How, and to what effect, does the nonhuman frame the human?

The University of Chicago’s longstanding Animal Studies Workshop is currently soliciting papers on animals, plants, machines, and other groups on the fringes of humanity. If your work interrogates the conceptual boundaries between the human and any or all of the above, the Animal/Nonhuman Workshop invites you to participate in this year’s cycle of presentations and papers. In the past, our workshop has been attended by students and faculty members from across the humanities and humanistic social sciences, providing a much-needed discussion forum for animal-, plant-, machine-, and object-oriented classicists, literary and film scholars, philosophers, historians, anthropologists, and economists, among others. The problem of the nonhuman, which requires a broad and deep knowledge, all but demands the transgression of conventional areas of study. Working together, the members of our workshop explore cross-disciplinary subjects, including but not limited to:

– Representations of nonhumans in literature, film, and visual art

– Human supremacy (or lack thereof); alterity, real or imagined

– The status, and subsequently, treatment of the nonhuman in disparate regions, time periods, and religions

– The boundaries of the moral community; the ethics of vegetarianism, veganism

– Animality and “becomings-animal”; dehumanization and intersectionality

– Hierarchies of nonhumans; the figure or status of the hybrid or monster

– The ways humanity has been/is being transformed by rapid technological advancement; the pros and cons of human enhancement

– The Anthropocene; Environmentalism and Anti-environmentalism

– The value of diversity; the threat and reality of extinction and responses thereto

– Agriculture and animal husbandry; domestication in theory and practice

– Human and nonhuman spaces; the ethics of zoos and aquariums

– Humanism, Posthumanism, Transhumanism, Antihumanism, and New Materialism

We also welcome submissions on the future of Animal/Nonhuman Studies: given that ours is a nascent area of study and there is a group of researchers that attends our workshop every other week, we are in the exciting position not only to forge solutions to animal/nonhuman problems, but also to contribute to the metadiscourse about our subfield.

If you want to help us develop a unique, institutional voice on issues concerning animals and other nonhumans, or you have an idea – or a paper or chapter – about the role of the fox in medieval French literature or the drone in American consciousness, we ask that you submit a 250 to 500-word abstract to by December 31, 2018.