New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Welcome to the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies

Nau mai, haere mai ki te Puna Akorangi o Aotearoa mo te Tangata me te Kararehe
NZCHAS brings together scholars from the humanities and social sciences whose research is concerned with the conceptual and material treatment of nonhuman animals in culture, society and history.

NZCHAS Scholars' Work on 'De-Extinction' the Focus of New Journal Issue

The latest issue of Animal Studies Journal, one of the foremost international journals in the field of human-animal studies, features a focus on 'de-extinction', consisting of articles by four NZCHAS members:

Dr Douglas Campbell writes on 'The Authenticity of De-Extinct Organisms',

Dr Rosie Ibbotson's essay is on 'Visual Cultures of De-Extinction',

Dr Carolyn Mason assesses 'The Unnaturalness Objection to De-Extinction',

and Professor Henrietta Mondry discusses 'Mammoths, Lenin's Tomb, and Neo-Eurasianism'.

New Book on 'Meat Culture'

Meat Culture

Associate Professor Annie Potts (of the Departments of English and Cultural Studies and the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies) has edited a new book just published as part of Brill's highly-respected Human Animal Studies series. Entitled Meat Culture, the volume brings together new essays that examine the place and meanings of meat in Western societies. The first chapter, by Annie herself, introduces and conceptualises the idea of ‘meat culture’ within a wide historical and global context. Subsequent chapters, by thirteen other scholars from around the world, deal with topics as varied as hamburger ad campaigns, the European horsemeat scandal, live export, factory farming, horror fiction, environmentalism, nationalism, family life, xenophobia, gender, and popular culture..... [read more]



Conflict, Negotiation, and Coexistence: Rethinking Human-Elephant Relations in South Asia

Edited by Dr Piers Locke (Department of Sociology and Anthropology) and Associate Professor Jane Buckingham (Department of History), this new book arises from an international symposium that took place at the University of Canterbury in 2013. It brings together anthropologists, biologists, ecologists, geographers, historians, political scientists, and Sanskrit literature specialists in order to explore humans, elephants, and environments in South Asia from the multispecies, interdisciplinary perspective of ethnoelephantology.... [read more]

Read Piers Locke's short article accompanying the book on the OUP blog here.







'Sheep' on the Horizon
Armstrong Sheep

Associate Professor Philip Armstrong (of the Department of English and the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies) has just published his latest book, a study of the natural and cultural history of sheep. The book is part of Reaktion Books' influential 'Animal' series.... [read more]

Listen to Philip's interview about the book with National Radio's Kim Hill here.

'A superb volume that more than meets the high bar set in the Reaktion Books Animal Series' -- Barbara J. King, TLS.

Download the full TLS review of Sheep here.

Memorandum of Understanding signed between the University of Canterbury and Kassel University regarding Human-Animal Studies

An co-operation agreement between the University of Canterbury and Germany's Kassel University has just been signed to facilitate collaboration between UC's New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies and Kassel's Tier-Mensch-Gesellschaft (Humans, Animals and Society) research cluster. The two research centres have committed to pursuing exchanges and collaborations in teaching and research. The first exchanges will take place in 2017, when Dr André Krebber comes to UC, and Associate Professor Annie Potts and Associate Professor Philip Armstrong travel to Kassel, as part of the Erasmus+ programme, a European Union programme to fund international scholarly exchanges.

2016 NZCHAS Prizes for Excellence in Human-Animal Studies Chevy Rendell

NZCHAS is delighted to announce the winners of its annual prizes for excellence in Human-Animal Studies.

The NZCHAS Undergraduate Prize has been awarded to Chevy Rendell (pictured) who was enrolled this year in ENGL243/CULT206 "From Bambi to Kong: Animals in American Popular Culture" (taught by Annie Potts). Chevy's first essay in this course focused on "human-animal inversion in the horror film The Descent", and his second essay interrogated commercial chicken farming and consumer deception via an analysis of Tyson Food's website.

The NZCHAS Postgraduate Prize has been jointly awarded to Rachel Innes and Abigail Egden, who were enrolled this year in ANT410/CULT421 "Multispecies Anthropology: Other Species in Human Life" (taught by Piers Locke). Rachel's first assignment, “Microbiology and The Multispecies Turn”, involved a critical summary of Stefan Helmreich’s new book “Sounding The Limits of Life: Essays in The Anthropology of Biology and Beyond”; her research essay was called “More-Than-Human Others, Ethics, and The Law: The Biopolitics of Multispecies Bodies and The Right To Have Rights”. Abigail's first assignment, “We Are Gattaca, Gattaca is Here”, involved a critical summary of Anna Tsing’s “The Mushroom at The End of The World: On The Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins”, and her research essay was titled “The Political Ontology of Borrelia Burgdorferi”.



Absence of a MonsterAbsence of a Monster: Film Based on HAS PhD Research

Raj Shekhar Aich, a PhD student associated with NZCHAS, has made a short film (in collaboration with Susan Lucas) about his research project on cage diving with great white sharks. The film, entitled Absence of a Monster, can be viewed at

Raj's PhD is proceeding under the supervision of NZCHAS members Dr Piers Locke and Dr Barbara Garrie. The project is entitled Encountering White Sharks: Photographic Practice and the Affective Impacts of Cage Diving. Raj writes: 'The southern most commercial White shark cage diving operations in the world takes place between Bluff and Stewart Island, New Zealand. My research explores the affective impact of these practices on the divers, and the significance of associated photographic practices.... [read more]

Mondry - Political AnimalsPolitical Animals: Dogs in Modern Russian Culture

Political Animals: Representing Dogs in Russian Culture (Brill 2015), the latest book by Professor Henrietta Mondry (of the Departments of English and Russian, and the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies), has been reviewed at length and very positively in Slavic Review (75.1, Spring 2016, pp. 218-19), the foremost international journal in its field. The reviewer describes Political Animals as a “significant contribution to the growing field of animal studies”, and singles out for special praise the book’s “impressive range of scholarship”, its virtuoso investigation of a “diverse set of texts and contexts”, and its “particularly productive” exploration of Russian folk beliefs.

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NZCHAS Research Students Graduate with Distinction

NZCHAS research students graduate

The New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies congratulates Master of Arts candidates Kirsty Dunn and Donelle Gadenne who graduated with Distinction in December 2015. Kirsty’s thesis is entitled Inherit the World, Devour the Earth: Representations of Western Meat Production and Consumption in Contemporary Fiction and can be accessed here: Donelle’s thesis is called A Canine-centric Critique of Selected Dog Narratives and can be accessed here:

Aotearoa New Zealand Human-Animal Studies Conference: November 5th and 6th, 2015

Over forty members, associates, students and friends of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies attended our conference in November 2015.

See the conference programme here.

See pictures from the conference here.

Animals in EmergenciesAnimals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch Earthquakes

This richly-illustrated book by NZCHAS members Annie Potts and Donelle Gadenne vividly recounts the experiences of many Christchurch residents, human and animal alike, during the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and their aftermath. The authors analyse these accounts to offer practical lessons in emergency animal management.

Read more.

Read the review by internationally-renowned expert in animal behaviour, Professor Marc Bekoff.

Buy the book.

Product DetailsMendel's Ark: Biotechnology and the Future of Extinction

NZCHAS member Dr Amy Fletcher has just published a ground-breaking study of the ethical, cultural and social implications of using biotechnological tools to reverse the extinction of species.

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A New Zealand Book of BeastsA New Zealand Book of Beasts: Animals in our History, Culture and Everyday Life

Three NZCHAS members, Associate Professors Annie Potts, Philip Armstrong and Deidre Brown, have just published the first comprehensive human-animal studies analysis of New Zealand's history, literature, visual arts, popular culture and everday life.

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