This panel explores (1) the ways humans control animals as material before life, (2) how through intersubjectivity, other animals can communicate vulnerability and resistance, and (3) how anthropologists, through embodied action and experience, can imagine themselves into the lives of other animals.
This panel identifies with the 'creative bodies' cluster. Nonhuman animal matter is commoditised by human populations across the globe. From the bushmeat trade to zootherapeutic practices, from fashionable clothing to the scientific advances of trans-species organ-transplant, humans and institutions commoditise and consume other animal bodies with varying degrees of violence and, still too often, lack of moral concern for the increasing and compelling evidence of nonhuman sentience and complex consciousness. However, in the wake of Anthropology's animal turn which promotes the rethinking of human sociality in terms of more-than-human intersubjectivity, many anthropologists, sometimes alongside their participants, strive to explore how other animal bodies can be conceived as sites for the production of inequality and alterity. Thus, not only will this panel explore ethnographic examples where nonhuman animal lives are reduced by human cultures and social institutions to the status of functional/dysfunctional material, it will also show how anthropologists increasingly think of animal bodies as sites where they can witness expressions of vulnerability and resistance in other animals against their commodification. Further, this panel will place the onus on answering accusations of 'sentimentality' directed at anthropologists concerned with human-animal interactions and animal welfare. Paper proposals should explore the ways human-nonhuman relations are affecting bodies, and could include, but are not limited to, the slaughter of animals in large-killing plants, the control of bodies in zoos and circuses, the violence of zootherapeutic remedies or clothes, animal testing in biomedical research, or the control of animal reproduction.