||This interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary conference invites an exploration of the concept or notion of “animal” in its own right and as visa a vis “human.” While humans are clearly classed as part of the animal world, we have a long and sometimes questionable history of both differentiating ourselves from animals and at the same time identifying ourselves with specific animals or unique animals’ qualities. The distinction-identification processes have manifested itself since the beginning of human history, when people started to draw images on cave’s well (35000-50000 years ago). In those first images people described wild animals which were present in their environment and their relationship with those animals and only then, they were able to describe the human figures as independent idea. The domestication of the first animals- dogs (+/- 15000 years ago) and other animals as following to it, contributed to this dual process as well. On the one side controlling the animals is a process of declaring the differences between human-animal species but on the other side, it is also a way to express hidden desires that maintain the wild sides of the human being. Both process developed with civilizations, social rules and regulations and has made possible the very survival of the human species but has also offered us inspiration and deep bonds which manifest themselves in our relationships with the animals around us. From the image of the divine Ganesh (the elephant god of Hinduism) to the billion dollar pet industry to the role of animals in our lives as commodities—food, clothing, and tools—we find human culture intimately connected to the animal world. And yet we have but a dim sense of what that world entails. This conference invites scholars from across disciplines to reflect upon the meaning of animals in our lives and in their own lives.
Topics will include:
The Mythic Animal
-Role of animals in tribal societies
-The animal as sacred
-Images of animals as source of the evil and of the divine
-Good animal/bad animal?
-Animals in rituals
The Animal/Human Relationship: The Pet
-The case against pets
-Pets as: substitutes for people, instruments for people
-Pets and human health; effects on well-being, mental situations, quality of life, disease, physical, ownership and health,
-Pets and human’s life cycle: what we are looking for at each stage….
-Pets and their effect on the living environment.
-Humane pets and inhuman people
-Animal abuse/animal use
The Animal/Human Relationship: Pets, Agricultural Animals, and Wild Animals
-Who gets the best deal?
-History of the 3 groups
-Differences in regulation and ethics codes
-Ethnics or cultural differences
Animal Rights/ Animal Welfare/ Animal Tools
-The commodification of animals
-Human vs. animal: points of conflict
-Regulation on animals’ rights
-What makes the wild into the domestic?
-What do we owe animals?
-Training animals vs. dominating animals?
-Animals as entertainment: zoos, circuses, rodeos
-Hunting/fishing/livestock: animals as sustaining force for humankind
Animals as Analogies/As Clues
-Animals and medical/scientific research
-Animal societies: kinship, family, friends
-Symbolic animals: the animal in literature art, rituals
-Research on animals’ social behavior and how does it relate to us
Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.