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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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4 One Struggle Stephanie Jenkins and Vasile Stănescu


← 73 | 74 → FOUR

One Struggle

Stephanie Jenkins and Vasile Stănescu

Critical Animal Studies (CAS) rejects the exploitation of animal life as an ontological, epistemological, and ethico-political strategy. It disrupts the anthropocentrism that produces the “human” as a set of cognitive and morphological criteria for moral considerability. Furthermore, it requires the rejection of three key assumptions that govern ethical and political theory: (1) the dichotomy between theory and practice, (2) the ethico-political significance of species membership, and (3) the isolation of animal liberation movements from human concerns (Best, 2009; Jenkins, 2012). Specifically, this chapter explains the sixth principle of CAS. Namely it:

rejects reformist, single-issue, nation-based, legislative, strictly animal interest politics in favor of alliance politics and solidarity with other struggles against oppression and hierarchy. (Best, Nocella, Kahn, Gigliotti, & Kemmerer, 2007, p. 5)

Stated differently, CAS scholars champion the “one struggle” against all forms of domination. We contest the naturalness of the human-animal dichotomy and reveal how the interlocking of classicism, ableism, nationalism, gender norms, and racism contribute to the oppression of all animals, whether human or nonhuman. CAS articulates the call to respond to the violence perpetuated in the name of such norms; veganism is the corresponding commitment to minimizing violence against all (human or nonhuman) animal life.

← 74 | 75 → In responding to this one struggle against exploitation, CAS deploys veganism as a stratagem for practicing and cultivating the experience of freedom; it is a technology...

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