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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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2 Ecological Defense for Animal Liberation: A Holistic Understanding of the World Amy J. Fitzgerald and David Pellow


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Ecological Defense for Animal Liberation

A Holistic Understanding of the World

Amy J. Fitzgerald and David Pellow

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.         —Martin Luther King Jr.

There is now widespread acknowledgment in the social sciences that social inequalities are interconnected. It has become increasingly common to refer to the intersections among race, class, gender, and sexuality (among other social locations) using metaphors, including prism of differences and matrix of inequalities. The implication of this way of understanding inequality is that individuals are multiply situated and that understanding one’s social positioning requires analyzing an array of intersecting hierarchies. It has become evident that we can no longer assume that the experience of sexism, for example, is the same for all racial-ethnic groups and social classes. These conceptual developments are constructive and have made our understanding of social inequalities more sensitive and nuanced.

Another axis of inequality, however, remains obscured in the vast majority of analyses. This axis is constructed with humans as agential subjects creating culture on one hand and nonhuman animals and the environment as objects and cast as “nature” on the other. Although a growing number of academics and activists are attending to this specific axis of inequality, it is critical to conceptualize and engage with it as intersecting with other forms of inequality. Failure to do so obscures the ways in which these forms of inequality are interdependent and mutually...

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