Critical Animal Studies

Department of Sociology

Critical Animal Studies

New Perspectives

The Department of Sociology at Brock University is a leader in the new, rapidly-growing field of Critical Animal Studies (CAS). Brock was one of the first Universities in Canada to offer courses on animals and society. Our range of courses is comprehensive and challenging. The Department of Sociology's Concentration and Minor in Critical Animal Studies offers students a new perspective on our relations with the world around us. Students can also study CAS at the graduate level in both the MA in Critical Sociology and MA in Social Justice and Equity Studies. 

For more information about the CAS Minor and Concentration, or to declare a Minor or Concentration, please write to Academic Advisor Viola Bartel ( Students who are not declared in either the Minor or Concentration are still very welcome to take CAS courses in Sociology. 

What is Critical Animal Studies?

In recent decades a new field has developed to study the role of animals in human societies. Known variously as Anthrozoology, Human-Animal Studies, or Critical Animal Studies, this research draws on multidisciplinary research to develop new ways of thinking about animals and animal-human relationships.

Questioning these attitudes, CAS examines animal-human relationships, the role of animals in human societies, the boundary between humans and animals, representations and images of animals and our ethical duty toward animals.

Brock's Department of Sociology adopts theoretical perspectives that focus on the emancipation of those who have been historically marginalized and offer possibilities for progressive social change. We look at issues of speciesism and animal exploitation as patterns of inequality comparable to those related with age, ability, gender, sexuality, race, environment and social class. 

Karen Davis visits Brock University

On March 10, 2015 Dr. Karen Davis spoke at Brock University to students and the public with an interest in Critical Animal Studies.

Before her presentation, she responded to questions from Professor John Sorenson from the Department of Sociology.

Daniel Klimowicz recorded and edited Dr. Davis’s responses, which we are pleased to present. They provide insight into the nature and the goals of Critical Animal Studies.

On becoming an activist

On animals and education

On Factory Farming

Bio for Karen Davis, PhD

Karen Davis is the founder and president of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl including a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia. She is the author of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry; More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality; The Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale: a Case for Comparing Atrocities; A Home for Henny; and Instead of Chicken, Instead of Turkey: A Poultryless “Poultry” Potpourri.

Dr. Davis has chapters in Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice; Experiencing Animal Minds: An Anthology of Animal-Human Encounters;Defining Critical Animal Studies: An Intersectional Social Justice Approach to Liberation; Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations; Critical Animal Studies: Thinking the Unthinkable; Critical Theory and Animal Liberation; and Terrorists or Freedom Fighters: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals.

In 2002 Karen Davis was inducted into the National Animal Rights Hall of Fame for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Liberation.

See United Poultry Concerns website