Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.791988
Title: Recovering a black American tradition of animal advocacy
Author: McCarthy, Lauren May
ISNI:       0000 0004 8504 5557
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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Abstract:
This thesis examines multiple understandings of animals and their oppression, foregrounding black-authored sources to recover a black American tradition of animal advocacy. It explores the complexities of advocating for animals when black women and men, from the mid-nineteenth century through to the early twenty-first century, fought for their own survival in the Abolitionist movement, through Black Feminist activism, and in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. Ideas communicated by black Americans that encouraged empathy and respect towards animals, and challenged their use and abuse by humans, are placed into conversation with secondary Black Feminist and Critical Animal Studies literature. Demonstrating that black Americans shaped the thinking as well as the doing of animal advocacy, this thesis contends that the documenting of ideas was activism as much as attending protests or hosting fund-raising benefits. This thesis identifies four themes to showcase how black Americans understood animals, in changing political contexts. It discusses how black writers used animalising language to condemn whiteness and the institution of slavery, how they frequently described animals using anthropomorphism, to construct more-than-human-families and blur the categories of human and animal, how they perceived exploitative labour to be a shared site of oppression between racialised humans and animals, and how consuming animal bodies as food fit within anti-racist, feminist struggles. The central contribution of this thesis is its placing of black American thinking on animals and their oppression at the forefront of discussion, challenging perceptions that historically animal advocacy was an issue predominantly forwarded by middle-class, white men only. It paints a nuanced picture of black American animal advocates and considers how black American thinkers held ideas that were regressive and progressive for animal lives, across lifetimes moulded by experience of and resistance to white supremacy, enriching understandings of the black American intellectual tradition.
Supervisor: Dossett, Kate ; Denton, Georgina Sponsor: White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities ; Leonard and Louise Riggio Fellowship ; University of Leeds
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.791988  DOI: Not available
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