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Animals and Agency

An Interdisciplinary Exploration

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Sarah McFarland and Ryan Hediger

While many scholars who write about animals deal with animal agency in some way, this volume is the first to position the question of nonhuman agency as the primary focus of inquiry. Section I presents studies of actual animals demonstrating agency; Section II moves agency into new terrain while considering key representations of animal agency in literature; Section III analyzes animals as mediators and as conveyances of human-to-human communication;and Section IV investigates the agency of beings who defy conventional species categories. The Envoi demonstrates how the microscopic polyp is interwoven into notions of agency and mythical superagency. This volume's interdisciplinary explorations press hard on issues of agency to open up space for more questions about how we can understand relationships between the human and the nonhuman.
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Sarah McFarland Taylor

Abstract

This article explores the growing movement of environmentally activist Roman Catholic women religious in North America and the implications of this movement for theorizing new directions in religion and culture. Sisters' creative efforts to conserve traditional religious and cultural forms while opening up these forms to "greener" (ecologically-minded) interpretations reveals the very protean process of religious meaning-making. It also subsequently challenges more static and conventional theoretical models of religion. In particular, the author documents and analyzes the intertwining of bioregional philosophies of "reinhabitation," expressions of American Catholic religious life, and manifestations of "green culture." Integrating geographic, ethnographic, and historical methodologies, the author argues that when researchers approach the study of religion as "biogeographers," they discover complex levels of religious understanding and expression that are otherwise overlooked. Significantly, it is these frequently-missed dimensions of the religious landscape that more accurately reflect the "living and lived" quality of religion.

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Sarah E. Mcfarland and Ryan Hediger

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Sarah E. Mcfarland and Ryan Hediger

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Series:

Sarah E. Mcfarland and Ryan Hediger

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Series:

Sarah E. Mcfarland and Ryan Hediger