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IPP Workshop Series: An Introduction to Cultural Literary Animal Studies (Liza Bauer)

When Jan 28, 2020
from 02:00 to 04:00
Where Phil I, Building B, R.025
Contact Name
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This workshop is an introduction to the field of cultural literary animal studies (CLAS). Permeating nearly all academic disciplines, the ‘animal turn’ has caused researchers to focus attention on other-than-human life. In the face of biodiversity loss, environmental crises, and the scarcity of resources, animal studies scholars try to re-think human-animal relations and coexistence. Since the 1990s, the Humanities increasingly seek to re-conceptualize animals as active participants in all sorts of cultural productions (cf. McHugh 490). Exploring their contribution to this development, literary animal studies today are concerned with re-conceptualizing not only storytelling modes but also their methods of analysis. In order to attentively study the stories emerging from human-animal entanglements, animals and their textual representations are discussed “as agents who are not just humanlike subjects or thinglike objects, but actors of a different order” (Marvin and McHugh 5). Along these lines, recent literary animal studies projects as outlined by McHugh (2009, 2011), Borgards (2016), and Herman (2018) explore the ways these multi-species stories both shape and are shaped by material creaturely life.


The session will open with a discussion of some famous animal characters in literature and film. Following introductory input on the emergence of this burgeoning discipline and its central representatives, the core practice of how to do an “animal reading” as outlined by Borgards (2016) will be explained. Subsequently, several textual examples will be formally analyzed in terms of animal agency, narration, and focalization, so that the participants will gain insight into the practice of CLAS.


As an introduction, this workshop is open to students and researchers of all levels, especially those who are interested in understanding how to approach this complex matter with adequate tools and current perspectives.


If you are interested, please register via


Quoted Works

  • Borgards, Roland. Tiere: Kulturwissenschaftliches Handbuch, J.B. Metzler Verlag, 2016.
  • Herman, David. Narratology beyond the human: Storytelling and animal life, Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • Marvin, Garry, and Susan McHugh. Routledge Handbook of Human-Animal Studies. First edition, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2014. Routledge international handbooks.
  • McHugh, Susan. “Literary Animal Agents.” PMLA, vol. 124, no. 2, 2009, pp. 487–95.
  • McHugh, Susan. Animal Stories: Narrating Across Species Lines, University of Minnesota Press, 2011. Posthumanities.
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