CFP: Kindred Spirits Conference: Humans and NonHuman Animals (1/15/06; 9/7/06-9/9/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Kara Kendall
contact email: 

Announcing A Call for Papers for
        Kindred Spirits: the Relationship Between Human and NonHuman Animals,
            An Interdisciplinary Conference

        Law, Race, Speciesism, Sexuality, Feminism, Ethics, Rights Movements,
Literature, Religion, Gender Studies, History, Science, Creative Writing,
Philosophy, the Visual and Performing Arts, Veterinary Medicine, etc.

Please visit the Kindred Spirits Website for information updates:

Dates: September 7-9, 2006
Place: Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

        Ever since ethicist Peter Singer's seminal book, Animal Liberation, was
published in the 1970's, a growing body of work has arisen to address the
moral, ethical, sentimental, emotional, economic, philosophical, legal, and
religious implications of human relationships with non-human animals. Pushing
against the contours of animal rights arguments and animal welfare arguments
(perhaps encapsulated in the phrase "empty cages versus larger cages"), what do
we envision for the future of our relationship with non-human animals? How do
we define "animal"? When we look at non-human animals, what do we see–----or
not see?

        Exploration of human relationships to nonhuman animals not only
provides intriguing academic and intellectual debates about the very nature of
what it means to be "an animal," but can ultimately have serious and meaningful
impact on the lives of real animals. We've come a long way since Descartes
nailed a dog's paws to a board, dismissing his cries of pain as autonomic
reflexes, in recognizing that animals are sentient beings. But what about
animal cognition, emotionality, and communication? How do we measure animal
intelligence? What are the very real implications of such attributes
emotionality and cognition, for example, in the treatment of animals used in
research and entertainment, or kept in zoos, and the conditions of farm
animals, particularly in the age of corporate farming? What about the discovery
that large numbers of slaughter house animals are alive as they are being
flayed and dismembered? Is philosopher and dog trainer Vicki Hearne right that
the animal rights movement has focused too much on the eradication of animal
suffering and not enough on the notion of animal happiness? If so, what does
animal happiness look like?

        How do representations of animals in the media (film, television,
reality shows, animal documentaries) and literature affect our understanding of
them? What does it mean to "consider" animals? Historically, what parallels
might we find in the structures of oppression of animals and the oppression of
human beings? Are analogies to slavery and the Holocaust (Singer, Coetzee,
Alice Walker, Charles Patterson) simply offensive, or useful and meaningful?

        This conference will provide a chance to explore numerous and complex
aspects of human and nonhuman relationships, with the purpose of bringing
together a variety of scholars, thinkers, creative artists, and animal lovers
from across a number of disciplines for what I hope will be a provocative
conversation. The following fields and topics offer some idea of what's being
encouraged: law, literature, philosophy, psychology, science, religion,
history, creative writing, visual arts ethics, morality, race, animals and
feminism, eco-feminism, animal cognition and communication, the emotional lives
of animals, the law and animals, the sentimental value of animals, the history
of human relationships with animals, veterinary medical ethics, cognitive
science, etc.

        The audience is likely to be a mixture of academics and non-academics.

                        Proposal Submission Information:

        Please submit a short, detailed proposal (250-500 words) for a
presented paper of no more than 30 minutes, along with a short bio and a
condensed vitae (2 pages max).

                        Regular Mail

You may mail your proposals by first class mail (please no fed ex) to my home

ATTN: Kindred Spirits Proposal
Alyce Miller
2000 E. 2nd Street
Bloomington, IN 47401


You may send your proposals in email text (please, no attachments)
with "Kindred Spirits Proposal" in the subject line to

Please include the following information on the proposal itself:

Your full name
Your preferred mailing address
Your email address
Your preferred telephone number

Deadline for proposals: January 15, 2006

Alyce Miller
Associate Professor of English
   and Creative Writing
Department of English
Ballantine 442
1020 Kirkwood
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405

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Received on Sun Nov 27 2005 - 16:45:46 EST