animal/language, an interdisciplinary conference
March 21-23, 2019
An exciting interdisciplinary animal studies conference took place March 21-23 in Lubbock, Texas on the campus of Texas Tech University, highlighting inter-species communication from classical to contemporary periods, through literature, philosophy, and real-life engagement with non-human animals. The international conference brought together scholars from literature, history, anthropology, philosophy, religious studies, the visual arts, the psychological sciences, and companion animal science conducting research in diverse historical, cultural, social, and philosophical contexts. The multi-day event was organized by the “Animal” in the Humanities Research Group at TTU, comprised of Dr. John Beusterien (Spanish), Dr. Belinda Kleinhans (German), Dr. Katy Schroeder (Animal & Food Sciences), Dr. Lucas Wood (French), Dr. Pamela Zinn (Classics), in collaboration with Joe Arredondo (Landmark Arts) and Dr. Kevin Chua (Art History), on the occasion of the 51st Comparative Literature Symposium.
Alongside engaging with insects, birds, canines, and other varied animal experiences, of particular interest for Equine History were the keynote lectures and a unique live practice session with therapy horses for conference attendees modeling Interspecies Nonverbal Communication.
Susan McHugh, “The Language of Swarms in Theory and Fiction”
Professor of English at the University of New England. She is the author of Animal Stories: Narrating across Species Lines (2011), a volume in the University of Minnesota Press’s Posthumanities series, as well as Dog (2004), a volume in Reaktion Books’ groundbreaking Animal series. With colleagues in the UK, she co-edited The Routledge Handbook of Human-Animal Studies (2014) and Literary Animals Look (2013), a special issue of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture. McHugh is Series Co-editor of Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature, the first academic book series devoted to literary animal studies. As well as serving as the Humanities Managing Editor for the scholarly journal Society and Animals, she is Editorial Board Member of Animalibus: Of Animals and Cultures (academic book series); Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture; Animal Studies Journal; Environment and History; H-Animal Discussion Network; and Humanimalia: A Journal of HumanAnimal Interface Studies.
Robin Foster, “Anthropomorphism in Human-Horse Interactions”
Dr. Foster teaches Behavioral Studies of Zoo Animals at the University of Washington and co-instructs a six-week online course titled “Resolving FearBased Behavior in Horses” through the IAABC. In her consulting practice, Dr. Foster works with horses and dogs that present with serious behavior issues. Dr. Foster currently chairs the Animal Behavior Society’s Applied Animal Behavior Committee and holds professional certifications as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and as a Certified Horse Behavior Consultant.
Katy Schroeder and Tangi Irwin, “Equine Nonverbal Communication in Therapeutic Settings: The Role of Equine Behavior and Temperament Assessments in Creating Optimal Experiences for Humans and Horses”
Katy Schroeder is Assistant Professor of Companion Animal Science, Texas Tech University, and Director of the Equine-Assisted Counseling and Wellness Research Lab and Community Clinic at the Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding and Therapy Center. She a registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH, Intl.).
Tangi Irwin is Program Director, Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding and Therapy Center, a PATH, Intl. Advanced Therapeutic Riding Instructor, and Special Olympics Equestrian Coach.
Ranching Heritage Center (RHC) at Texas Tech
The conference closed with a site visit to the Ranching Heritage Center, a museum for public education about ranching, management of local ranching heritage buildings and collections, and publisher of The Ranch Record and Rangeland Issues