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Education for Total Liberation

Critical Animal Pedagogy and Teaching Against Speciesism


Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II, Carolyn Drew, Amber E. George, Sinem Ketenci, John Lupinacci, Ian Purdy and Joe Leeson-Schatz

Education for Total Liberation is a collection of essays from leaders in the field of critical animal pedagogy (CAP). CAP emerges from activist educators teaching critical animal studies and is rooted in critical theory as well as the animal advocacy movement. Critical animal studies (CAS) argues for an interdisciplinary approach to understanding our relationships with nonhuman animals. CAS challenges two specific fields of theory: (1) animal studies, rooted in vivisection and testing on animals in the hard sciences and (2) human-animal studies, which reinforces a socially constructed binary between humans and animals and adopts abstract theoretical approaches. In contrast, CAS takes a progressive and committed approach to scholarship and sees the exploitation of nonhuman animals as interrelated with oppression of humans based on class, gender, race, ability, sexuality, age, and citizenship. CAS promotes the liberation of all animals and challenges all systems of domination. Education for Total Liberation is appropriate for undergraduate and graduate level readers (and beyond) who wish to learn from examples of radical pedagogical projects shaped by CAS and critical pedagogy.

Contributing to this collection are Anne C. Bell, Anita de Melo, Carolyn Drew, Amber E. George, Karin Gunnarsson Dinker, Sinem Ketenci, John Lupinacci, Anthony J. Nocella II, Sean Parson, Helena Pedersen, Ian Purdy, Constance L. Russell, J.L. Schatz, Meneka Repka, William E. Shanahan III, and Richard J, White.

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7. “We are one lesson”: Some Reflections on Teaching Critical Animal Geographies Within the University (Richard J. White)


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7.   “We are one lesson”: Some Reflections on Teaching Critical Animal Geographies Within the University



For activist-scholar educators aiming to raise consciousness around a radical intersectional politics, one that fully recognizes the interspecies struggle for social justice and total liberation, the university has long been an important site of struggle and contestation (Lupinacci, 2015; Nocella, Sorenson, Socha, & Matsuoka, 2014; Nocella, White, & Cudworth, 2015; Pellow, 2014). Drawing on some notable experiences rooted in my Human Geography module, “Philosophy, Space and Place” this chapter speaks of the possible transformative abilities that critical pedagogy/ies can bring within and beyond academia. Before doing so however, it is important that the significant pressures and vulnerabilities that activist-scholars experience within a higher education are not be overlooked. In this context, I wish to acknowledge the partiality of the situated sociospatial experiences that will be described in this chapter, filtered as they are through my own unearned privileges of being white, cis-male, heterosexual, and a senior academic at a UK university with a permanent contract. Despite this working within the university in ways that invites, for example, (1) critical reflection on everyday human–animal geographies rooted in speciesism, violence, and oppression; and (2) arguing for anarchist vegan geographies rooted in peace, social justice, and freedom has often proved an alienating and demoralizing experience. Indeed, agitating for social justice in an increasingly neoliberalized institution can also be tantamount to committing...

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