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Humanity and Animality in 20th & 21st Century Culture: Narratives, Theories, Histories. An Interdisciplinary Conference

Start: Sep 15, 2014 09:00 AM
End: Sep 16, 2014 07:00 PM

Location: Medawar G01 Lankester Lecture Theatre, Malet Place Engineering 1.02 Lecture Theatre, and Malet Place Engineering 1.03 Lecture Theatre.

UCL Joint Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies (JFIGS)

In collaboration with the Centre for Multidisciplinary & Intercultural Inquiry (CMII)


This interdisciplinary conference takes up an important debate in a field of growing importance in the humanities, where animal studies, post-humanism, and eco-criticism have surged in recent years.The definition of mankind seems necessarily to pass through an understanding of what constitutes the animal. Philosophically, what distinguishes, or indeed brings together humanity and animality has been the subject of debate from Aristotle’s understanding of man as ‘zôon logon echon’ and from Kant’s view of man’s treatment of animals as an insight into the true nature of humankind, Derrida’s seminars on ‘the beast and the sovereign’, up to Agamben’s recent theory of ‘bare life’ as the breakdown of the barrier between man and animal.

Artists, authors and filmmakers, such as Kafka, Dalí, Borges, Coetzee, Primo Levi, Margaret Atwood, Karl Appel, Paula Rego, Werner Herzog (‘Grizzly Man’), and Benh Zeitlin (‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’) to name but a few, have also grappled with the significance of the divide or symbiosis of humanity and animality. Donna Haraway, Rosi Braidotti and Andrew Benjamin are also redefining ways in which humanity and animality can be thought together, or apart.

The violent upheavals of the 20th century, with its global wars, unprecedented genocides and totalitarian experiments led to a re-evaluation of notions such as humanism and humanity, which has made way for new hopes and anxieties relating to the subhuman and the post-human.

By hosting a varied programme of papers and debates chaired by high-profile contributors to this emerging field of inquiry, this conference aims to establish a forum for researchers throughout the UK and abroad to discuss this important theoretical issue.

Programme & Abstracts

A limited number of conference programme copies will be provided in the lecture theatres as reference only. If you wish to have your own copy, please consider the environment before printing.


All conference participants (speakers, chairs, attendees) are requested to register. There is a multiple choice menu so you can choose which session(s) you would like to attend. Please ensure you amend your registration if your availability changes.


The Humanity and Animality conference will take place in three lecture theatres: Medawar G01 Lankester Lecture Theatre, Malet Place Engineering 1.02 Lecture Theatre, and Malet Place Engineering 1.03 Lecture Theatre.

On both days the conference will begin in the Medawar G01 Lankester Lecture Theatre (Medawar Building), where the morning round tables will take place.

The location of the other conference rooms will be indicated and signposted on site.


Stefano Bellin at

Page last modified on 27 aug 14 12:16