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Oral/Paper Presentation

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PhD

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Humanities

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What can relationships with animals in literature and media teach us about power and ethics in the United States today? This presentation will discuss our summer research mentorship, describing both our readings of animal engagements and the approaches to power sharing we used as mentor and mentee. Though we were limited to virtual meetings by COVID-19, we were able to use online tools to catalogue instances of human and animal interactions in philosophy and contemporary fiction. Over the course of the summer, our attention turned to the role of animal studies in addressing racial injustice. We began to collect news stories and photographs that showed the complex ways humans include animal relationships in negotiations of power, from the presence of dogs on both sides of the protest line to the narratives surrounding what is now known as the Central Park birdwatching incident. Rather than create a clean story or set of analyses out of this material, we focused on generating difficult but meaningful questions about the potential for and the limits of an animal studies framework.

Throughout this labor, we also attempted to establish a mutually-beneficial mentoring relationship built around respect and shared authority. Our presentation will include reflections on the strategies we used to try for a more equitable approach to research across power difference.

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The Politics of HumanAnimal Relationships in Summer 2020: Notes from a Virtual Research Mentorship

What can relationships with animals in literature and media teach us about power and ethics in the United States today? This presentation will discuss our summer research mentorship, describing both our readings of animal engagements and the approaches to power sharing we used as mentor and mentee. Though we were limited to virtual meetings by COVID-19, we were able to use online tools to catalogue instances of human and animal interactions in philosophy and contemporary fiction. Over the course of the summer, our attention turned to the role of animal studies in addressing racial injustice. We began to collect news stories and photographs that showed the complex ways humans include animal relationships in negotiations of power, from the presence of dogs on both sides of the protest line to the narratives surrounding what is now known as the Central Park birdwatching incident. Rather than create a clean story or set of analyses out of this material, we focused on generating difficult but meaningful questions about the potential for and the limits of an animal studies framework.

Throughout this labor, we also attempted to establish a mutually-beneficial mentoring relationship built around respect and shared authority. Our presentation will include reflections on the strategies we used to try for a more equitable approach to research across power difference.