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Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies

A Historical Collection


Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II and Amber E. George

Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection represents the very best that the internationally scholarly Journal for Critical Animal Studies (JCAS) has published in terms of articles that are written by public critical scholar-activists-organizers for public critical scholar-activists-organizers. This move toward publishing pieces about engaging social change, rather than high-theoretical detached analysis of nonhuman animals in society, is to regain focus for liberation at all costs. The essays in this collection focus on intersectionality scholarship within the realm of Critical Animal Studies, and discuss issues related to race, gender, disability, class, and queerness. Not only are these articles historically significant within the field of Critical Animal Studies, but they are integral to the overall social justice movement. Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection should be read by anyone interested in the Critical Animal Studies field, as we consider them to be classic writings that should be respected as foundational texts. There are many interesting and innovative texts, but these are historical, not only because they were published in JCAS, but because they were among the first to publish on a particular intersectional issue.

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Chapter Four: From Marginal Cases to Linked Oppressions: Reframing the Conflict between the Autistic Pride and Animal Rights Movements (Daniel Salomon)


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From Marginal Cases to Linked Oppressions

Reframing the Conflict between the Autistic Pride and Animal Rights Movements



Peter Singer and other activist-scholars have established the philosophical legitimacy of discourse regarding animal ethics; thus, animal ethics can no longer be dismissed as sentimentalism by the Western intellectual establishment (Best, 2009; Linzey, 2000, 2009; Webb, 1998). Nonetheless, the framing of animal ethics needs to be critiqued; a neurotypical bias remains implicit in the way animal ethics is typically framed, which keeps intact and perpetuates speciesism.1 Neurotypicalism privileges a form of cognitive processing characteristic of peoples who have a neurotypical (non-autistic) brain structure, while at least implicitly finding other forms of cognitive processing to be inferior, such as those natural to autists and nonhuman animals. Specifically, neurotypicalism privileges vermal reasoning (i.e., reasoning that relies heavily on the brain’s vermis) over other ways of knowing, being, and experiencing.

According to neurology researchers, the defining difference2 in brain structure between autists and neurotypicals may lie in the development of the vermis in the cerebellum (Belmonte et al., 2004; Courchesne, Yeung-Courchesne, Press, Hesselink, & Jernigan, 1988; Courchesne et al., 2001; Mitchell et al., 2009; Mostofsky et al., 2009). A fully functioning vermis cerebelli, found in neurotypicals, allows neurotypicals to develop an “abstract concept of the world” (Grandin & Johnson, 2005, p. 26).3 Much animal ethics discourses precede based on the unquestioned acceptance of this abstract...

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