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Defining Critical Animal Studies

An Intersectional Social Justice Approach for Liberation


Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II, John Sorenson, Kim Socha and Atsuko Matsuoka

This is the first book to define the philosophical and practical parameters of critical animal studies (CAS). Rooted in anarchist perspectives that oppose all systems of domination and authoritarianism, CAS both challenges anthropocentrism and presents animal liberation as a social justice movement that intersects with other movements for positive change. Written by a collection of internationally respected scholar-activists, each chapter expands upon the theory and practice underlying the total liberation approach, the roles of academics and activists, and the ten principles of CAS. With apolitical animal studies and exploitative animal research dominating higher education, this book offers a timely counter-narrative that demands the liberation of all oppressed beings and the environment. Defining Critical Animal Studies will interest educators, students, activists, community members, and policy makers seeking accessible theory that can be put into action.
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Introduction: The Emergence of Critical Animal Studies: The Rise of Intersectional Animal Liberation: Anthony J. Nocella II, John Sorenson, Kim Socha, and Atsuko Matsuoka



The Emergence of Critical Animal Studies

The Rise of Intersectional Animal Liberation

Anthony J. Nocella II, John Sorenson, Kim Socha, and Atsuko Matsuoka

Great social movements arise from compelling ideas and theories. Sociopolitical action arises from those moments when one or one thousand individuals put theory into practice. The animal liberation, advocacy, and rights movements have emerged out of ideas, theories, and actions based upon the seemingly simple, but profoundly radical, premise that nonhuman animals are subjects with agency, not objects to be used as humans see fit. Today, the movement’s foundational theories and ideas are being expanded, challenged, and enmeshed with those of other movements and struggles. Critical Animal Studies (CAS) springs from this history.

Although it has much deeper roots, the modern animal advocacy movement is often seen as a development of the 1970s, following publication of utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer’s seminal monograph Animal Liberation. Singer compared the animal rights movement to Black, gay and women’s liberation movements. As Singer (1975) acknowledged, virtually all of the key arguments in Animal Liberation had been stated almost a century before in Henry Salt’s classic work Animals’ Rights Considered in Relation to Moral Progress (1894). Salt was a founder of the Humanitarian League, created in 1891 in England to create a broad coalition among radical thinkers who espoused not only animal rights but socialist alternatives to industrial capitalism, prison and education reform, and other progressive causes. Despite this...

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