Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What is Anna L. Peterson reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Anna L. Peterson, author of Being Animal: Beasts and Boundaries in Nature Ethics.

Part of her entry:
The research-related book I’m reading presently is The Old Brown Dog: Women, Workers, and Vivisection in Edwardian England, by Coral Lansbury. My main research interest right now is companion animal rescue. It’s very different from the other social movements I’ve studied, for several reasons. One of the things that I find most interesting is how difficult this movement is to categorize politically. Animal rescuers are all over the political map, from very conservative to very progressive and often quite “apolitical.” They are often portrayed as individuals acting on behalf of other (nonhuman) individuals, without an overarching philosophy that connects their concern for some creatures to larger moral or political concerns. Many histories of the animal welfare movement reinforce this image by...[read on]
About Being Animal, from the publisher:
For most people, animals are the most significant aspects of the nonhuman world. They symbolize nature in our imaginations, in popular media and culture, and in campaigns to preserve wilderness, yet scholars habitually treat animals and the environment as mutually exclusive objects of concern. Conducting the first examination of animals’ place in popular and scholarly thinking about nature, Anna L. Peterson builds a nature ethic that conceives of nonhuman animals as active subjects who are simultaneously parts of both nature and human society.

Peterson explores the tensions between humans and animals, nature and culture, animals and nature, and domesticity and wildness. She uses our intimate connections with companion animals to examine nature more broadly. Companion animals are liminal creatures straddling the boundary between human society and wilderness, revealing much about the mutually constitutive relationships binding humans and nature together. Through her paradigm-shifting reflections, Peterson disrupts the artificial boundaries between two seemingly distinct categories, underscoring their fluid and continuous character.
Learn more about Being Animal at the Columbia University Press website.

Writers Read: Anna L. Peterson.

--Marshal Zeringue