7th Annual Students for Critical Animal Studies Conference April 2022

Students for Critical Animal Studies fully virtual conference April 2nd, 2022

Watch the video here.

Conference Schedule

The Student Vegan Society

1 November 2021 saw the launch of the inaugural volume of the Student Journal of Vegan Sociology, housed within, supported and published by the recently-founded International Association of Vegan Sociologists. This short presentation will introduce Vegan Sociology as a discipline, including some examples of how it can be used to reframe some classical theory and concepts taught in most undergraduate Social Sciences programmes, as well as introducing the Journal itself. Vegan Sociology is by its very nature intersectional, since it is impossible to discuss inequality and injustice without reference to the many oppressed, exploited and marginalised groups. Indeed, it has oft been a criticism levelled against certain theories that they fail to fully consider the circumstances of some of these different groups, though seldom have Nonhuman Animals been identified as the ones overlooked. Vegan Sociology rectifies this, putting Nonhuman Animals at the fore, whether through discussion of a particular species, or individual, by application of a theory to specifics of their subjugation, or through investigating veganism itself as a social identity and lived experience. The Journal is the first outlet of its kind for Sociology scholars to place work that applies the discipline from a vegan perspective, and is keen to hear from vegan Sociology students (at all levels) seeking an outlet for their academic expression. Peer review of Volume 2 is already underway, and examples from the first issue will be provided to allow the audience an insight into this exciting new approach

Lynda Korimboccus | University of East Anglia

An activist scholar, Lynda (she/her) has been a committed ethical vegan and grassroots campaigner since 1999. She is a passionate advocate for equity and justice and her PhD research investigates the experiences of young vegan children in key Scottish social institutions such as education. Lynda graduated Exeter’s MA Anthrozoology programme in 2019, and holds undergraduate Honours degrees in Philosophy, Politics, Social Psychology and Sociology. Writing independently in the field of critical animal studies, she is also Editor-in-Chief of the Student Journal of Vegan Sociology and has taught Sociology at West Lothian College, Scotland, for over 15 years.

Infrastructural approach to urban street animals of Istanbul: Contestation, violence, affectivity, and spatial visibility in Metropolis

Since the Ottoman Empire era, street animals in Turkey have been subject to several failed or absent regulations that may inhibit their protection. In the absence of robust animal welfare laws and well-established shelters as state-sponsored animal welfare infrastructures, the state abandoned animal welfare by placing the responsibility on the residents of the metropolis. This interspecies contact between the non-human and human residents of Istanbul is visible through resident-made informal infrastructures for watering, feeding, and sheltering and artistic productions in the landscape of the metropolis. Hence, as a city, whose landscape is decorated with visual work depicting street animals, and its streets are filled with resident-made informal infrastructures, Istanbul is a contested space of animal exclusion and inclusion. By holding a visual anthropological lens, I demonstrate how this interspecies interaction through the quotidian components of metropolis life: Animal shelters as formal infrastructures built by the state, informal resident-made infrastructures, the statues of beloved street animals, and animal graffiti scattered around the city. This research may potentially be expanded to women, LGBTI+ community, refugees, ethnic minorities, and all countless marginalized “others’’ who are being subjected to the distinctive forms of state-sponsored violence in the cores and edges of the city.

Ezgi Karaoglu | Michigan State University

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Ezgi Karaoglu (she/ her/ hers) is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at MSU. Before joining MSU, she was worked in the humanitarian field with refugees in Turkey for UN Refugee Agency and a national NGO for 6 years. This challenging experience allowed her to develop a critical approach to migration research and humanitarianism in general. Therefore, her research in MSU focuses on the macro-structural forces that drive international migration and humanitarianism. Some questions that she seeks answers are the way paternalism and power relations operate in humanitarian interventions and the placemaking strategies of the migrants in the city through multiple exclusion and inclusion patterns in urban spaces. Her academic guilty pleasure is thinking, observing, and writing on street animals and interspecies interaction.

Neither tokens nor checkboxes: BIPOC women in higher education

Two former and two current Ph.D. students share their experiences as women of color in an overtly white institution and aim to demonstrate how departments of sociology perpetuate systems of oppression. They argue that the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students in their department were dominated by disappointment. While working alongside faculty who self-identified as experts on structural racism, gender inequality, and intersectionality, BIPOC students endured race-and gender-based microaggressions that became increasingly difficult to withstand. The irony was not lost on them that, even though they were dealing with the same forces that contribute to an abuse of power everywhere, because their department claimed to study the origins of such power, they expected better. The Sociology Students of Color (SSOC) was born out of this disappointment. SSOC is an informal organization that has been a collective effort, to simply remind these women and their colleagues in the department that they are neither tokens nor checkboxes to be ticked off as evidence of a “diverse” department. More importantly, SSOC was born to demonstrate that the experiences and intellectual competence of BIPOC students are just as valid as whites. In summary, SSOC represents no longer waiting for permission from those who do not show themselves capable of wholeheartedly committing to students who are subjected to specific injustices as a consequence of their intersecting racial identities.

Angelica Ruvalcaba | Michigan State University

Angelica (she/her/ella) is a dual-major doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology and the Chicano/Latino Studies Program with a specialization in Women’s and Gender Studies at Michigan State University (MSU). She received her Master of Arts in Sociology from MSU in 2020. And in 2017, she graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and minors in Latino/a and Mexican American Studies and History. Her research interests include Chicana feminism, Latinx sociology, sociology of education, race/ethnicity, immigration, and social movements.

Madeline Nash | Michigan State University

Madeline (she/her) is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University. She received a BA in philosophy in 2012 and a BA in sociology in 2015, both from MSU. As an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwa woman), and Michigan native, migration has always fascinated her, specifically its impacts on indigenous communities. Consequently, her main research areas focus on migration, health and race/ethnicity. She is particularly concerned with understanding how patterns of colonization have impacted indigenous identities, and how colonialism has, and continues to affect indigenous people’s physical, mental as well as spiritual well-being.

Jennifer Lai | University of Vermont

Jennifer (she/hers) is the Andrew Harris Fellow for the Department of Sociology, Health and Society Program, and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Vermont. Drawing from feminist science and decolonial studies, she investigates how knowledge is produced on “the environment” within type 2 diabetes science. Jennifer received her PhD in Sociology from Michigan State University in 2021, and currently teaches courses on intersectional health and the American health care system.

Jihan Mohammed | Michigan State University

Jihan (he/she/hers) is originally from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. She recently received her Ph.D. in sociology from Michigan State University. She also holds an M.A. in sociology from the same institution. Her research is interdisciplinary and broadly focuses on ethnic and sectarian identities in the Middle East. She uses qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate how these identities are constructed and deconstructed in the MENA region. Specifically, she looks at how ethnic and sectarian narratives impact peoples’ attitudes and behaviors in Iraq

Animal Noises: Exploring the Value of Noise-Positive Research Methodologies for Animal Studies

In previous research in disability studies and sound geography, we have defined a methodology of “harsh noise based research,” which explores connections between harsh noise art and knowledge production concerning disability and space. In this talk and online harsh noise performance, we inquire with harsh noise into two themes: DIY/punk/anarchist social movements, and representations and perceptions of non-human animals’ sounds. Regarding DIY/punk/anarchist movements, we argue that activist cultures can be enriched by harsh noise, because it is an accessible art form conducive to easy and flexible non-hierarchical collaboration. Regarding animals, we argue that harsh noise art and research can critique the ways that animal sounds are sometimes perceived by humans as unintelligible, overwhelming, unpleasant, or distorted forms of human communication: in short as harsh noise. Opposing prevailing speciesist logic, we develop the concept “noise positivity” to characterize research methodologies that involve a normative and aesthetic valuing of noises emitted by non-human animals; in contrast to the dismissal, rejection, and denigration they sometimes receive. Through “noise-positive,” harsh noise-based research, utilizing harsh noise to process animal liberation activist interviewees’ responses to thematic prompts, we invite listeners and readers to reflect on these research subquestions: What makes animal sounds and noises intelligible or unintelligible? How is this distinction drawn, by whom? How ought liberatory social movements responsibly engage with and represent sounds, including noises, of non-human animals? How may animal noises be productively and respectfully integrated into the data-gathering, analysis, and dissemination of animal studies research?

S. Warren | University of Berlin

Sami Hopkins | University of Berlin

S. Warren is a sociology master’s student at the Free University of Berlin. As an undergraduate, they were mentored in engaged research about social movements. They are now involved with writing and participation in multiple consensus-based and mental disability-focused academic, professional and activist projects. They play music in bands and alone.

Sami Hopkins works as a practicing artist and independent curator. Across projects, Sami researches DIY, process-oriented practices and pluralistic forms of knowledge; which are devised and mediated through social/political experiences of disability, racialization, and supported through nonhierarchical community organizing.

Excerpts from Antediluvian: “Surly Pilot,” “Relentless Swordsman,” and “Contemptor Divum”

These three lyric poems, “Surly Pilot, Relentless Swordsman, Contemptor Divum” inhabit a larger worldbuilding project, set to music and ambient field recordings, entitled Antediluvian. In Antediluvian, several non-human animal characters rebel against and eventually overthrow a colonizing group of human characters, who have oppressed and exploited them while polluting the proximal environment and causing a fatal flood. From the humans characters’ distorted perspective, the non-human animals’ anticolonial inversion of speciesist power relations is a cruel tyranny. These narrative poems explore and critique speciesist ideology, art, and culture; by placing these in an unfamiliar, speculative, alternative future, in which a post-industrial society of humans never invented flight. The human characters enviously ridicule a bird whom they nickname the “Surly Pilot.” To express the technology-critical, anguished worldview of Antedliuvian, Languisher recorded its musical elements with one “Rock Band” videogame microphone in an untreated basement boiler room where they lived, slept on the floor, and socially isolated themselves throughout six weeks of recording. We invite you to sit back, Languish, and consume these excerpts from a morbid soundtrack to climate apocalypse. Sometimes, it can feel as though all one can do is Languish in wait for oblivion; this art was made for that time.

S. Warren | University of Berlin

Leon Troutloft | University of Berlin

S. Warren is a sound and performance artist, and a sociology graduate student at the Free University of Berlin. As an undergraduate, they were mentored in engaged research about social movements. They are now involved with writing and participation in multiple consensus-based and mental disability-focused academic, professional and activist projects. They play music in bands and alone.

Leon is a sound artist and performance artist, and an independent researcher in the United States. They collaborate in art-based research under the moniker “Languisher.”

The Potential Body-Mind-Spirit Benefits of Holistic Interventions for Intimate Partner Violence Survivors.

This presentation will consist of two parts. The first part will be presenting the empirically literature on holistic interventions that have been shown to be effective in supporting intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors in body-mind-spirit holistic healing. The integrative body- mind- spirit (I-BMS) (Lee et al., 2018) and holism frameworks (Micozzi, 2015), will provide theoretical support that healing occurs on multiple interconnected layers. The presenter will also show empirical evidence to support trauma being held in the body and the need for holistic interventions to support survivor healing. The second part will consist of spoken word poetry exploring one woman’s journey of holistic healing. A survivor of intimate partner violence (IPV), her journey took her to the lakes of Guatemala, to Academia, and back to herself. It will dive into topics of internal and external oppression and the mechanisms that can be used on an individual and collective level to break patriarchy and other forms of oppression from the inside out. Specific modalities of healing to be discussed are yoga, meditation, energy healing, and a vegan diet and lifestyle. This will also tie back into the information presented in the empirical evidence section. Anecdotal as well as research findings of body-mind-spirit healing for IPV survivors will be discussed.

Abbie Nelson | Michigan State University

Abbie Nelson (she/her), LCSW is a doctoral student in the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on holistic interventions and services for female identified intimate partner violence survivors. She is interested in creating interventions that address holistic healing and lead to empowerment and societal systemic change. Her work also focuses on the power of veganism to break internal and external oppressions and promote individual and global healing. She is a yoga instructor and has over 12 years of experience working as a therapist and advocate in the areas of trauma, domestic violence, sexual assault, and immigration.

Conference Organizers: Nathan Poirier (Graduate student of sociology at Michigan State University) and Sarah Tomasello (Graduate Student of Biodiversity, Wildlife, and Ecosystem Health at University of Edinburgh)

What is SCAS?

The Students for Critical Animal Studies (SCAS), rooted in animal liberation and anarchism, is an international association of students, from high schools, to online colleges, to graduate schools. These students are dedicated to the abolition of animal and ecological exploitation, and to dismantling all systems of oppression in hopes for a just, equitable, inclusive and peaceful world. SCAS Challenges students to view social justice from a more inclusive and intersectional perspective, while providing a forum for the meeting of academia and activism
This 7th annual conference will provide a platform for students, activists, and professors to assess animal liberation, oppression and domination theoretically and empirically. Our hope is that the conference will encourage both a productive reflection that challenges normalcy of systemic oppression and networking among those who do academic and pragmatic social justice work.