Current questions and directions

Besides interdisciplinarity, the group puts a great emphasis on the matter of intersectionality. By the term is meant that different axes of oppression meet – intersect – and influence each other in specific, context dependent ways. In line with current trends, we view the connections between human-animal relations and other forms of power relations as intersectional, rather than analogous. Situated at the Centre for gender research, feminist and gender perspectives on human-animal relations obviously apply. Furthermore, post-colonial (or critical race theoretical), class, ageism-sensitive and queer perspectives are also brought in to the analysis when applicable.

Another common interest of the group is that of relationality. Whether focusing on the concrete level of interaction between humans and other animals, or on a more abstract, theoretical level reflecting on the bonds and generalities or boundaries constructed, the relationship, rather than the opposition, is in focus. Humans and other animals are culturally constructed by and through each other, making it for example impossible to speak of humanness without notions of what animality is. We believe that the study of these relations, in the long run, can challenge the supposedly oppositional positions between humans and other animals. This is where one of the critical potentials of human-animal studies lies. We firmly rest on the idea that our research should be critical, in the sense above, but also in the sense that we wish to explore, challenge and hopefully change existing (power) relations and practices.

Another direction of our research interest is to highlight the specificity/speciality of species. Speciality matters in so many ways, all animals do not (obviously) belong to the same category. What species that are under scrutiny is of great concern, and we aim to contribute to the ongoing human-animal studies debate or trend to talk about animals and animality as an abstract category. Just as the categories ”human” and ”humanness” has become deconstructed under the heading of post-humanism, so can ”animal” be regarded as an unstable category. As has hopefully become clear, one of the main objectives of the individual projects, as well as for the collective work of the group, is to contribute to theoretical enrichment and development within the field of human-animal studies.

A common thread among our different research projects is that human-animal relations are used as a tool, or rather an entrance, to highlight and challenge common notion of, for example, suffering, sex, sexuality, language, the human/animal – nature/culture divide, post-humanism and other sociological and philosophical concepts. Below, a list of ongoing projects are listed, followed by a section of planned projects.

Ongoing projects

Gender and Climate Change (Andersson, Måns)

Stereotypes and androcentrism in evolutionary biology (Andersson, Måns)

Nature, gender and ethnicity in wildlife TV (Andersson, Måns and Hillevi Ganetz) 

Integrating gender theory and evolutionary research (Ah-King, Malin)

Animal Landscapes: The Masculinities of Livestock Farming (Bull, Jacob)

Animals, Gender and Science: The  World of Pedigree Pet Breeding and Showing (Fox, Rebekah)

Artful animals (Hayward, Eva)

Dilemmas with transgenic animals (Holmberg, Tora together with Malin Ideland, Malmö University)

Posthumanist challenges to education theory and practice (Pedersen, Helena)

Negotiating gender across species (Segerdahl, Pär)