Category : animal ethics

Dogs, God, Goya, and Levinas

Goya’s “The Dog”

Here is an blog post on the connection between dogs and spirituality. It includes a touching anecdote from Levinas on a dog’s recognition of his humanity:

There were seventy of us in a forestry commando unit for Jewish prisoners of war in Nazi Germany. . . . We were beings entrapped in their species; despite all their vocabulary, beings without language. . . . How to deliver a message about one’s humanity which, from behind the bars of quotation marks, will come across as anything else than the language of primates.

And then, about halfway through our long captivity, for a few short weeks, before the sentinels chased him away, a wandering dog entered our lives. One day he came to meet this rabble as we returned under guard from work. He survived in some wild patch in the region of the camp. . . . He would appear at morning assembly and was waiting for us as we returned, jumping up and barking in delight. For him, there was no doubt that we were [human].

“Animal: What Makes Us Human,” Lectures at Newberry Library/Chicago Humanities Festival, Nov 2

The Chicago Humanities Festival, The Newberry Library, and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago are pleased to announce a special opportunity for graduate students.
On Saturday, November 2 three dynamic scholars of American history and culture-Professors Peter Mancall (University of Southern California, History and Anthropology), Wai Chee Dimock (Yale University, English and American Studies) and Susan Scott Parrish (University of Michigan, English and Environmental Studies) -will deliver public lectures at the Newberry Library as part of the 24th annual Chicago Humanities Festival’s theme of “Animal: What Makes Us Human.”


In addition to their talks, these speakers will lead brief discussions for a small group of students about their work focusing especially on the topic of environmental history and “Animal Archives.” Refreshments and lunch will be provided; and participants in the seminar will receive free passes for the lectures. The discussions will be moderated by Daniel Greene, Vice President for Research and Academic Programs at the Newberry Library, and Professor Eric Slauter, Director of the Karla Scherer Center. All events will take place at the Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Avenue, Chicago. A schedule for this daylong event appears below, along with brief biographies of the speakers.

Interested students should please submit the following:

1. A brief biography (200 – 500 words) including his/her area of research
2. One to two questions s/he would like to pose during the seminars

Email applications and questions to with the subject heading “Animal Archives.” The deadline is Wednesday, October 23. Priority will be given to current graduate students who have not attended the seminar in previous years. Selected applicants will be notified by Friday, October 25.

SCHEDULE: November 2, 2013
LOCATION: The Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton Ave., Chicago

9:30am: Peter Mancall seminar

10:30am: Peter Mancall lecture: “Pigs for Historians: A New View of Early America

11:40am-12:20pm: Lunch (boxed lunch provided to those who enroll)

12:30pm: Wai Chee Dimock lecture: “Hearing Animals in Thoreau

1:30pm: Wai Chee Dimock seminar

2:30pm: Susan Scott Parrish lecture: “Noah’s Kin

3:30pm: Susan Scott Parrish seminar

About the speakers:

Peter Mancall, Professor of History and Anthropology at USC, and the Director of the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, is a historian of colonial North America, the early modern Atlantic basin, Native American history, and environmental history.  He is the Mellon Professor of the Humanities at the University of Southern California and the director of the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute.He is the author of five books including Fatal Journal: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson-A Tale of Mutiny and Murder in the Artic (Basic Books, 2009); Hakluyt’s Promise: An Elizabethan’s Obsession for an English America (Yale, 2007; paperback 2010) and Deadly Medicine: Indians and Alcohol in Early America(Cornell, 1995). He is currently writing American Origins, which will be volume one of the Oxford History of the United States. He is an elected fellow of the Society of American Historians and an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society. His work has appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education,Bloomberg Businessweek, and American Heritage and been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

Wai Chee Dimock, William Lampson Professor of English and American Studies at Yale University, has written on American literature of all periods, from Anne Bradstreet to Star Trek. She argues for a broad conception of American literature, including materials both high and low, and scales both local and global.  Her work has appeared in publications ranging from Critical Inquiry to Los Angeles Review of Books toSalonShe is the author of the prize-winning Through Other Continents: American Literature Across Deep Time (Princeton, 2006), Residues of Justice: Literature, Law, Philosophy (California, 1996), and Empire for Liberty: Melville and the Poetics of Individualism (Princeton, 1989), as well as the co-editor of Shades of the Planet: American Literature as World Literature (Princeton, 2007).She was a consultant for “Invitation to World Literature,” a 13-part series produced by WGBH and aired on PBS in 2010. Her lecture course, “Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner,” is available from Open Yale Courses. She is now at work on a digital humanities platform, “American Literature in the World,” which features a web-and-print anthology and an annual graduate conference.

Susan Scott Parrishis an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature and the Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan; she is also a Fellow at the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute (UM). Her research addresses the interrelated issues of race, the environment, and knowledge-making in the Atlantic world from the 17th up through the mid-20th century, with a particular emphasis on southern and Caribbean plantation zones. Her book American Curiosity: Cultures of Natural History in the Colonial British Atlantic World (North Carolina, 2006) was awarded both the Jamestown Prize and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize; the Emerson prize is given by the Phi Beta Kappa Society to one book each year for its contribution to understanding “the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.” Her recent projects include work on slavery and portraiture in the 18th-century Atlantic world, and a new edition of Robert Beverley’s 1705 History and Present State of Virginia (North Carolina, 2013). She is currently completing a book-length study of the ecological imagination of the U.S. South in the first half of the Twentieth Century.


Eric Slauter
Director, The Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture
Associate Professor of English, University of Chicago
Visiting Editor, The William and Mary Quarterly

Anne E. Cullen
Program Assistant
Smith Center | Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St. | Chicago, IL 60610

CFP: HERA Conference, “Humane, Inhumane, Human”


Call for Papers

Humanities Education and Research Association

Annual Conference, February 27- March 1, 2014

Washington D.C.



Humane, Inhumane, Human


In keeping with HERA’s mission of promoting the study of the humanities across a wide range of disciplines and interdisciplines, we invite presentations for the 2014 conference. The wide range of disciplines and areas of study for the conference include but are not limited to Aesthetics, Anthropology, Architecture, Art, Classics, Communication Studies, Composition, Cultural Studies, Dance, Design, Digital Technology, Education, Environmental Issues, Ethics, Ethnic Studies, Family, Film Studies, Gender Studies, Geography, Geology, Globalization, History, Languages, Literature, Media, Museum Studies, Music, Performance Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sexuality, Sociology, Theater and all sciences relevant to the topic.


Creative presentations, readings, and exhibitions are also welcomed. Submissions are encouraged from educators at all levels (including advanced graduate students) as well as all those with an interest in the arts and humanities.


Proposals for papers, panels, or workshops must be submitted through the conference web portal on the HERA website at


Questions may be directed to the conference organizers, Marcia Green (, Sarita Cannon (, and Erin McCoy (


Presentation time for individual papers is limited to 15-20 minutes.


Deadline for submission: no later than October 24, 2013.

The Fairfax Hotel Embassy Row (Starwood Luxury Collection) is the host of HERA’s 2014 conference.  The guest room rate is $139 plus tax.  The hotel is a short walk from the Dupont Circle Metro stop.



Dr. Marcia Green                        
Executive Director/CFO                  
Humanities Education and Research Association
P.O. Box 715                           
Pacifica, CA 94044-4206               
Phone: 650-359-2660


Lecture: “Eating Meat: Good or Bad? You Decide,” Dr. Mylan Engel, Marquette, Sept. 26