The connection between nonhuman animals and incarceration discourses has never been more intimately associated. It seems one cannot discuss animal liberation without conversing about prison, whether that be in the form of imprisoned nonhuman animals or human prisoners incarcerated for their role in liberating nonhuman animals. As activists continue to be sentenced under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, prison becomes more realty than metaphor in human-animal studies. At the recent Let Live Animal Rights Conference in Portland, Oregon, former political prisoner Andy Stepanian served as the opening speaker. The synopsis of his talk asks, “what if you closed your eyes and woke up a prisoner? What if you were estranged from your family and labeled a convict? What if you lived your entire life in a cage? What if you were convicted and imprisoned for trying to set beings free from their cages?” It’s unclear whether he is speaking about nonhuman animals or his own incarceration, which is exactly the point. We are at a critical moment in history with mass incarceration and mass exploitation of nonhuman animals. This issue seeks to illuminate connections between animals and prison and to generate new ways of thinking through and tackling nonhuman and human oppression.
Possible Areas of Inquiry:
· Policing bodies
· Prison industrial complex and mass animal agriculture production
· History of prison reform and rise of the animal rights movement
· Nonhuman animal prisoners/ human prisoners
· Invisibility and incarcerated hidden populations
· Nonhuman animals in human prisons, such as dog training programs
· Linked oppressions
· Connection of race, animals and prison culture
· Prison abolition/animal abolition movements
· Discourse of prison in animal liberation material
· Capitalism and the animal/military//agricultural industrial complexes
· Caging, control, domination and power
Deadline: April 15, 2011
For further information, visit the Institute for Critical Animal Studies at: http://www.criticalanimalstudies.org/?page_id89.