Reading Zoos in the Age of the Anthropocene


7 November 2019
17:15 - 19:00
Drift 25, room 102

Keynote: Lori Gruen, “Challenging Disposability”

Thursday 7 November
Drift 25, room 102

In remembering Marius, the two-year-old giraffe who was killed at the Copenhagen Zoo and then publicly dismembered and fed to lions in front of families with children, one can’t help but think about the message being sent. Though other zoos objected to the insensitivity and indignity of this public spectacle, spectacle is one of the main functions of zoos. In this talk I will explore the connection between displaying animals in zoos and the attitude of disposability that this particular use of animals engenders.

Lori Gruen is the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Science in Society at Wesleyan University where she also coordinates Wesleyan Animal Studies. Her work lies at the intersection of ethical and political theory and practice, with a particular focus on issues that impact those often overlooked in traditional ethical investigations, e.g. women, people of color, incarcerated people, non-human animals. She is currently working to unpack carceral logics by thinking through a complex set of issues like dignity, self-respect, empathy, disposability, and hope and hopelessness.