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‘Critical Animal Studies’ Research Network launched at Deakin

‘Critical Animal Studies’ Research Network launched at Deakin

Renowned Australian moral philosopher Peter Singer has presented the opening lecture for Deakin’s new research network.

The new Deakin Critical Animal Studies (DCAS) Network aims to bring the needs, rights and vulnerabilities of nonhuman animals into focus in both research and teaching at Deakin University.

The Network was launched on Wednesday, July 4, with a lecture from renowned Australian moral philosopher Peter Singer, whose seminal work “Animal Liberation” is sometimes credited with triggering the modern animal rights movement.

Led by co-convenors Dr Yamini Narayanan, from the Faculty of Arts and Education, and Dr Adam Cardilini, from the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, the network has a distinctly interdisciplinary focus.

It aims to bring forth animals in academia as “subjects” of our co-shared worlds and as active stakeholders in animal liberation as a social justice movement.

“Animals are deeply enmeshed in human societies, as ‘natural’ or ‘production resources’, or as symbols and totems.”


“However, what are the implications for animals to be part of human worlds in these ways? What can the cultural, historical and political uses of animals teach us further about concepts like racism and power? Reframing animals as subjects expands and complicates these ideas and issues, which have largely been thought of in humanist terms,” Dr Narayanan said.

Membership includes researchers with expertise in science, cultural heritage, anthropology, sociology and development studies, and the network is welcoming new scholars, activists and students from all disciplines to join.

“We are thrilled to have been able to launch this network,” Dr Narayanan said. “We are at a critical point in the shared history between human and nonhuman animals, and Deakin is now positioned to be at the cutting-edge of a growing global interest in critical animal studies.

“On the one hand, we live in an era of human-driven mass extinction of species, and unprecedented animal production for food. Yet, on the other, there is the global growth of concern for animal rights across cultures and races, as animal advocacy becomes the latest wave of the civil rights movements.”

The DCAS Network is one of many hosted by the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI), a humanities and social sciences research institute, based at Deakin, under the Directorship of Alfred Deakin Professor Fethi Mansouri.

Main Photograph, from left: Professor Matthew Clarke (Head, School of Humanities and Social Sciences), Professor Brenda Cherednichenko (Dean, Faculty of Arts and Ed), Professor Peter Singer, Dr Yamini Narayanan and Dr Adam Cardilini.


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