About Us

The Animals in Society group originated as a place for the founders to share their research in animal studies widely and to provide a platform for scholar-advocacy on behalf of other animals.  Professor Nik Taylor and Associate Professor Heather Fraser are the founders of the site.  Together we have been researching human-animal relationships for over thirty years. We are critical scholars who work to identify, challenge and change the multiple ways animals are oppressed in modern society. You can find out more about us below.

What is Animal Studies?

Animal Studies (also known as Human-animal studies, critical animal studies, 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, AS 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.

Who are we?

Professor Nik Taylor

nik and loki(Dr.) Nik Taylor is a critical and public sociologist whose research focusses on mechanisms of power and marginalisation expressed in/through human relations with other species and is informed by critical/ intersectional feminism. Nik currently works at the University of Canterbury in Aotearoa New Zealand where she is co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies and teaches topics in the Human Services and Social Work program that focus on human-animal violence links; scholar-advocacy; social change, and crime and deviance, particularly domestic violence and animal abuse.  Nik’s latest books include Ethnography after Humanism Power, Politics and Method in Multi-Species Research (Palgrave, 2017, with Lindsay Hamilton) and Companion Animals and Domestic Violence: Rescuing Me, Rescuing You (Palgrave, 2019, with Heather Fraser). 

More about Nik at her University of Canterbury page here.  Follow her on Twitter @animalsociology. Find many of her publications for download at researchgate and/or academia.edu

Associate Professor Heather Fraser

meg and shelby

(Dr.) Heather Fraser has been a social work educator for three decades and is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Social Work at QUT in Brisbane. At QUT Heather teaches social work students in both the Bachelors and Masters Programs. Since 2009 she worked as a Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor at Flinders University in South Australia, teaching topics such as Social Work with Diverse Populations, Reasons for Social Work, Ethics and Critical Reflexivity, Understanding Addictions and Human Rights Based Social Work Practice. Heather’s recent research projects relate to: a) understanding violence and abuse from an anti-oppressive practice perspective; b) the meanings diverse groups of people attribute to their companion animals; c) appreciating working class women’s experiences of university; d) domestic violence and companion animals; and e) dairy famers’ wellbeing and animal welfare practices. Heather is the (co)author of more than forty publications, including three books, In the Name of Love, Women’s Narratives of Love and Abuse (2008, Women’s Press, Toronto), Neoliberalization, Universities and the Public Intellectual: Species, Gender and Class and the Production of Knowledge (Palgrave, 2017, with Nik Taylor) and Companion Animals and Domestic Violence: Rescuing Me, Rescuing You (Palgrave, 2019, with Nik Taylor). She identifies as an intersectional feminist and critical social worker. More about Heather at her QUT webpage here: http://staff.qut.edu.au/staff/fraserh2/

Contact us

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You can also contact us by email: nik.taylor@canterbury.ac.nz; heather.fraser@qut.edu.au

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