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Traci Warkentin: Odd Couples, Embodied Minds



Odd Couples, Embodied Minds

December 7th, 4:15-5:30

Room 5307 | The CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Free and open to the public

Part of the Multispecies Salon Wednesday Speaker Series

Odd couples, such as an ancient tortoise and a baby hippo, inspire questions about how individuals belonging to different species are able to understand each other and form close, caring relationships. In many ways, they challenge dominant Western assumptions about taxonomic species barriers, as well as dominant Western gender stereotypes.

For the focus of this talk, several odd couples (who have received much media attention in recent years) will provide the basis for a playful exploration of embodied mind and the possibilities of interspecies empathy.

Traci Warkentin’s current research on the relational spaces of human-animal interactions in urban environments combines her interests in animal geographies, feminist environmental ethics, and experiential learning contexts. This work is complemented by her ongoing study of interspecies communication, empathy and ethics and the pivotal role of situated, embodied knowledge-making by humans and other animals. Previous research has examined the ethical and educational dimensions of the places where humans meet whales for which she conducted extensive fieldwork in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of Prof. Warkentin’s work, she has publications in the Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, Ethics and the Environment, AI & Society, entries in the Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships, as well as chapters on decolonizing zoos and on animal agency in edited collections. Broadly, Prof. Warkentin’s work seeks to examine the intersections of geography, ethics and feminist epistemologies in environmental thought, education, and methods of research. Her work brings together content with form by investigating the influence of physical and social contexts on how and what people learn about animals and the environment, as well as developing methods for ethical ways of making knowledge. This work coincides with Prof. Warkentin’s commitment to environmentally and socially just teaching.

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