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What do we need to learn to support Animal self-determination and liberation? What Nature Needs.
Learn how to shape your research with Nature, for Nature, from the eyes and lives of Animals.

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Research and education have excluded Nonhuman Nature as agents and authorities of knowledge. Now, science’s recognition of Animal sentience and mass extinctions compel a radical re-framing of the ethics, approach, and purpose of research.

This course expands the scope of the decolonizing movement, exemplified by the field of Indigenous Research Methods (IRM), to include Nonhuman Nature. We explore theoretical, methodological, ethical, and practical dimensions of decolonized research for Animals.

We discuss:

  • What does research entail when approached from the perspective of Animal ways of being, ethics, and knowing?
  • When we understand Animals as epistemic and moral authorities, what is relevant research by humans?
  • What do we need to learn to support Animal self-determination and liberation?

Course Objectives, Skills Acquisition, and Outcomes

This webinar series is intended for students and professionals seeking to design projects and research from the perspective of Nonhuman Nature which recognizes Nonhuman sentience, ontologies, and epistemes – consciousness and ways of being and knowing – and which also foregrounds knowledge gained through indigenous human knowledge systems. We discuss the importance of avoiding colonial phagocytosis, that is, the appropriation of indigenous understanding and views into intellectually comestible “packets of knowledge.” Participants will learn how to develop a research proposal which meets standard criteria for academic study, grant submission, and publication.  At the end of this course, the participating learner should able to:

  • Critically examine dominant, Western research paradigms to uncover biases generated by the misconception that Nonhumans are not sentient;
  • Develop new ways of understanding Nonhuman Nature and our relationships to them in ways that are participatory and collaborative, rather than excluding and objectifying;
  • Decolonize your own research, language, communication, and writing practices to accurately reflect Nature perspectives, sentience and ontological and epistemic authority;
  • Craft a research proposal that decenters white, Western, and objectivist ways of seeing the world and centers the Nonhuman Nature perspective;
  • Relate your research to indigenous, non-Western human perspectives;
  • Increase competence in critical reflection and presentation skills and communication, including self-awareness and ethical inquiry;
  • Improve relevance for policy and practice for Nonhuman Nature which supports these communities.

Course Structure

Two asian elephants head to headThe webinar meets weekly for eight weeks (one three-hour session and seven two-hour sessions). Each session begins with a presentation by the instructor-facilitators and/or guest lecturers to discuss a particular concept, question, or example relevant to nonhuman Nature Research. Learners are required to read and prepare to discuss assigned material prior to session. Materials draw from texts, articles, and videos. There are four required texts which the learner must purchase. All other materials will be supplied by instructors. Following the lecture, each learner will discuss how the topic is relevant relative to her/his individual proposed research/grant/ project. The final course project is a written paper and 10-minute presentation which describe your research project from the perspective of Nonhuman Nature Research Methods.

Course meets weekly Sundays 9:30 am-11:30 am Pacific Time (PT). Our first meeting lasts three hours, so we will meet 9:30am-12:30 pm PT Sunday June 7, 2020. The rest of the meetings will last two hours and meet 9:30am-11:30m PT.

Course size is limited, and course fees are tiered: Professionals $1,100US, students $550US.


Gay Bradshaw holds doctorate degrees in ecology and psychology, and has published, taught, and lectured widely in these fields both in the U.S. and internationally. Her books include the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Elephants on the edge; What Animals teach us about humanity (Yale 2009), Carnivore minds: Who these fearsome beings really are (Yale 2017), and Talking with Bears: Conversations with Charlie Russell (Rocky Mountain Books, 2020). Her diagnosis of Elephant PTSD led to the founding of the field of trans-species psychology. Gay is the founder and director of The Kerulos Center for Nonviolence and The Tortoise and the Hare Sanctuary.

Whale and Shark Photos: Fred Buyle

Margo DeMello received her doctorate degree in Cultural Anthropology from U.C. Davis in 1995, and currently teaches at Canisius College in the Anthrozoology Master’s program. She served as the Program Director for Human-Animal Studies at Animals & Society Institute for the last decade and is the past President of House Rabbit Society. She also volunteers for Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary. Her books include Stories Rabbits Tell: A Natural and Cultural History of a Misunderstood Creature (with Susan Davis, Lantern 2003), Why Animals Matter: The Case for Animal Protection (with Erin Williams, Prometheus 2007), Teaching the Animal: Human-Animal Studies Across the Disciplines (Lantern 2010), Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies (Columbia University Press 2012), Speaking for Animals: Animal Autobiographical Writing (Routledge 2012), Body Studies: An Introduction (Routledge 2014), and Mourning Animals: Rituals and Practices Surrounding Animal Death (Michigan State 2016).