Please note the special date/time/location: April 1, 2016; Noon-1:30 pm, Social Sciences 302
(In collaboration with the History of Human Sciences Workshop)

Sam Schulte, Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, University of Chicago

“Animal Encounters in The Unwild or What Is It Like To Hold Down A Baby Monkey: On Metaphysical Excess, and ‘The Three Rs’ as Paradoxes of Authority”

In the 2011 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the National Research Council uses the conceptual apparatus of ‘Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement’ developed by W.M.S. Russell and R.L. Burch in 1959 as a tool to develop more humane research practice in the United States. As ‘The Three Rs’ become institutionalized as part of the regulatory apparatus of the National Institutes of Health, a question arises of how this triad operates to negotiate the epistemic and ontic space between human and nonhuman. I propose that each ‘R’ is an expression of a paradox that emerges from the practice of animal experimentation: the more researchers use an animal, the more human that animal becomes and the use of that animal less humane. Using Marshall Sahlins idea of kinship as a mutuality of being and Robert Proctor’s notion of agnotology, I argue that the appeal of the ‘Three Rs’ comes from each concept’s ability to simultaneously produce kinship and ignorance, thereby managing the affective relationship between researcher and experimental object.

Please email Bill Hutchison ( for a copy of the paper.

Light 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 (