Anthropocene and Animal Studies Reading Group

Anthropocene geospiralThe Anthropocene and Animal Studies Reading Group brings together a variety of scholars from different disciplines that are interested in pushing back against the centrality of the human in the humanities.

Expanding out toward the realm of the nonhuman, this group aims to bring objects of inquiry into focus that have often been relegated minor: organisms, things, animals, and assemblages. The readings that we discuss do not abandon the human altogether, but to the contrary, examine human embeddedness in the nonhuman world, and how human domination and manipulation of the environment overlaps with other forms of violence that are racial, gendered, and class-driven. We are interested in interrogating the ethical and philosophical implications of the turn to the cosmos, environment, species, and animals in literature, film, social science, and cultural practices.

We are a nascent cohort (founded in 2014) that meets monthly to discuss critical texts. Feel free to contact Aylin Malcolm (, Nicole Welk-Joerger (, or the Anthropocene Group email ( for more information.

Some of the texts on our 2018-2019 Calendar are from scholars who will be visiting Penn's campus this year. Look out for an asterisk (*) next to their name. We will also announce their workshops, lectures, and meetings on our listserv. 

Spring 2019 Calendar

Except where specified, these events will take place on the last Friday of the month from 12:00pm - 1:00pm at the Graduate Student Center (3611 Locust Walk). Feel free to bring your lunch to our meetings. Coffee is available for free in the Grad Center Lounge if you bring your own mug. 

Friday, January 25th - Marisol de la Cadena*, Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice Across Andean Worlds (2015) 

Friday, February 22nd - Jennifer Mae Hamilton and Astrida Neimanis, "Composting Feminisms and Environmental Humanities" (2018)

Wednesday, March 20th (12:30 PM at GSC) - Allison Cobb*, Green-Wood (2010) and Brian Teare*, Doomstead Days (2019)

Friday, March 29th - Mel Y. Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (2012)

Tuesday, April 2nd (12 PM) - Graduate Student Lunch with Allison Cobb and Brian Teare (registration recommended). This event is co-organized by the Poetics Working Group and will take place at the Kelly Writers House (3805 Locust Walk). Lunch will be provided.

Friday, April 26th - Val Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature (1993)

Fall 2018 Calendar

Friday, September 14th - Carlo Ginzburg*, The Cheese and the Worms (1976) 

Friday, October 12th - Eduardo Kohn, How Forests Think (2013)

Friday, November 9th  - Jennifer Scappettone*, ”Precarity Shared: Breathing as Tactic in Air’s Uneven Commons,” in Kim & Miller (eds.), Poetics and Precarity (2018)

Friday, December 14th - Anna Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World (2015)