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When Apr 10, 2015 - Apr 12, 2015
Where Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Submission Deadline Dec 1, 2014
Categories    philosophy   human   animal

Call For Papers


A Symposium to be held at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, 10-12 April 2015.
The boundary between humans and non-human animals has been an integral part of philosophic discourse since antiquity, with mounting evidence of language, tool use and general cognitive abilities now leading scientists to contest its impermeability. These lines have been drawn and re-drawn in innumerable ways in imaginative literature, and the various ways in which humans perceive non-human animals have become the subject of study in various disciplines. Attempts to draw a boundary between human and nonhuman animals have involved the artistic imagination as well as philosophical reflection. Throughout the centuries philosophers and poets alike have defended an essential difference – rather than a porous transition – between what counts as human and what as animal. The attempts to assign essential properties to humans (e.g. a capacity for language use, reason and morality) often reflected ulterior aims to defend a privileged position for humans with regard to animals (which were, in turn, interpreted as speechless, irrational and amoral). While this form of humanism has come under attack through animal rights initiatives in recent decades, alternative ways of engaging the human-animal relationship from a philosophical and poetic perspective are rare. The conference thus aims to shift the traditional anthropocentric focus of philosophy and literature by combining the question "what is human?" with the question "what is animal?".
We welcome papers from several disciplines, including philosophy, religion, and literature. (The latter may include film, beast fables, bestiaries, fairy tales, myth, folklore.)
Papers may also address the topic vis-à-vis its intersection with
 Ecocriticism/Ecofeminism
 The Nature/Culture debate
 Liminality
 Gender/Sexuality
 Race
 Animal Rights and Speciesism
 Animals and Food
 The Discourse of Science
Selected papers presented at the conference will be considered for inclusion in a book project to be submitted to Lexington Books' Ecocritical Theory and Practice series. Please send proposals for a 20-minute paper to Nandita Batra ( Mario Wenning ( by 1 December 2014 with the subject line: HUMAN-ANIMAL SYMP PROPOSAL.

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