Monday, March 2 2015
Place and time: University Library – Belle van Zuylenzaal / Time TBA
This masterclass for PhD candidates and RMA students will focus on Sue Donaldson’s and Will Kymlicka’s political theory of animal rights. In their groundbreaking book Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights (2011), Donaldson and Kymlicka propose to shift the debate about nonhuman animals from moral theory and applied ethics to political theory. In their political theory of animal rights, nonhuman animals are seen as political actors. Different types of animals stand in different relations to human political communities, and although we should respect the basic inviolable rights of all animals, these different relations lead to different rights and obligations. Domesticated animals should be seen as citizens in shared human-animal communities, wild animals form their own sovereign communities, and liminal animals, who are wild but live amongst humans, should be seen as denizens. Zoopolis offers a new agenda for both the theory and practice of animal rights, as well as a new perspective on animal agency and human-animal relationships.
Sue Donaldson is an independent author and researcher. She is co-author (with Will Kymlicka) of Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights. Her current writing is focused on expanding and deepening the book’s model of human-animal relations based in conceptions of citizenship, denizenship, and sovereignty. She is also interested in practical applications of this model, and is on the Board of Directors for the newly established Zoopolis community – an intentional community of domesticated (primarily ‘farm’) animals and humans located north of Kingston. The goal of Zoopolis is to explore new forms of egalitarian inter-species community, both as a practical venture, and a theoretical model. The most challenging dimension of this model is its commitment to supporting the agency of animal members, enabling them to be co-creators of the shared community in ways that are meaningful to them.
Will Kymlicka is Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy at Queen’s University. His current research focuses on “The Frontiers of Citizenship”, and in particular on struggles to extend norms and practices of citizenship to historically excluded groups, ranging from children and people with intellectual disabilities to indigenous peoples and animals. All of these cases challenge inherited ideas of what defines the attributes of a (good) citizen, and in much of the popular debate and academic literature, attempts to extend citizenship to these groups is often seen as somehow diluting the fundamental values of citizenship. His work disputes this view, and seeks to show how these struggles for inclusion deepen citizenship in Canada and elsewhere.
Registration: Please send an e-mail including a short motivation and your affiliation to E.R.Meijer@uva.nl.