Sam Cadman: the death of animals

As Carol Freeman notes in a footnote to her chapter in Animal Death, ‘what the term “animal studies” defines is still being debated’. The seventeen chapters of this edited volume range across historical, scientific, cultural, and artistic animal-related subjects. They reflect a self-conscious commitment on the part of editors Jay Johnston and Fiona Probyn-Rapsey to the transdisciplinary nature of this inchoate field of scholarship. Although the title and unifying theme of Animal Death might seem to betoken a narrow focus on confrontational questions surrounding the killing of animals by humans – which are at times addressed unflinchingly – in actuality the book’s compass is far wider. It is a text that will be of great value to novices and experienced animal studies scholars alike: the kind of book a reader should be wary of opening with a pencil in hand, lest she find herself underlining the whole thing.

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