One of the things that occurred to me just after starting the Anthrozoology MS program at Canisius was that I wanted to hear, on a scholarly level, what my classmates had to say. Each individual came to the program with a different background, and even if we tended to mostly agree on some topics, little differences crept up in our opinions and how we arrived at them. On other topics, we diverged quite radically. The well of interests and knowledge was so deep. I wanted to create a journal so that we could share our work with each other. The original concept was to showcase work from Canisius students, but evolved to the idea of anthrozoology scholars at large. A small group of my classmates and I finally launched our first group of articles online in June. I’d like to invite you to visit Animalia: An Anthrozoology Journal.
As I designed the journal’s website, I wanted to ignite thought about the multitude of ways that humans consider, relate to, and use non-humans. The header at the top of the page will load a different image each time it is visited. You will see, among others, animals used for food, military operations, and entertainment; liminal animals, or those who live on the edges of human society; wildlife, animals so far from our experience that we stand in awe and hunger for knowledge of them; symbolic animals, such as the bald eagle, whose strength Americans have come to imagine as their own; and, of course, the domestic pets who occupy our homes and our hearts. Please do not mistake any single picture’s inclusion for endorsement, nor for disapproval of the activities within. Instead, they are meant to evoke interest, to spark conversation, to encourage reflection on the obvious and not-so-obvious ways we interact with non-humans on a regular basis. While images can do all of the above, it is the rigorous scholarship within these published articles that undertakes these charges with the force of critical thought and the difficult questions that such thought requires.
Much as Animalia has undergone several iterations, so too I have found myself in continual metamorphosis as I progressed through my time at Canisius and beyond. Practices and viewpoints that I have taken for granted my entire life are constantly questioned, revised, rejected, strengthened, and everything in between. I hope you find yourself similarly challenged as you peruse Animalia.