Masterclass with Professor Erica Fudge

Date: Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 15:30

Thinking Across Boundaries with Animals, and the work of Vinciane Despret

HRAE is pleased to announce a Masterclass with Professor Erica Fudge.

Thursday, July 9, 2015, 3.30-5pm. The University of Melbourne.

Erica Fudge is Professor of English in the School of Humanities at the University of Strathclyde. Her research, which is in the fields of Animal Studies and Renaissance Studies, explores issues as varied as meat eating, dreams, children, laughter, reason, bladder-control, animal faces, pet ownership, experimentation, the wearing of fur, anthropomorphic children's literature and vegetarianism. She has recently published articles on human-livestock relations in early modern England in the journals Angelaki; Theory, Culture & Society; and History and Theory. Her books include: Pets (Acumen Press, 2008), Brutal Reasoning: Animals, Rationality and Humanity in Early Modern England (Cornell University Press, 2006), Animal (Reaktion Books, 2002), andPerceiving Animals: Humans and Beasts in Early Modern English Culture (Macmillan/St Martin’s Press, 2000). Erica is director of the British Animal Studies Network (BASN).

In this masterclass, Professor Fudge will draw on articles by the Belgian philosopher and ethologist Vinciane Despret as a starting point for thinking about a number of issues central to thinking in animal studies, but also to thinking about interdisciplinarity. The masterclass will lay the foundation for a wide-ranging discussion of Despret’s work, its implications, and its value for those working in very different areas and will be of interest to postgraduates from a range of disciplines. Discussion will cover a range of topics:

1. How can we think about thinking about animals? What restrictions, limits, abysses present themselves to us as we attempt to narrate lives that happen beyond our immediate comprehension? This question might also raise questions about, for example, techniques of narration in fiction (other minds); historical writing (past lives).  

2. How might models from different disciplines inform each other? What can we in the humanities learn, for example, from science studies? Might the theoretical models, the paradigms that Despret uses to understand the scientists, ethologists and agriculturalists that she encounters help us to think about our own cultural analyses?

Erica Fudge is a keynote speaker at the Animal Publics: Emotions, Empathy, Activism conference convened by Human Rights & Animal Ethics Research Network (HRAE) and the Australian Centre.