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 Being Interdisciplinary in Animal Studies:

A Postgraduate Symposium 



University of Strathclyde, 18 and 19 May 2016




With funding from the AHRC, the University of Strathclyde hosted an invitation-only Postgraduate Symposium on Animal Studies on 18 and 19 May 2016. The symposium was held in Central Glasgow over two days, just before the next British Animal Studies Network meeting, ‘Smelling’, on 20 and 21 May, and brought together academics and current postgraduate research students to discuss three key issues that are at the heart of the field: interdisciplinarity and animal studies; teaching and animal studies; impact and animal studies. The first issue was structured around 15 pre-circulated PGR papers.


The reason for the symposium is that, at the heart of the best work in animal studies there is a willingness to read and think beyond the boundaries of a single discipline. Historians read animal welfare science; sociologists attend to film theory; artists engage with public policy, and so on. Such interdisciplinarity produces new work within individual disciplines but it also allows for a conversation among scholars with different expertise because there are shared pathways as well as divergent tracks. This symposium offered PGRs and established scholars the chance to discuss the problems and virtues of being interdisciplinary in animal studies.


The meeting was attended by some leading scholars / practitioners in the field of animal studies who responded to PGR papers; led discussions on teaching and animal studies, on the possibilities of impact emerging from work in the field; and generally hung out.



Experts who attended were:


Steve Baker (contemporary visual culture, Emeritus University of Central Lancashire)

Henry Buller (human geography, University of Exeter)
Sarah Cockram (Renaissance history, University of Glasgow)
Bel Deering (Centre Manager, RSPCA)

Erica Fudge (early modern studies, University of Strathclyde)

Andrew Gardiner (veterinary science, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh)

Garry Marvin (anthropology, University of Roehampton)
Robert McKay (literary studies, University of Sheffield)
Mara Miele (sociology, Cardiff University)
Clare Palmer (environmental ethics, Texas A&M University)
Andrea Roe (artist, Edinburgh College of Art)
Sandra Swart (history, Stellenbosch University)
Tom Tyler (media studies, University of Leeds)

Françoise Wemelsfelder (animal welfare science, Scotland’s Rural College).


PGR students who wrote papers were:


Mathew Andrews (history of science, technology and medicine, University of Manchester)

Abi L. Glen (Medieval Studies, Clare College, Cambridge) 

James Gott (human geography, University of Southampton)

Jill Goulder (archaeology, University College London)

Justin Grize (music, University of Sussex)

Esther Harper (history, King’s College, London)

Robin Irvine (anthropology, University of St Andrews

Louise Logan (literature, University of Strathclyde)

Annika Lonkila (environmental studies, University of Eastern Finland)

Laura Jean McKay (creative writing, University of Melbourne, Australia)

Melanie Ramasawmy (anthropology, University of Roehampton)

Harriet Smith (visual sociology, Goldsmiths University)

Eric Tourigny (archaeology, University of Leicester)

Chrissie Wanner (anthropology, University of Edinburgh)


Other invited PGRs were:


Andrew Ball (history of science, technology and medicine, University of Manchester)

Sune Borkfelt (literature, Aarhus University, Denmark)

Michaela Castellanos (literature, Mid Sweden University)
Nike Dreyer (contemporary art, University of Konstanz, Germany)

Stephanie Howard-Smith (literature, Queen Mary University of London)

Delia Langstone (surveillance studies, University of East London)

Nicole Mennell (Renaissance studies, University of Sussex)

Laura Paterson (history, University of Strathclyde)

Kate Pearce (applied linguistics, University of Birmingham)

Lloyd Price (history, Cardiff University)


The meeting was organised by Erica Fudge (University of Strathclyde) with the support of current Strathclyde PGRs Louise Logan and Laura Paterson.



See Laura Jean McKay’s post about the meeting (with photos) here.