Animal Studies

Race and Animals

Summer Institute

June 6-17, 2016 

For two weeks, scholars will engage in critical discussions of “Race and Animals” at the summer institute with the goal of deepening our theoretical, historical, and political understandings of how power works to constitute racialized and animalized subjects.

About the Organziers:

Lori Gruen

 William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, Chair of Philosophy,
and Professor of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Environmental Studies, Wesleyan University 

Lori Gruen is the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy, Chair of Philosophy, and Professor of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University.  She also coordinates Wesleyan Animal Studies.  She is the author of 3 books, including most recently Entangled Empathy (Lantern, 2015); the editor of 5 books, including The Ethics of Captivity (Oxford, 2014) and Ecofeminism:  Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth with Carol J. Adams (Bloomsbury, 2014).  With Kari Weil, she co-edited “Animal Others” a special issue of Hypatia (2012).

Fiona Probyn

Claire Jean Kim

Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at University of California, Irvine

Claire Jean Kim is Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at University of California, Irvine, where she teaches classes on comparative race studies, social movements, and human-animal studies.  She is the author of Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age (Cambridge, 2015), Bitter Fruit: The Politics of Black-Korean Conflict in New York City (Yale, 2000), and numerous essays on race and animals.  In 2013, she co-guest edited a special issue of American Quarterly entitled, Species/Race/Sex

Fiona Probyn

Timothy Pachirat

Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts- Amherst

Timothy Pachirat teaches in the Department of Political Science at UMass Amherst.  His book, Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight (Yale University Press, 2011), is a widely acclaimed political ethnography of the massive, repetitive killing of animals carried out by a largely immigrant workforce.

Fiona Probyn

Emily Pfoutz

Race and Animals Institute Assistant

Emily Pfoutz graduated in with High Honors in Anthropology in May, 2016.  Her thesis "Vulnerable Becomings" which explores human/horse relationality won the inaugural Wesleyan Animal Studies Thesis Prize.  When she wasn't thinking of and through horses, Emily managed "Espwesso," the student run eco-friendly, fair-trade coffee shop on campus.

Fiona Probyn

About the Visiting Speakers:

Colin Dayan

Professor of English, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of Law,
Vanderbilt University

Colin Dayan is Professor of English, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University. She is the author most recently of With Dogs at the Edge of Life (forthcoming from Columbia University Press in 2015).  She has also authored The Law is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons (Princeton UP, 2011), a Choice Outstanding Academic book; The Story of Cruel and Unusual (MIT/Boston Review Press, 2007); Haiti, History, and the Gods (University of California Press, 1995, 1998; Fables of Mind: An Inquiry into Poe's Fiction (Oxford University Press, 1987); A Rainbow for the Christian West (University of Massachusetts Press, 1977).

Fiona Probyn

Maria Elena Garcia

Director, the Comparative History of Ideas and associate professor in the
Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

Maria Elena Garcia is director of the Comparative History of Ideas and associate professor in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. She received her PhD in Anthropology at Brown University and has been a Mellon Fellow at Wesleyan University and Tufts University. Her first book, Making Indigenous Citizens: Identities, Development, and Multicultural Activism in Peru (Stanford, 2005) examines Indigenous and intercultural politics in Peru. Her work on Indigeneity and interspecies politics in the Andes has appeared in multiple edited volumes and journals such as Anthropology Now, Anthropological Quarterly, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, Latin American Perspectives, and Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies. Her second book project, Dancing Guinea Pigs and Other Tales of Race in Peru, examines the intersections of race, species, and capital in contemporary Peru.

Fiona Probyn

Jared Sexton

Associate Professor of African American Studies, the University of California, Irvine

Jared Sexton  is Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine, where he is also affiliated with the Department of Film and Media Studies. He has published articles in journals such as African American ReviewAmerican QuarterlyArt JournalCultural CritiqueRadical History Review, and Social Text, and essays in various anthologies on contemporary politics and popular culture. He is the author of Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism and a co-editor of a special issue of Critical Sociology on “Race and the Variations of Discipline,” and has contributed occasional pieces to magazines like ArtforumColorLinesJadaliyya, and openDemocracy

Fiona Probyn

Institute Participants:

Fiona Probyn-Rapsey

Associate Professor, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney

Fiona Probyn-Rapsey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia.  Fiona’s research interests connect feminist postcolonial/ critical race studies and animal studies, examining where, when and how gender, race and species intersect. Her first book Made to Matter: White Fathers, Stolen Generations (2013), examines how the white fathers of Indigenous children (many now part of the Stolen Generations) reacted to and were positioned by Australian assimilation policies. This book highlights a research interest in the reproductive and biopolitical nature of postcolonial societies, a common thread that extends into more recent research in animal studies, including 2 co-edited books, Animal Death (2013) and also Animals in the Anthropocene: Critical Perspectives on Non-human futures (2015 – HARN Editorial Collective).  Fiona is currently Chair of the AASA: Australasian Animal Studies Association and Series Editor (with Melissa Boyde) of the Animal Publics book series through Sydney University Press, She is currently working on a project about dingoes and the cultural logic of eradication, as well as a project on Animaladies, the intersections of species, madness and gender.

Fiona Probyn

Che Gossett

Archivist, Barnard Center for Research on Women, PhD candidate in trans/gender studies, Rutgers

Che Gossett is a trans femme writer, an archivist Barnard Center for Research on Women and a PhD candidate in trans/gender studies at Rutgers.  They hold a BA in African American Studies from Morehouse College, an MAT from Brown University and an MA in History from University of Pennsylvania. They are the recipient of the 2014 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Award from the American Studies Association, a Radcliffe research grant from Harvard University and the 2014 Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies from the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies at the City University of New York, and the 2014 Martin Duberman Research Scholar Award from the New York Public Library. They are working on a book project titled Blackness, the Beast and the Non Sovereign.

Che Gossett

Kelly Struthers Montford

Doctoral candidate and Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholar, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta

Kelly Struthers Montford is a doctoral candidate and Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholar in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta. She has previously been a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Graduate Scholar, and 2013-2014 Institute for Critical Animal Studies Hilda Scholar of the year. Her research interests include critical animal studies, philosophy, and social theory. Using biotech responses to zoonotic disease and climate change such as synthetic and in-vitro meat, her dissertation theorizes human and food ontologies from a feminist materialist perspective. Kelly has a forthcoming article in philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism, and has previously published in the Canadian Journal of Women and the LawSocieties, and PhaenEx Journal of Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture

Kelly Struthers

Brigitte Fielder

Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies, the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Brigitte Fielder is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently working on two book projects, one on racial genealogies and interracial kinship in nineteenth-century American literatures, and one on overlapping discourses of race and species in the long nineteenth century. Her work has appeared in Studies in American Fiction, American Quarterly, and J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists and is forthcoming in Early American Studies and Beasts of America: Perspectives on Animals and Animality in U.S. Culture, 1776-1920 Ed. Dominik Ohrem. (Berlin: Neofelis Verlag, 2016).

Brigitte Nicole Fielder

Calvin John Smiley

Assistant Professor, Sociology Department at Hunter College, City University of New York

Calvin John Smiley, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Hunter College, City University of New York. His research focuses on prisoner reentry, social justice, and critical race theory. He has been published in Deviant Behavior, Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, and Punishment & Society. Calvin's future project seeks to understand human and non-human relationships within prison settings to explore the potential relationship this might have with prisoner reentry, specifically social and cultural capital as well as physical and mental health. 

Calvin John Smiley

Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond

 Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Luso-Brazilian Studies, U.C. San Diego

Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond is a female primate with the characteristic predilections, aptitudes and conundrums of her species. A disgruntled academic reimagining a future wherein animal liberation is an intrinsic element of social justice agendas, she is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Luso-Brazilian Studies at U.C. San Diego. Her publications on race, posthumanism and the legacies of African enslavement include a monograph, White Negritude: Race, Writing and Brazilian Cultural Identity (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2005), an edited volume, The Masters and the Slaves: Plantation Relations and Mestizaje in American Imaginaries (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2002) and a short memoir, “Akbar Stole my Heart: Coming out as an Animalist” (, 2013)  Alexandra is currently at work on two book projects: "Postcolonial Zoopoetics:  Species in Brazil, the United States and South Africa" and "Abkar Stole My Heart" a collection of essays centering on caregiving, grief, transspecies ethics, the "War on Terror" and the medical-industrial complex.

Annie Dwyer

Katie Gillespie

Collaborative Learning and Interdisciplinary Pedagogies Fellow
in the Comparative History of Ideas, University of Washington
Wesleyan Animal Studies Post-Doctoral Fellow 2016-2018

Kathryn (Katie) Gillespie earned her PhD in Geography from the University of Washington in 2014. Her research and teaching interests focus on: feminist theory and methods; critical animal studies; critical race theory; postcolonial studies; incarceration/prison studies; gender and sexuality; human-environment relations; and food and agriculture. Her current research sits at the nexus of black feminist theory, postcolonial studies, and critical animal studies, focusing on human-animal relations and racialized histories of coloniality at the Louisiana State Penitentiary farm and rodeo. Her dissertation research examined the gendered commodification of the lives and bodies of animals in the dairy industry in the Pacific Northwestern United States. This work will be published as a book, The Cow with Ear Tag #1389, under contract with the University of Chicago Press (expected publication Fall 2016). She has published in numerous scholarly journals and has co-edited two books: Critical Animal Geographies: Politics, Intersections and Hierarchies in a Multispecies World [Routledge, 2015, co-edited with Rosemary-Claire Collard] and Economies of Death: Economic Logics of Killable Life and Grievable Death [Routledge, 2015, co-edited with Patricia J. Lopez]. Katie volunteers with Books to Prisoners (a Seattle organization that receives and fills book requests from prisoners throughout the United States), Food Empowerment Project (a food justice organization in Cotati, CA), and Pigs Peace Sanctuary (a sanctuary for pigs in Stanwood, WA).

Katie Gillespie

Karen Morin

Associate Provost and Professor of Geography at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Karen M. Morin is Associate Provost and Professor of Geography at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. She has published Women, Religion, & Space: Global Perspectives on Gender and Faith, co-edited with Jeanne Kay Guelke (Syracuse University Press, 2007); Frontiers of Femininity: A New Historical Geography of the Nineteenth-Century American West (Syracuse University Press, 2008); Civic Discipline: Geography in America, 1860-1890 (Ashgate Historical Geography Series, 2011); and Historical Geographies of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past, co-edited with Dominique Moran (Routledge, 2015). Her current book project, Carceral Space, Prisoners and Animals, focuses on the spatial violence of prisons and parallels found within spaces of animal captivity and exploitation. 

Karen Morin

Rachel Mundy

Assistant Professor of Music in the Arts, Culture, & Media program, Rutgers University

Rachel Mundy is an Assistant Professor of Music in the Arts, Culture, & Media program at Rutgers University in Newark. She specializes in twentieth-century sonic culture with interests at the juncture of music, the history of science, and animal studies. Her research shows how music has been used to navigate changing boundaries between race, species, and culture in the twentieth century. Her book Animal Musicalities, under contract with Wesleyan University Press, traces comparisons between human and animal songs from social Darwinism through the postwar rejection of racial science. By exploring song as an object of study, she locates postmodern notions of art and science as the refrain of a century-long encounter with life’s inequalities.

Rachel Mundy

Max Cavitch

Associate Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Associate Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Pennsylvania.  My first book was American Elegy: The Poetry of Mourning from the Puritans to Whitman (2007).  I am presently completing a psychohistorical study of the life and writings of an Anglo-American slaveholder-turned-asylum-patient.  My essays in a variety of fields have appeared in such journals as American Literary HistoryAmerican LiteratureContemporary PsychoanalysisEarly American LiteraturePsychoanalysis, Culture & SocietySenses of CinemaScreen, and Victorian Poetry.  My next two books are both Animal Studies projects: Interloping: Tales of Interspecies Mediality (a preliminary chapter of which has been published in Postmodern Culture) and Fido and Psyche: Dogs in Psychoanalysis.  I am co-editor of the book series Early American Studies (University of Pennsylvania Press); member of the Advisory and Executive Councils of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies; consortium member of the Project on Bioethics, Sexuality, and Gender Identity in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy; member of the collaboration committee of the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychiatry; and one of the founding faculty members of the Undergraduate Minor in Psychoanalytic Studies.  More information can be found at my Web site.

Max Cavitch

Dinesh Wadiwel

Dinesh Wadiwel is a Lecturer and Director of the Master of Human Rights, University of Sydney

Dinesh Wadiwel is a Lecturer and Director of the Master of Human Rights at the University of Sydney.His research interests include sovereignty and the nature of rights, violence, race and critical animal studies, and he is author of the monograph The War against Animals (Brill, 2015).

Dinesh Wadiwel

Nekeisha Alexis

Coordinator, Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical SeminaryPhD Candidate, Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center

I am an independent scholar who is interested in, among other things, Anabaptist/Christian ethics and theology toward animals; veganism as nonviolent practice and witness; undoing human and other animal oppression; and intersections between radical Christian faith and anarchist politics. With full acknowledgement of Christianity's legacy of violence and colonization, my work also dis/re/covers within the tradition resources that inspire and incite my passion for animal liberation and justice among all the earth’s residents. By day, I am intercultural competence and undoing racism coordinator, and graphic design and website specialist for Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, located in awesome Elkhart, Ind. By night, I am also an organizer for Jesus Radicals, an online network exploring Christianity and anarchism, and involved in several community initiatives for social change. I sustain my spirit by nurturing deep relationships with friends and fellow agitators, being a faithful and subversive presence in my African Methodist Episcopal congregation, hosting regular movie nights, laughing often, and making monthly karaoke runs to a local dive bar.

Nekeisha Alexis

2016 Race and Animals Summer Institute is sponsored by
Wesleyan Animal Studies, The Provost's Office,
The Philosophy Department, and African American Studies

About Wesleyan Animal Studies:

From 2010-2015, Wesleyan Animal Studies, in partnership with The Animals and Society Institute held an annual summer fellowship program for scholars pursuing research in Human-Animal Studies. The fellowship program was started by the Animals and Society Institute (ASI) in 2007 and directed by Margo DeMello; it was hosted by Lori Gruen and Kari Weil since coming to Wesleyan; and over the years funded over 60 fellows. The ASI-WAS Human Animal Studies Fellowship Program will celebrate its 10th year by hosting a conference at Wesleyan in October 2016.

WAS has sponsored a number of speakers and events, including two conferences, and offers a cluster of courses.