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Episode 486: Lori Gruen on the Importance of Empathy

By Jasmin and Mariann — May 04, 2019

This week, Mariann talks to Lori Gruen about the current state of the animal studies world, how new perspectives on animal activism and advocacy are expanding beyond academia and into activist conversations, her recent book Critical Terms for Animal Studies, the evolving role of empathy and how to direct it towards animals, and the danger of referring to people as “crazy cat ladies.”

Lori Gruen is the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University and the Coordinator of Wesleyan Animal Studies.  She is also a professor of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Science in Society. She is the author and editor of 11 books, including most recently Critical Terms for Animal Studies (Chicago, 2018) and animaladies (Bloomsbury, 2018); Entangled Empathy (Lantern, 2015); Ethics and Animals: An Introduction (Cambridge, 2011), and Ethics of Captivity (Oxford, 2014).

Gruen has been involved in animal issues as a writer, teacher, and activist for over 30 years. Her relationships with scholars thinking about animals, activists working to protect animals, and, perhaps most importantly, with many different animals, uniquely inform her perspective on how we need to rethink our engagement with other animals.  She has published extensively on topics in animal ethics and ecofeminism and has become known as a bit of an archivist for chimpanzees in the US given her work documenting the history of The First 100 chimpanzees in research in the US first1000chimps. (http://first100chimps.wesleyan.edu) and the journey to sanctuary of the remaining chimpanzees in research labs, The Last 1000 (http://last1000chimps.com).

In the intro to this episode, Jasmin and Mariann talk about frustrating conversations about climate change over Passover, and who should bear the responsibility for fighting climate change. They also plug the upcoming YEA Camp for Adults. After the interview, Mariann brings us some Rising Anxieties. More info in the show notes!

As always, the award-winning weekly Our Hen House podcast is hosted by Mariann Sullivan and Jasmin Singer.

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This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at awfw.org.

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The Our Hen House theme song is written and sung by the incredible Michael Harren, who is also OHH’s Director of Communications! Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.






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