophallogocentric machine.
  • Vasile Stanescu (Mercer)·
    The Personal as Political: Grief, orthorexia, and myth of “hysterical” veganism
  • Chloe Taylor (U of Alberta), ·
    The Case of the Crazy Cat Lady
  • Christine Townend (USyd) ·
    The Early Battle for Animal Rights in Australia in the 1970s and 80s
  • Dinesh Wadiwel (USyd)·
    And in This Harsh World Draw Thy Breath in Pain: Madness, Ideology and Animals.
  • Yvette Watt (UTas)·
    Duck Lake: art meets activism in an anti-hide, anti-bloke, antidote to duck shooting

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