The Animals in Society working group is a collection of researchers and research students based at Flinders University in South Australia, along with their affiliates. We are a disciplinary diverse group who research many aspects of human-animal relationships. We do this from conceptually and theoretically varied backgrounds which have in common a compassionate yet critical approach to the study of animals in society. Our conveners are Associate Professor Nik Taylor and Dr Heather Fraser, both from the School of Social and Policy Studies at Flinders University. You can find out more about our research (including current research projects calling for participants) and our members on their respective pages.
What is Human-Animal Studies?
Human-Animal Studies (also known as HAS, or Anthrozoology) is the study of human relationships with other animals. This relatively new field of study has grown substantially over the last few decades. It is now a rich and vibrant field encompassing research from the social and natural sciences and the arts and humanities. As broad as it is mutli-disciplinary, HAS includes research into all aspects of human relationships with non-human animals (across wildlife, domesticated and companion animal species). The primary motivation for the vast majority of this work is to improve the lives of nonhuman animals, by critically analysing their roles in the lives and cultures of humans. You can find out more about our research here, and about the field more generally here.
Aims of the Animals in Society Working Group
The working group aims to be a place where researchers can come together to discuss mutual interests in HAS. More than this, though, we aim to both legitimate scholarly interest in human-animal relations and, by doing, draw attention to the ways animals in society are treated with a view to improving their lives through research, debate, and attention.
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Animal Studies Topics at Flinders
Animals provide a great raft of benefits to humans, including humans in grief, managing diseases and disabilities, and those who have been abandoned, abused, traumatised and/or alienated. For practitioners across disciplines, roles, fields and modes of practice, human-animal interactions offer many exciting possibilities to connect with clients. For counsellors, there are many ways to think about animals and incorporate human-animal interactions into practice.The aim of the topic is to advance the knowledge and skills of students from relevant professional backgrounds about human-animal interactions with those experiencing loss,grief, abuse and trauma. This includes reviewing trends in human-animal interactions relating to loss, grief, abuse and trauma research and knowledge development, focusing on implications for counselling interventions.
This topic introduces students to the study of human relations with the natural world. It provides students with the opportunity to question taken for granted assumptions about nature, the environment and the roles of animals in society. Students explore historical and modern contexts within which human-animal relations and images of nature have developed. Through a critical inquiry into the ways in which we conceive of nature, the environment and other animals, students are introduced to a broad variety of sociological theories.