All Things Great and Small: Interdisciplinary Interspecies Community. Deadline 4/30/14

full name / name of organization: 
Interdisciplinary Animal Studies, UC Davis
contact email: 

All Things Great and Small: Interdisciplinary Interspecies Community

An innovative interdisciplinary conference of animal science and medicine, contemporary humanistic approaches, and other fields engaging the key problems and prospects of interspecies community, traditional Animal Studies, and current directions in order to challenge and provoke new work.

Keynote Speaker: Frans de Waal
Date: November 15-17, 2014
Location: UC Davis

Deadline: April 30, 2014

Submission Address:

Exciting new directions in Animal Studies are producing some of the most compelling contemporary scholarship across the entire academy. The UC Davis Interdisciplinary Animal Studies Research Group will host a three-day conference Saturday, November 15th through Monday, November 17th to explore work from the sciences and humanities through the conference theme of interspecies community. This innovative interdisciplinary conference will bridge new and established work in cognition and emotional experience, veterinary medicine, ethics and law, agriculture and food studies, and historical human-nonhuman bonds with historical trends and current directions in indigenous and postcolonial studies, post- and nonhuman theory, environmental studies, intersections with critical race studies, literature, and religious nonhumans to engage the challenges and prospects of new work in a more complete animal studies field.

Keynote speaker Frans de Waal is C.H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University. Dr. de Waal's work, including his work on empathy, humans and animals, and animal cognition, articulates interdisciplinary modes of animal research to inspire broad interspecies thinking in both popular and academic settings.

The conference will feature a Director's Talk and film preview of Canine Soldiers with filmmaker Nancy Schiesari, and has tentatively scheduled presentations by award-winning Companion Animal Veterinarian Ben Hart, Lynette Hart, and several group affiliates. Conference organizers are also confirming several other plenary speakers working in theoretical, historical, and other animal studies fields. The conference will feature interdisciplinary roundtables and we are working to organize special guided excursions to area animal rehabilitation centers including the P.A.W.S. Elephant sanctuary, the UC Davis Raptor center, and animal use facilities such as the UC Davis Meat Lab. Conference participants will be able to register separately for these events.

The conference seeks an open, innovative dialogue representing the diversity and complexity of working with and thinking about animals and other nonhumans. Proposals might engage these or other questions: How are species of life communicating with one another? What social, political, economic, military, religious, or other relationships have humans and nonhumans shared in the past, what do they share now, and what might they share in the future? What is at stake in human-animal relationships and animal use in medical and other scientific research? How should humans care about and for nonhumans, and how do nonhumans care for humans? What are the limits of human-nonhuman relations? In what ways might interspecies community be an impossible or even a disastrous concept? How have humans negotiated such questions in art, literature, and other forms? How are diverse fields collaborating across complicated disciplinary lines, and what are the results?

We invite individual paper or poster proposals of up to 300 words in length and/or complete panel proposals not exceeding 600 words total. Individuals may submit a maximum of two proposals. We also ask for a brief CV, not to exceed 3 pages. Proposals and CVs may be sent via email as Word attachments by April 30, 2014 to Please include your preferred name, title and affiliation, and full talk title at the top of your abstract. Select papers will be included in a publication based on conference proceedings.

The conference will take place at UC Davis, which has been at the forefront of animal research since its formation as a major agricultural and animal science school and has a strong core of Animal Studies scholars in multiple disciplines among its faculty and graduate ranks. Davis is located near the Sacramento airport and within 75 miles of San Francisco. Conference registration fees will be $40 for faculty and $20 for graduate students. Registration includes complimentary coffee and other beverage service throughout the conference, light fare, and a conference luncheon. More information on the group, local lodging, travel, dining, special sessions and excursions, and graduate student scholarships can be found on the Interdisciplinary Animal Studies Group website: