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The University Seminar on Human-Animal Studies is open to faculty and professional membership in the field of Human-Animal Studies. Vibrant new scholarship is emerging in this area of work.  The field’s focus is on how humans and (other) animals have interacted across cultures and histories: how the protein, work, and products derived from animals have contributed to human projects; how cross-species relationships have shaped human histories; and how animals’ imaginative and aesthetic roles in cultures are connected to the living presence of animals. Work in this field tends to be interdisciplinary, drawing on the social sciences and the humanities as well as on the already interdisciplinary fields of environmental and posthumanist studies.

Brian Boyd

Naama Harel

Fern Thompsett

Meeting Schedule

03/07/2023 Room 457 (Scheps Library,) Schermerhorn Extension
5:00 PM
discussion of two chapters from Jack Halberstam's book, "Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire"
Jack Halberstam, Columbia University

04/27/2023 951 Schermerhorn Extension
5:00 PM
Race, Species, Knowledge: Approaching Coloniality through Karakul Sheep
Katharina Schramm, University of Bayreuth, Germany


Bred on an experimental farm in Halle (Germany) in the early 1900s, Karakul sheep were exported to the colony of South-West Africa, where they played a major role in land dispossession, colonial settlement, and economies. They were also crucial agents and model organisms connecting scientific discussions in agriculture, genetics, and race science. In this paper, I focus on the ways in which knowledges about race and species intersect(ed) in and across these disciplinary formations. On the one hand, this concerns the notion of the phenotype and its hierarchical classification and valuation. On the other hand, it concerns the very boundary between human and non-human that underlies racial/racist thinking. Paying careful attention to these circulations of layered knowledges, I attempt to reframe the decolonial call for undisciplining in methodological terms as a way for undoing race.