Thesis title - 'Critical Anthropomorphism and Multi-species Ethnographies: A sensory ethnographic investigation of animal behaviour expertise'
- Dr Richie Nimmo
- Dr Sophie Woodward
BA in Sociology (1st) Goldsmiths, University of London. Dissertation: Hungry Bodies: Yuk, Yum and the Suspended Space of Invitation: A theatrical investigation of the somatically-felt body.
MA in Social Research (with Distinction) Goldsmiths, University of London. Thesis Title: Names, Natural Behaviour and Neoteny: The Representational Politics of Nonhuman Animal Subjectivities in Animal Protection Campaigns
My PhD research is an empirical investigation of a field often referred to as ‘critical anthropomorphism’ an approach which recognizes that human and nonhuman animal experience may be shared, but which rejects ‘anthropocentric’ assumptions about what animals might experience in favour of a more ‘animal-centric’ appreciation of physiological and phenomenological difference. To do this I am exploring different understandings of nonhuman animal selves and minds by animal behavior experts from divergent disciplines. From farm veterinarians to Tellington Touch healers, and even to those who spend time living as nonhuman animals, I’m exploring the ‘special skills’ that animal behavior experts possess. In particular, how do they identify alterity and the ‘animal-ness’ of the animal’ whilst also allowing humans to relate to their experience in meaningful ways? I’m interested in these tensions. I’m also exploring how methodological skills might be developed so that we can become more sensitive to different sensory worlds and inter-species communication.
Alongside the sociology of human-animal relationships and post-humanist studies, I have a strong interest in the body, particularly kinaesthetic awareness, sensuality, symbolic interaction and the expansion of alternative senses.
A trained actor, I am currently working alongside Les Back and Michaela Benson at Goldsmiths, University of London, developing actor-roleplay films to help students train in interview skills.