Academic “Dirty Work”

Mapping Scholarly Labor in a Tainted Mixed-Species Field

In: Society & Animals
Rhoda Wilkie School of Social Science (Sociology), University of Aberdeen

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Human-Animal Studies (has) is an innovative field, tarnished by its politicized mixed-species subject matter. This paper considers how nonhuman animal scholars may also be tainted, for different reasons and to varying degrees, because of the academic “dirty work” they perform within has. As the field matures, tensions are emerging among this disparate scholarly group. These tensions are associated with the rise of Critical Animal Studies (cas), the extent to which animal scholars should engage in emancipatory-type scholarship and the appearance of the “animal as such–animal as constructed” axis within has. This paper draws on these intrafield tensions to form a potential framework that maps scholarly labor within has. As scholars begin to debate what counts as “good” and “bad” human-animal scholarship, this may engender the appearance of academic-moral havens. It is suggested that such enclaves may partly mitigate the personal challenges and professional stigma of working in a tarnished academic field.

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