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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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10. Building Alliances for Nonhuman Animals Using Critical Social Justice Dialogue (Amber E. George)


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10.   Building Alliances for Nonhuman Animals Using Critical Social Justice Dialogue


I am writing this essay within the context of the social justice scholar-activism I have done in Critical Animal Studies (CAS), Eco-ability Studies, and Critical Dialogue. As I write this, conflicts are raging among activists, scholars, and other groups seeking to improve the lives of nonhumans and freeing humans and nonhumans alike from confinement. The conflicts I’m referring to are based on differing perspectives about animal liberation or how to best help nonhumans. Conflicts are often made worse by the complicated nature of identity politics that can generate misunderstanding and prejudice based on one’s racial identity, disability status, religion, species, gender, and so on. Inadequately addressing such conflict can hamper nonhuman liberation and also other social justice efforts. Central to diffusing these conflicts is developing one’s ability to be an effective ally. Allies are “people who recognize the unearned privilege they receive from society’s patterns of injustice and take responsibility for changing these patterns” (Bishop, 2017). This definition suggests an effective ally is reflective, able to communicate well, and take action when it is warranted. However, developing introspection can be a daunting task as many people fall into dualistic or binary thinking that can cause one to avoid carefully examining patterns of injustice and one’s beliefs (Perry, 1970). This chapter suggests that critical dialogue can be used as an experiential learning pedagogy that encourages a healthy...

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