New Academic Partnership, Fellowship Advances Animal Studies

Lori Gruen (left) and Kari Weil

Wesleyan University and the Animals and Society Institute (ASI) have formed a partnership and will offer the “ASI-WAS Human-Animal Studies Summer Fellowship” in 2011 through Wesleyan’s recently-launched College of the Environment.

The ASI-WAS Human-Animal Studies Summer Fellowship marks the launch of Wesleyan Animal Studies (WAS), which will advance the rapidly growing field of Animal Studies and foster scholarship on human-animal relations from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.

The fellowship will be hosted by Wesleyan faculty Lori Gruen and Kari Weil. Gruen is chair and associate professor of philosophy, associate professor of environmental studies, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies at Wesleyan, and author of  Ethics and Animals: An Introduction (Cambridge, Feb. 2011). Weil is a visiting professor of letters at Wesleyan, and author of Thinking Animals: An Introduction (Columbia, 2011).

The ASI’s Human-Animal Studies Fellowship Program was started in 2007 by its executive director, Kenneth Shapiro, and is co-directed by Margo DeMello. It previously has been hosted at North Carolina State University, Michigan State University, Duke University, and Clark University.

Animal Studies (also known as Human-Animal Studies) is an emerging interdisciplinary field that examines past and present relations between human and nonhuman animals, including the ethical implications and social, political, and ecological effects they have in and on the world.

Wesleyan’s College of the Environment was created in 2009 with a belief in the resilience of the human spirit and a desire to engage students and scholars in discussions about environmental issues and their social and political impact.

Animal Studies is among the core programs of the Animals and Society Institute, an independent nonprofit research and public policy organization based in Ann Arbor, Mich. The ASI edits an academic journal, Society & Animals, the Brill Human-Animal Studies book series, a teacher’s guide to course development (Teaching the Animal), and related publications.

In addition to offering the fellowship, the ASI and WAS will work together to develop expanded related programs in 2011 and beyond.