HRAE focuses on research into the educational, legal, social and cultural transformations taking place globally in response to the most recent scientific and ecological findings concerning Human-Animal Studies.

The following topics are of central importance:

  1. the common evolutionary history of human and non-human animals
  2. increasing evidence for the shared identities (physiological, cultural, emotional, ethical) of human and non-human animals
  3. the common exploitation and interrelated sufferings and oppressions of human and non-human animals
  4. consequences for humanity and the planet of species extinction, industrial production and live export
  5. the social, cultural and economic importance of well-being for all species as well as animals and tourism
  6. the key role currently being played by zoos, wildlife parks and natural history museums in relation to public awareness of human/animal issues
  7. the possibility we are entering a new geological era called the Anthropocence, which is characterised by the impact of human activity on the world and its inhabitants

Current research projects

Empathy and Evolution: The history of emotions and the literary and visual representation of animals

The hypothesis of this project is that, whereas emotion was once thought to distinguish human from animal, emotion has become a key factor uniting human and non-human animals. This project will investigate the above proposition through an analysis of the ways in which humans have perceived and represented emotions in animals in cultural discourses from the 18th century to the present. This is an ARC funded Discovery Research Project.

Understanding the Anthropocence

This project explores the possibility we are entering a new age termed the Anthropocence that is an epoch which has been created by human intervention and which has profound implications for all species.

Zoos in the Twenty-First century

This project explores the role of zoos and wildlife parks in promoting public knowledge about animals and their emotions, human/animal relationships species extinction and conservation.

Animals: Building the nation

This project explores the role played by non-human animals in the historical creation of nations and the wider creation of a civilized world.

Animals, public policy and civil disobedience

Animal welfare in China

The Animal Welfare in China research project offers critical insights into the state and visibility of animals in China, the debate surrounding their welfare, the context for policy change, and the country's emerging animal protection legal framework. Through analysis of the proposed animal protection law and anticruelty law, the researchers seek to identify the features of Chinese animal welfare legislations, and to critique the similarities and differences in state-sponsored animal protection between China and countries with more established policy frameworks.

Graduate students

  • Eva Birch
  • Natalie Rose Dyer
  • Tara Lomax
  • David Mence
  • Hayley Singer
  • Victoria Tedeschi
  • Gonzalo Villanueva