Animalizing Appalachia: A Critical Animal Studies Analysis of Early Sociological Surveys of Southern Appalachia

Critical animal studies acknowledges the role that science has played in constructing and legitimizing categories of difference, particularly that related to species distinctions, evolutionarily ideas about group inferiority and superiority, and the goal of social development. As such, my research explores how sociological research has traditionally animalized its Appalachian subjects and used this animalization as an explanation or rationale for inequality.

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Essays

Women and Vegan Civil Resistance

Although vegan feminism is a relatively new theory of social change in the West, it has had a rich background with a variety of innovative tactics, developed by innovative women in the resistance. In “Vegan Feminism Then and Now: Women’s Resistance to Legalised Speciesism across Three Waves of Activism” published in Gendering Green Criminology (Bristol University Press 2023), Lynca Korimboccus joins me in exploring this history through the efforts of three outstanding activists we take to represent feminist approaches to anti-speciesism across three primary waves of collective effort.

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Essays

Veganism and the Problem of Cultural Diversity

In our postcolonial world, the high consumption of animal products is now related to aggressive Western marketing, heavily subsidized animal agriculture in Western countries that gluts global markets, exploitative and often violently enforced use of land and resources outside of the West (such as the destruction of the Amazon rainforest for beef production), forced removal of Indigenous communities, predatory lending and capitalist ventures led by global financial entities such as the World Bank, and increased consumer power made possible by globalization. Diets heavy in animal products are not culturally diverse; they are products of Western imperialism. The global majority cannot digest lactose (dairy) beyond the age of weaning (a normal process among mammals), and, as animal flesh is expensive to produce or shunned in certain spiritual practices, traditional diets of the world have been based in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and pulses. Plant-based diets are more cost efficient, sustainable, and healthful, accounting for their foundational and ubiquitous presence across almost of the world’s cultures.

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Essays

Collaborating Against Speciesism: The Oxford Group and Social Innovation

In The Oxford Group and the Emergence of Animal Rights, longtime Nonhuman Animal rights theorist Robert Garner and scholar-activist Yewande Okuleye bring substance to the hazy mythology surrounding the mid-20th century incarnation of Western Nonhuman Animal rights. Admirably, they do so before the knowledges and memories are lost to the ages, as the original members are well into their golden years with some having already passed.

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Publications

Irish Animal Activism (Animals in Irish Society, Episode 6)

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this live recording of forgotten Irish animal advocacy. Ireland lays claim to a fascinating history of human interactions with other animals that is both unique to the island and critical to larger international discourse. While it is true that Irish culture is historically tied to speciesism and its economy is especially dependent upon “meat” and dairy production, Ireland’s relationship with other animals is complex and sometimes forgiving.

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Animals in Irish Society

The Troubles (Animals in Irish Society, Episode 5)

This episode discusses the persistence of animality in Irish Republicanism in the late 19th century and the 20th-century protests under British occupation during the Troubles. While Britain applied animality to Irish rebels as a measure of control, the Irish would strategically adopt animality as an illustration of their oppression. The episode also discusses some mid-20th century vegan activists and their response to civil rights injustices of the era.

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Animals in Irish Society

The Great Famine (Animals in Irish Society, Episode 4)

Ireland has endured a number of colonialization attempts, including that of the Vikings, the Christians, and the Normans. However, British colonization in the 16th and 17th centuries was the most arresting and long lasting, dramatically manipulating property use, agricultural practices, and quality of life for humans and other animals alike. This episode explores the injection of industrialized “meat” and dairy production in the Irish colony and its implications for Irish wellbeing, culminating in the disastrous famines of the 1800s.

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Animals in Irish Society