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Reframing Anthrozoology as Symbiotic Ethics

Online conference 3rd – 4th December 2021

The Exeter Anthrozoology as Symbiotic Ethics (EASE) Working Group at the University of Exeter is inviting abstracts for a conference which will explore some of the diverse ways in which ‘symbiotic ethics’ informs work on trans-species relationships and interactions. We are particularly interested in the intersections between professional and personal ethics, and how inclusive ethical decision-making and practice can or should be key to both aspects of our lives.

Provisional conference schedule now available.

To sign up to attend the virtual conference, please register your attendance on Eventbrite.

The conference speaks to and builds upon the founding principal contention of the EASE working group - that the recognition of other animals as ethically significant beings is both a necessary part of a sound understanding of human interactions with other animals, and a moral imperative. Our particular model of qualitative Anthrozoology places emphasis on (i) an empathetic ‘living with’ (symbiosis) or alongside other animals (either physically, for example with rescued companion animals or through working to improve the lives of animals in our daily lives, or indirectly, for example through ethical consumerism), (ii) a respect for other animals as autonomous subjects, (iii) an attempt to grasp, wherever possible, the perspectives of our otherthanhuman research subjects as well as those of our human subjects, and (iv) a holistic understanding of the context within which interactions occur. Moreover, we suggest that (v) academic research concerned with understanding these trans-species interactions should have some meaningful, practical application and ultimately improve the lives of our research subjects. Consequently, we propose that Anthrozoology should be reframed as Symbiotic Ethics, to acknowledge the inextricable connections we share with other life forms at a time when our collective futures hang precariously in the balance.

We welcome paper submissions on any aspect of trans-species interactions either viewed through the lens of symbiotic ethics, informed by or in dialogue with the principles outlined above. Some relevant themes could include:

  • Ethical challenges/conflicts
  • Compromises
  • Living symbiotically/sustainably/ethically
  • Care practices
  • Captivity
  • Consumption
  • Consent and resistance
  • Humane labour
  • Witnessing and emotional labour
  • Scholarly activism/advocacy
  • Novel methodologies, including multispecies ethnography
  • Death and grief

We will be hosting pre-recorded 5 minute lightning talks and pre-recorded 15 minute paper presentations, both followed by discussion.

Abstracts need to conform to the following model:

  • Type of session (5 minute lightning talk or 15 minute paper presentation)
  • Working title
  • 250 word overview of proposed paper content
  • 250 word statement regarding the ethical dimensions of the paper and how they engage with the EASE aims.* More details on the EASE aims
  • 100 word author bio

Please send completed abstracts to by 17:00 (BST) on 27th August 2021. Please include ‘Abstract submission’ in the email subject.

You will be notified of the outcome of your submission in mid-September. For those who are selected, we will do our best to offer you your first choice of session type but you may be offered an alternative. The deadline to submit the recording will be 17:00 (BST) on 12th November 2021.

*We are keen to create a space for deliberation and discussion of the ethical dimensions of being in relationship with other animals. As such, we invite contributions which may offer lively critique as well as those which chime with the EASE principles.

Witnessing and Worlding Beyond the Human virtual conference

EASE director Prof Samantha Hurn's recorded lightening talk from the Witnessing and Worlding Beyond the Human virtual conference

Anthrozoology as International Practice: A Student Conference in Animal Studies

4-5 March 2021 (online)

View programme

Anthrozoology as International Practice (AIP) was organised by PhD students.

The theme was ‘Emerging Voices’ and we welcomed presentations from  students and early career researchers in anthrozoology and related fields (such as humananimal studies, natural sciences or philosophy). This conference aimed to spotlight research being undertaken by students around the world, in the hopes of building a global support network.