Keywords Exercise: Feb 16th

Wednesday Feb 16th, 6: 30 PM: Critical Terms for Animal Study

You will choose ONE keyword from Critical Terms of Animal Study (ed. Lori Gruen) to explore.  You can work on your own or in a group of two or three (in either case you would work with only one keyword).

Let me know ASAP which keyword you are choosing to work on. If I find out that more than one person (in either our seminar or Karl’s seminar) has chosen a given keyword, I will encourage them to work together.
Each person (or group) should write a 1–2-page blog post on our class blog responding to the keyword, due on Feb. 15th.

Here are some questions to work with as a jumping-off point; there is no need to cover all of them (or even many of them).  Focus on whatever aspect of the keyword that you find most intriguing:

  • Why did you choose this keyword?  Does it relate to your personal or scholarly interests or is it a new avenue of exploration?
  • Choose two or three quotations that you found most resonant in the keyword entry.  What ideas in the article were most meaningful/ resonant to you?
  • How did the entry/ article draw on interdisciplinary research?
  • How did the keyword entry summarize the history of the concept in question, and how did it account for tensions/ debates within the field?
  • Look at the bibliography of the entry, and the citations for further reading.  Are any of these of interest to you for future study?  If so, which ones, and why?
  • How did the keyword entry engage with questions associated with the study of literature or culture more generally, like representation, language, or genre?
  • How would you put this keyword entry into conversation with your scholarly projects in the discipline of Literature or specifically with medieval studies, children’s literature, or any aspect of women’s and gender studies?
  • What primary texts could be brought into conversation with this keyword?
  • What were you hoping the keyword entry would cover, but didn’t, and what scholarly gaps do you see in the entry?

You (or your group) will present for 8-10 minutes on Feb 16th, with some discussion time built in depending on the configuration of the groups.


1 Abolition • Claire Jean Kim
2 Activism • Jeff Sebo and Peter Singer
3 Anthropocentrism • Fiona Probyn-Rapsey
4 Behavior • Alexandra Horowitz
5 Biopolitics • Dinesh Joseph Wadiwel
6 Captivity • Lori Marino
7 Difference • Kari Weil
8 Emotion • Barbara J. King
9 Empathy • Lori Gruen
10 Ethics • Alice Crary
11 Extinction • Thom van Dooren
12 Kinship • Agustín Fuentes and Natalie Porter
13 Law • Kristen Stilt
14 Life • Eduardo Kohn
15 Matter • James K. Stanescu
16 Mind • Kristin Andrews
17 Pain • Victoria A. Braithwaite
18 Personhood • Colin Dayan
19 Postcolonial • Maneesha Deckha
20 Rationality • Christine M. Korsgaard
21 Representation • Robert R. McKay
22 Rights • Will Kymlicka and Sue Donaldson
23 Sanctuary • Timothy Pachirat
24 Sentience • Gary Varner
25 Sociality • Cynthia Willett and Malini Suchak
26 Species • Harriet Ritvo
27 Vegan • Annie Potts and Philip Armstrong
28 Vulnerability • Anat Pick
29 Welfare • Clare Palmer and Peter Sandøe