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In 2006, about 69 million U.S. households had pets, giving homes to around 73.9 million dogs, 90.5 million cats, and 16.6 million birds, and spending more than 38 billion dollars on companion animals. As never before in history, our pets are truly members of the family. But the notion of “companion species”—knotted from human beings, animals and other organisms, landscapes, and technologies—includes much more than “companion animals.” In When Species Meet, Donna J. Haraway digs into this larger phenomenon to contemplate the interactions of humans with many kinds of critters, especially with those called domestic. At the heart of the book are her experiences in agility training with her dogs Cayenne and Roland, but Haraway’s vision here also encompasses wolves, chickens, cats, baboons, sheep, microorganisms, and whales wearing video cameras. From designer pets to lab animals to trained therapy dogs, she deftly explores philosophical, cultural, and biological aspects of animal–human encounters. In this deeply personal yet intellectually groundbreaking work, Haraway develops the idea of companion species, those who meet and break bread together but not without some indigestion. “A great deal is at stake in such meetings,” she writes, “and outcomes are not guaranteed. There is no assured happy or unhappy ending-socially, ecologically, or scientifically. There is only the chance for getting on together with some grace.” Ultimately, she finds that respect, curiosity, and knowledge spring from animal–human associations and work powerfully against ideas about human exceptionalism.
Emily Dickinson's poem "Split the Lark" refers to the "scarlet experiment" by which scientists destroy a bird in order to learn more about it. Indeed, humans have killed hundreds of millions of birds--for science, fashion, curiosity, and myriad other reasons. In the United States alone, seven species of birds are now extinct and another ninety-three are endangered. Conversely, the U.S. conservation movement has made bird-watching more popular than ever, saving countless bird populations; and while the history of actual physical human interaction with birds is complicated, our long aesthetic and scientific interest in them is undeniable. Since the beginning of the modern conservation movement in the mid-nineteenth century, human understanding of and interaction with birds has changed profoundly. In Scarlet Experiment, Jeff Karnicky traces the ways in which birds have historically been seen as beautiful creatures worthy of protection and study and yet subject to experiments--scientific, literary, and governmental--that have irrevocably altered their relationship with humans. This examination of the management of bird life in America from the nineteenth century to today, which focuses on six bird species, finds that renderings of birds by such authors as Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, Don DeLillo, and Christopher Cokinos, have also influenced public perceptions and actions. Scarlet Experiment speculates about the effects our decisions will have on the future of North American bird ecology.
In The War against Animals, Dinesh Wadiwel draws on critical political theory to provide a provocative account of how our mainstay relationships with animals are founded upon systemic hostility and bio-political sovereign violence.
For most people, animals are the most significant aspects of the nonhuman world. They symbolize nature in our imaginations, in popular media and culture, and in campaigns to preserve wilderness, yet scholars habitually treat animals and the environment as mutually exclusive objects of concern. Conducting the first examination of animals' place in popular and scholarly thinking about nature, Anna L. Peterson builds a nature ethic that conceives of nonhuman animals as active subjects who are simultaneously parts of both nature and human society. Peterson explores the tensions between humans and animals, nature and culture, animals and nature, and domesticity and wildness. She uses our intimate connections with companion animals to examine nature more broadly. Companion animals are liminal creatures straddling the boundary between human society and wilderness, revealing much about the mutually constitutive relationships binding humans and nature together. Through her paradigm-shifting reflections, Peterson disrupts the artificial boundaries between two seemingly distinct categories, underscoring their fluid and continuous character.
Religion and ecology has arrived. What was once a niche interest for a few academics concerned with environmental issues and a few environmentalists interested in religion has become an established academic field with classic texts, graduate programs, regular meetings at academic conferences, and growing interest from other academics and the mass media. Theologians, ethicists, sociologists, and other scholars are engaged in a broad dialogue about the ways religious studies can help understand and address environmental problems, including the sorts of methodological, terminological, and substantive debates that characterize any academic discourse. This book recognizes the field that has taken shape, reflects on the ways it is changing, and anticipates its development in the future. The essays offer analyses and reflections from emerging scholars of religion and ecology, each addressing her or his own specialty in light of two questions: (1) What have we inherited from the work that has come before us? and (2) What inquiries, concerns, and conversation partners should be central to the next generation of scholarship? The aim of this volume is not to lay out a single and clear path forward for the field. Rather, the authors critically reflect on the field from within, outline some of the major issues we face in the academy, and offer perspectives that will nurture continued dialogue.
Feminist theorist and philosopher Donna Haraway has substantially impacted thought on science, cyberculture, the environment, animals, and social relations. This long-overdue volume explores her influence on feminist theory and philosophy, paying particular attention to her more recent work on companion species, rather than her "Manifesto for Cyborgs." Margret Grebowicz and Helen Merrick argue that the ongoing fascination with, and re-production of, the cyborg has overshadowed Haraway's extensive body of work in ways that run counter to her own transdisciplinary practices. Sparked by their own personal "adventures" with Haraway's work, the authors offer readings of her texts framed by a series of theoretical and political perspectives: feminist materialism, standpoint epistemology, radical democratic theory, queer theory, and even science fiction. They situate Haraway's critical storytelling and "risky reading" practices as forms of feminist methodology and recognize her passionate engagement with "naturecultures" as the theoretical core driving her work. Chapters situate Haraway as critic, theorist, biologist, feminist, historian, and humorist, exploring the full range of her identities and reflecting her commitment to embodying all of these modes simultaneously.

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