Show Less
Restricted access

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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

1 An Overview of Anthropocentrism, Humanism, and Speciesism in Critical Animal Theory Adam Weitzenfeld and Melanie Joy


← 2 | 3 → ONE

An Overview of Anthropocentrism,Humanism, and Speciesism in Critical Animal Theory

Adam Weitzenfeld and Melanie Joy

This chapter serves as an overview of the conceptualization of human existence as something superior and opposed to animals and animality. While previously given independent treatments, the concepts of anthropocentrism, humanism, speciesism, and carnism in this chapter will be differentiated and discussed as having mutually reinforced one another through constructing, legitimating, and reproducing a human-animal hierarchy and binary.

As shall be argued, anthropocentrism, which has narcissistically privileged humans as the center of all significance, is not an innate disposition but a historical outcome of a distorted humanism in which human freedom is founded upon the unfreedom of human and animal others. Nonetheless, the humanist aspiration to ground knowledge in reason through modern science has undermined the tenability of a human-animal binary and hierarchy, thus resulting in a critique of speciesist beliefs and institutions. Yet still, residue of anthropocentric thought is retained in the work of humanistic thinkers opposed to speciesism who take for granted the presuppositions of classical humanism.

Critical Animal Theory (CAT) scholars, including posthumanists and feminists, reevaluate the significance of dependencies, emotions, and the specificity of animal being and agency. Further, they aim to dismantle the structures of speciesism at the politico-economic, sociocultural, and psychosomatic levels of existence. Of all the ways humans are subject to speciesism, carnism—the unrecognized ideology that legitimates the killability and edibility of animal...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.