MANCEPT Workshop - Animal Politics: Peace, Conflict, and Violence

September 11, 2023 - September 13, 2023
Manchester Center for Political Theory, University of Manchester

Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL
United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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This event is available both online and in-person


University of Sheffield
Yamini Narayanan
Deakin University
University of York


Loughborough University

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Animals face violence at human hands. Animals inflict violence upon each other, and sometimes upon us. And humans inflict violence upon each other to get access to animals (e.g., poaching) or to defend animals (e.g., militant activism). Constructions of animality may also lead to violence towards marginalized human groups, as intersectional thinkers have claimed. In response to these and other different forms of violence, human and nonhuman animals have engaged in practices of resistance and refusal. Though always conflictual, resistance is not always violent.

Making violence visible (e.g., Cubes of Truth) can lead to conflict and confrontation within the political community. This conflict only deepens as we try to find ways of living respectfully of all animals. This necessarily involves compromise and the surrender of human interests. Thus, our relations with other animals, and our attempts to bring about social justice for humans and nonhumans, are often the source of violence, conflict, and strife.

Under the current conditions of human domination, peace seems far away. Indeed, it is hard to know what interspecies peace would look like. Pessimists worry that peaceful coexistence with nonhuman animals is not possible, while optimists look to emergent human-animal communities to show us how we might live differently. Indeed, perhaps we can achieve peace only if we learn from nonhuman animals themselves, and enable them to co-shape future relationships.

For this workshop, we will bring together scholars of animal ethics, animal politics, and cognate disciplines to explore questions of regrettable violence, desired peace, and the conflict we face in moving from one to the other. Questions we hope to address include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What is the relationship between animal liberation and pacifism? Is violence on animals’ behalf ever permissible? In what circumstances?
  • What is the value of concepts of ‘violence’, ‘conflict’, and ‘peace’ to animal ethics and animal studies?
  • Should we use animals in war? What is the impact of war on animals? What about other cases of interhuman violence?
  • What would interspecies peace look like? Is this a future we should hope for?
  • How do or could animals contribute to political struggle and contestation? How should we think about animal rebellion and resistance?
  • When should humans protect other animals from violence? Does it matter if this is violence at human or animal hands? May we deploy violence against some animals for the sake of others?
  • How should we resolve political conflict over the status or treatment of animals? Are these problems resolvable?
  • How should we resolve conflicts between human and nonhuman animal interests? How should we adjudicate between competing moral claims?

Convenors: Angie Pepper (University of Roehampton); Eva Meijer (University of Amsterdam); Josh Milburn (Loughborough University).

Confirmed speakers: Sara Van Goozen (University of York); Alasdair Cochrane (University of Sheffield); Steve Cooke (University of Leicester); Yamini Narayanan (Deakin University) 

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August 1, 2023, 9:00am BST

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