Tainted Love: The Trials and Tribulations of a Career in Animal Studies

In: Society & Animals
Siobhan O’Sullivan School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales

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Yvette Watt School of Creative Arts, University of Tasmania

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Fiona Probyn-Rapsey School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong

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Developing an academic career can be exciting, rewarding and stimulating. It can also be challenging, disheartening, and highly insecure. Results from a survey of Animal Studies (AS) scholars identifies reasons why pursuing a career in AS might generate additional challenges, over and above those experienced by academics generally. For example, 44 percent of respondents stated that in their view, undertaking research in AS “creates challenges for an academic career.” This is compared to just 16 percent who thought that it is an advantage. Yet despite the challenges, there is much that is positive about AS. Participants described being in “dialogue with clever colleagues,” viewed their work as “totally engaging,” and reported feeling “morally useful.” This in turn affords AS scholars an authenticity that may be of long-term benefit in the competitive and constantly transforming world of higher education.

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