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Society, Politics, Animals and Materiality (SPAM)

New Brighton Park in Vancouver New Brighton Park in Vancouver with the Viterra grain terminal in the background

What is the relationship between capitalism, colonialism and animal life? How do we study the non-human? What unique ethical and political challenges do non-humans pose, especially in this time of escalating ecological crises?

Our working group digs into questions pertaining to animal life, the political ecologies in which animal lives are situated, and the potential for fields such as animal studies and post-humanism to challenge current research frameworks in studies that are devoted to human cultural politics. This includes recent work by scholars from post-colonial and critical race studies that urge a re-thinking of the academy’s orientation around the human, which is itself a category marked by the violence of European modernity’s global hegemony.

As such, we draw on scholars from across the university in fields not limited to feminist studies, queer theory, critical race studies, human geography, literature, cultural studies, post-colonialism, Indigenous thought, and political economy – as well as artistic production.


Rosemary-Claire Collard, PhD. Assistant Professor, Geography, Planning and Environment

Jesse Arseneault, PhD. Assistant professor, Department of English

  • Stephanie Eccles, MSc student in geography at Concordia
  • Rebekah Glendinning, undergraduate honours student in geography at Concordia
  • Juawana Grant, PhD student in communications at Concordia
  • Constance Lafontaine, PhD candidate in communications at Concordia
  • pk langshaw, professor and chair of design and computation arts at Concordia
  • Sylvain Lavoie, PhD candidate in humanities at Concordia
  • Kathleen Vaughan, CURC in socially-engaged art and public pedagogies, and associate professor in art education at Concordia

Talk by Dr. Claire Jean Kim
Thursday November 16, 2017, 7–9 p.m. Henry F. Hall Building, H-431, 1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. West

Abstract: This talk approaches the controversy over the killing of the gorilla Harambe in the Cincinnati Zoo in May 2016 as a unique window onto the making of animalness and blackness in the contemporary U.S. The construction of the “human” in relation to both the “animal” and the “black” is explored.

Bio: Claire Jean Kim is a Professor of Political Science and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. An influential scholar in animal studies, her work is at the vanguard of theorizing the intersections of racialization, animality and nonhuman life. Her most recent book, Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age (Cambridge University Press, 2015), won the Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association’s Section on Race, Ethnicity, and Politics.

Reading seminar is from 3 – 4:30 p.m. in room H-1252

Please email Jesse Arseneault or Rosemary Collard to sign up and obtain the readings.

A discussion led by Dr. Kim, on her forthcoming chapter, Abolition, in the publication, Critical Terms for Animal Studies (ed. Lori Gruen, University of Chicago Press), and a text by Jared Sexton (2010), People-of-Color-Blindness: Notes on the Afterlife of Slavery.


October 2, 6-8pm: "Multispecied lifecourses and the duelling temporalities of 'bucket list' adventures"

  • A talk by Constance Carrier-Lafontaine (member of SPAM). Room HH-1267

October 26, 5-7pm: "Animal Liberation Beyond Veganism: From social disobedience to civil disobedience"

  • A talk by Christiane Bailey (visitor to SPAM). Room HH-1267


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