Animal studies is a growing interdisciplinary field which seeks to understand how humans study and conceive of other-than-human animals, and how these conceptions have changed over time, across cultures, and among various scholarly modes of inquiry. Until now, this growing field has lacked a comprehensive introductory text appropriate for new scholars. Animal Studies: An Introduction fills this deficiency, providing the first holistic survey of the field.
General information -- The animals themselves -- Philosophical arguments -- Laws -- Political realities -- Social realities -- Education and the arts -- Contemporary sciences -- Major figures and organizations in the animal rights movement -- The future of animal rights.
The concept of speciesism, coined in 1970 as an analogy to racism, has been discussed almost exclusively within philosophical circles. Here, Waldau looks at how non-human animals have been viewed in the Buddhist and Christian religious traditions.
_A Communion of Subjects_ is the first comparative and interdisciplinary study of the conceptualization of animals in world religions. Scholars from a wide range of disciplines, including Thomas Berry, Wendy Doniger, Elizabeth Lawrence, Marc Bekoff, Marc Hauser, Steven Wise, Peter Singer, and Jane Goodall consider how major religious traditions have incorporated animals into their belief systems, myths, rituals, and art. Their findings offer profound insights into humans' relationships with animals and a deeper understanding of the social and ecological web in (...) which we all live. Contributors examine Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Daoism, Confucianism, African religions, traditions from ancient Egypt and early China, and Native American, indigenous Tibetan, and Australian Aboriginal traditions, among others. They explore issues such as animal consciousness, suffering, sacrifice, and stewardship in innovative methodological ways. They also address contemporary challenges relating to law, biotechnology, social justice, and the environment. By grappling with the nature and ideological features of various religious views, the contributors cast religious teachings and practices in a new light. They reveal how we either intentionally or inadvertently marginalize "others," whether they are human or otherwise, reflecting on the ways in which we assign value to living beings. Though it is an ancient concern, the topic of "Religion and Animals" has yet to be systematically studied by modern scholars. This groundbreaking collection takes the first steps toward a meaningful analysis. (shrink)