Humanimalia is a top end scientific journal for research on human animal interface. This is how they describe their task: The past twenty-five years have witnessed an extraordinary explosion of interest in human interfaces with non-human animals. Since the publication of Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation in 1975 and the beginning of the movement for animal rights, human relationships with animals have become a focus of study in disciplines ranging from archaeology to literary studies, from sociobiology to postcolonial theory. This new attention recognizes that animal/human interfaces have been a neglected area of research, given the ubiquity of animals in human culture and history, and the dramatic change in our material relationships since the rise of agribusiness farming and pharmacological research, genetic experimentation, and the erosion of animal habitats. Our social and legal relationships with animals have become an object of scrutiny through increased animal rights activism, a shift from a discourse of “pets” to one of “companion species,” and the expansion of representations of animals through media, as animals increasingly disappear from our day-to-day experience in the West.
The study of human/animal relationships is connected to questions ranging from postcolonial politics (land struggles among Western “animal tourists,” indigenous people in underdeveloped areas, and the endangered species), through philosophy (acknowledging how “the animal” has functioned as the other to “the human,” both historically malleable and politically charged categories), to the study of art and literature (examining how the animal image expresses cultural assumptions). As editors of Humanimalia, we believe there is a need for a journal that brings together scholarship on these questions from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives, and creates opportunities for further exchanges of ideas. We believe also that our knowledge about the intricate relationships among human and non-human animals should not be rigidly restricted to established conventions of scholarly study and polemical argument, conventions that in their exclusive claims to validity have contributed to the objectification of relationships in which human observers are profoundly implicated.We are interested in research into human/animal interactions from a wide range of perspectives that include the study of material animals and their discursive representations. We welcome ethnographies of human/animal interactions in spaces such as shelters, veterinary hospitals, zoos and laboratories, farms and nature reserves, field work investigations of animal behavior, cultural analyses of how animals are represented in any medium, and philosophical considerations of the category of the animal. We seek papers that combine approaches, or at the very least draw upon research in other disciplines to contextualize their arguments. Our title aims to signify the many ways that humans and animals are connected: as the experience of animals is shaped by human constructions of them, so is our experience of humanity shaped by non-human animals’ constructions of us. Humans and animals have co-evolved, so that neither can be understood discursively or materially without the other. As well, we hope to inspire approaches that recognize that our reflection about animals depends not only on discursive practices, but on observation, co-operation, openness, and compassion with actual beings.
We hope also to encourage new syntheses and fusions, drawing on currents in literary studies and sociology such as Cary Wolfe’s Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory(2003) and Clinton Sanders’ and Arnold Arluke’s Regarding Animals (1996); philosophical investigations, such as those associated with animal rights activism, and the re-examination of the history of philosophy and the category of subjectivity from the point of view of the animal as that which is excluded from the status of the human, a new emphasis influenced largely by Derrida’s “That Animal Which I Therefore Am” (2002) and Giorgio Agamben’s The Open (2004); feminist and postcolonial scholarship that has recognized the importance of the category of the animal for the political oppression of women and non-whites, examined in works such as Carol Adams’s The Sexual Politics of Meat (1990) and Helen Tiffin’s “Unjust Relations: Animals, the Species Boundary and Post colonialism” (2001); the attention of historians such as Harriet Ritvo, Erica Fudge, and Katherine Grier drawn to shifts in our conceptions of and relations to animals; the work of cultural scholars such as Steve Baker and Akira Lippit, who demonstrate how animals have newly entered the visual arts as they disappear from the material world. We are especially interested in the work of scholars such as Donna Haraway and Noellie Vialles in exploring material relationships to animals in spaces such as the lab, the home, and the slaughterhouse, and the geography that shapes human/animal interactions