Project Title: Global Midwest through Animal Lives

Project Description:
Our group explores the American Midwest through the lives of the animals who live there. As we are an interdisciplinary group, we use a variety of methodologies to pursue an ecological understanding of human relationships with other animals. From a sociological perspective we ask how these relationships inform our understanding of aging and death. From the perspectives of environmental science and bio-ethics we explore veterinary and agricultural relationships between humans and other animals. From an arts and humanities perspective we ask how our aesthetic and affective relationships might enhance or transform environmental and veterinary education. We explore the history and geography of our relationships with other species through transnational flows of animals into and out of the Midwest. We ask how animals circulate in human cultures and define human and other communities on the plains and grasslands of the American heartland. In pursuing these explorations, we seek to utilize or partner with a number of key sites in the Midwest, especially those that would allow co-presence with animals, such as state fairs; zoos; domestic, farmed, and wild animal rescues; veterinary schools; and the Chicago Board of Trade. We are looking toward large scale outcomes and anticipate the development of a future network of scholars and community partners across the Midwest involved in collaborative research projects, collaborative multi-campus teaching options, scholarly conferences, and public interventions and contributions in the form of exhibits, forums, performances, and mass media productions as appropriate.

Organizer Name:

Organizer's Contact Information:

Organizer's Departmental and University Affiliation:
Jane Desmond (Anthropology, University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign), Kim Marra (Theatre Arts and American Studies, University of Iowa), Mary Trachsel (Rhetoric, Univeristy of Iowa)