Animal/Nonhuman Workshop

University of Chicago

Month: September 2014

October 6, 2014: “Fat Pets”

Don Kulick, Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago

Monday, October 6, 2014
4:30 pm
Social Sciences Tea Room (SS201)

“Fat Pets”

Download “Fat Pets” here.

This article discusses the ways in which obesity has crossed the species boundary. For many people, fat pets used to be cute, funny and adorable, and for some people fat pets (especially fat cats) still are. But we are witnessing the transformation of pet obesity from a trivial phenomenon or an idiosyncratic aesthetic preference into a social problem – one that increasingly mobilizes the mass media, public opinion, a wide variety of experts, and the intervention of state apparatuses like the courts and the police.  The article reviews the evidence that is circulated to justify the increasingly common claim that we are in the midst of an “epidemic” of pet obesity and it discusses the source and assesses the reliability of that evidence. It examines how pet obesity is presented in the mass media and by charitable organizations like Pet Club UK or the RSPCA. It also offers some thoughts about what current concerns about pet obesity can tell us, more generally, about the cultural, historical, economic, and emotional dimensions of obesity.Refreshments will be served.

This event is free and open to the public. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance to attend should contact Bill Hutchison (

Find our full workshop schedule here.

Heather Keenleyside and Joela Jacobs featured in Tableau’s “Animal Studies 101”

Check out “Animal Studies 101,” in which two of the Animal Studies workshop’s founding members are featured. In this quarter’s issue of Tableau, the magazine of the UChicago Humanities Division, our faculty co-sponsor, Heather Keenleyside, and our inaugural coordinator, Joela Jacobs, talk about their work, the workshop, and recommended reading.

Welcome to the 2014-2015 Animal Studies Workshop!

Dear colleagues,

We’re excited about the upcoming year of presentations in our workshop. Please visit our schedule, which will be regularly updated to reflect the most current line-up of presenters. If you haven’t already, join our email list to receive reminders and updates.

Our date and location are moving this year—all meetings will be held on Mondays from 4:30-6:30 in the Social Sciences Tea Room, SS201.

We look forward to seeing you at Animal Studies!

Katharine Mershon (Religion and Literature, Divinity School)
Bill Hutchison (English)
Workshop Coordinators