The Minding Animals conferences are rapidly becoming a major event in the world of animal studies. This year’s conference, which will take place in Utrecht, is going to be outstanding, and I envy everyone lucky enough to be able to attend.
One of the particularly great things about Minding Animals is that it spawns so many ancillary events. For example, there are other things going on at or around the time of the conference in the Netherlands, including a conference at the International School of Philosophy in Leusden. But more importantly for those of us who can’t travel to the main event are the “pre-conferences” that take place at various sites around the globe prior to the main conference. Several years ago, we attended one of these at Hunter College and were impressed by the wide range of scholarship.
This year, the New York “pre-conference” is going to take place at New York University on October 14, 2011, and it’s particularly exciting that it will be timed to coordinate with the launch of NYU’s brand spanking new animal studies program. The topic for the day is intriguingly entitled, “Animal Studies: Changing the Subject?” and the speakers are, again, from a wide-ranging assortment of academic disciplines, including anthropology, ecology, ethology, sociology, social work, literature, and philosophy. So far, the list of speakers includes Ralph Acampora, Marc Bekoff (!), Jeffrey Bussolini, Susan Crane, Lori Gruen, Jacques Lezra , Susan McHugh, and Gary Steiner.
This conference is not only open to the public, but it is also free (though it does require you to register). This is a truly exciting opportunity for those who don’t have a chance to enroll in an animal studies program to learn about some of the topics and inquiries this new field is starting to tackle.