Animal studies is not a discipline of its own, but emerged simultaneously within many disciplines, such as sociology, geography, biology, art history, education research, philosophy, anthropology, film studies, political science, and gender research. Animal studies stands for a transformed way of doing scholarly work, always through the lens of the humanimal relationship. If anything keeps the field together, it is the productive incoherence that it creates wherever it challenges human-centred modes of work. What does it mean to do animal studies? Due to the essential undisciplinarity of the field, a traditional textbook approach could not answer the question. Undisciplined Animals is a series of confessions: this is how I and my basic outlook changed through the efforts of unruly animals, neither of us happily adapting to human-centred perspectives. The hope is that readers will recognize the same productive tensions in their own work; that the book will help them use these tensions and not hide them as breaches of disciplinary rules. Undisciplined Animals is a collection of invitations to animal studies, addressed to emerging scholars in a variety of fields who want to see how animal studies can vitalize work in their disciplines. The chapters are intersected by short interludes that describe an experience, a notion, or a thought that secretly drives the author's work. These interludes reveal animal studies to transgress not only disciplinary borders, but also borders between the academic and the personal.
About the Author: Par Segerdahl is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Uppsala University in Sweden. He has published inquiries into linguistic theory, for example, in Language Use (Macmillan 1996). In Kanzi's Primal Language (Palgrave 2005), written with the ape language researchers William Fields and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, he discusses why apes begin to talk only if one avoids the training procedures that otherwise characterize so much experimental work with primates. This anthology, Undisciplined Animals, stems from his and the contributing authors' period as guest researchers at the Centre for Gender Research at Uppsala University.