Development for Species Symposium 2017

The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University, and the ‘Sociology & Animals’ Thematic Group of TASA

are proud to co-host a two-day symposium

Development for Species: Animals in society, animals as society

Deakin University, Melbourne City campus, September 18-19, 2017

Keynote presenters: Nik Taylor & Maneesha Deckha

Nonhuman animals are typically marginalised by the anthropocentric focus of traditional scholarship in both development and sociology. As social scientists increasingly recognise nonhuman animals as critical members of society who co-produce ‘the social’ along with other animals, we are presented with the opportunity to consider nonhuman animals as more than passive companions, commodities or environmental resources. The Development for Species symposium aims to bring together scholars conducting research about, for, and/or with nonhuman animals.

We are interested in what provocations and implications the framing of animals as ‘social’ can open for development discourse and practices. Hitherto, development has been complicit in invisibilising sentient nonhuman animals in the name of development, and in the violent objectification of animals, especially those designated as ‘food’. In the Anthropocene, the geologic age where humans are believed to be significantly responsible for climate change, species destruction, and the sixth mass extinction, there is urgent need to understand ecological and social realities beyond only human worlds (Rose 2009). It is increasingly important to plan for species – including the humans as species (Blue 2015). However, in addition to the overwhelming concerns for planetary environmental sustainability, there are increasingly reasons to be cognisant of the violent impacts of development on the animals.

The symposium aims to introduce nonhuman species, particularly farmed animals, into the development discourse as stakeholders, and critical members of societies, rather than their current status as environmental/economic commodities in development. With the rise of human-animal scholarship, development scholars are increasingly recognising the importance of including non-human animals in our academic endeavours, and the urgency of studying animals as actors, as well as subjects of marginalisation in societies. Together with the mounting evidence that directly link animal agriculture to planetary catastrophes like climatic change, the impetus to examine the role of animals in our shared species ecological and social worlds is of growing urgency.