The Animal Turn

The Animal Turn

Animals are increasingly at the forefront of research questions – Not as shadows to human stories, or as beings we want to understand biologically, or for purely our benefit – but as beings who have histories, stories, and geographies of their own. Each season is set around themes with each episode unpacking a particular animal turn concept and its significance therein. Join PhD Candidate Claudia Hirtenfelder as she delves into some of the most important ideas emerging out of this recent turn in scholarship, thinking, and being.


February 24, 2020 81 mins

Claudia talks to Will Kymlicka about the concept of Animal Rights and how it pertains to the law. They touch on what the relationship is between law and ethics and what this means for scholarship in ‘The Animal Turn’. This episode opens-up the first season of the podcast, focusing on Animals and the Law.

Guest: Will Kymlicka is the Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy at Queen’s University, where he has taught si...

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Claudia talks with Lesli Bisgould about ‘Animal Subjects’. They consider what it means to be a subject of the law and the extent to which animals, particularly animals in Canada, could be considered as such.

Guest: Lesli Bisgould is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto and is also currently the Barrister at Legal Aid Ontario’s Clinic Resource Office where she assists caseworkers at Ontario’s community legal clinics with...

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In this episode Claudia talks to Angela Fernandez about the legal concept of ‘First Possession’ also delving into the significance of historical research in considering animals and the law. 

Guest: Angela Fernandez is a Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, cross-appointed to the Department of History. She is the author of a book-length study on Pierson v. Post, the famous first possession case often used to begin ...

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April 23, 2020 45 mins

In this episode Maneesha Deckha explains the legal concept of personhood, why animal advocates are trying to include animals within the category and the potential of a different concept, ‘Legal Beingness’, to side-step some of the challenges of Personhood as a concept. 

Date recorded: 2 April 2020

Guest: Maneesha Deckha is Professor and Lansdowne Chair in Law at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include critical anim...

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Charlotte Blattner discusses how international law, specifically Extraterritorial Jurisdiction, might provide a useful and productive way in which to build legal protections for animals. 

Date recorded: 10 April 2020

Guest: Charlotte E. Blattner is a senior researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Public Law, University of Bern. She earned her PhD in international law and animal law ...
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Claudia speaks to Siobhan O’Sullivan about Ag-Gag laws with a particular focus on how they are manifesting in Australia. They also touch on some of the tensions that exist between animal welfare and issues of visibility. 

Date recorded: 30 April 2020

Guest: Dr. Siobhan O’Sullivan is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She has interests in animal welfare policy and environmental ethics, and i...

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Claudia speaks to Saskia Stucki, who sees overlaps between International Humanitarian Law and Animal Welfare Law as providing fertile ground for legal conceptual development. Saskia Stucki believes ‘Animal Warfare Law’ offers a way forward for considering how animal welfare and animal rights could better complement one another. 

Date recorded: 6 May 2020

Guest: Saskia Stucki is Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for C...

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Claudia talks to Frédéric Côté-Boudreau about autonomy and how it relates to animals. They highlight some of the tensions with considering animals as beings who might want to make their own choices and touch on what this could mean for the law and the ways in which our societies are structured.

Date recorded: 11 June 2020

Guest: Frédéric is a philosophy scholar who earned his PhD at Queen’s University in 2019 with a thesis entitled I...

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July 7, 2020 65 mins

Claudia talks to Valéry Giroux about liberty and how it relates to animals and the law. Valéry unpacks some of the debates and tensions that arise when thinking about liberty, the different types of liberty there are and also how she envisions the law could better serve animals’ freedom by acknowledging them as persons with rights. 

Date recorded: 26 June 2020

Guest: Valéry Giroux has an academic training in law and is a doctor in ph...

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In this final episode of Season 1, Claudia talks to Paulina Siemieniec and Hira Jaleel about the theme of Animals and the Law. Together they unpack some of the overarching ideas to emerge in episodes 1 to 9 and highlight areas that could be explored more in future. 

Date recorded: 7 July 2020

Guests: Hira Jaleel is a lawyer based out of Pakistan. Hira has recently graduated with an LLM in Animal Law from Lewis & Clark Law School ...

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S2E1: Phenomenology with Zipporah Weisberg

In the first episode of Season 2, which is focusing on ‘Animals and Experience’, Claudia speaks to independent scholar Zipporah Weisberg about the concept ‘Phenomenology’. They touch on the potential of phenomenology as a concept and a practice for better understanding the lives and experiences of animals, also contemplating some of the tensions that are embedded therein. 


Date recorded: 12...

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September 7, 2020 69 mins

In this episode, Claudia talks to Marc Bekoff about the field of ‘cognitive ethology’ and how researchers can better learn about animals through attentively watching them and taking seriously their personal experiences. They touch on some of the tensions of how you can ‘know’ other animals’ experiences through and why taking the time to understand their worlds is so important.  

Date recorded: 14 August 2020

Marc ...

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September 21, 2020 66 mins

Claudia talks to well-known author Carl Safina about ‘animal culture’ and how culture is a crucial part of how some animals come to understand and experience the world. They chat about the incredible ways culture manifests in animals’ experiences and touch on what a serious consideration of animal culture could mean for conservation efforts. 


Date recorded: 25 August 2020


Carl Safina grew up raising pigeons, training hawks and owls...

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Claudia talks to Jeffrey Bussolini, a phenomenologist with a keen interest in feline experiences, about how art and aesthetics can provide a novel way of exploring and reconceptualising animals’ experiences.  


Date recorded: 16 September 2020


Jeffrey Bussolini is Co-Director of the Center for Feline Studies and the Avenue B Multi-Studies Center, and associate professor at the City University of New York.  He studied at Georgetown U...

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Claudia chats with Kathryn Gillespie about the ways in which the geography in general and the concept of intimate geography in particular aid in generating knowledge about animals’ experiences.  The concept is both theoretically and methodologically rich allowing for focus not only on animals’ experiences but how researchers’ relations with, proximity to, and understanding of animals’ bodies and lives alters the way we come to know...

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Claudia speaks to Lauren Corman about interspecies subjectivity unpacking what subjectivity itself could mean and why it is so important to consider how it is shaped by species. They reflect on threads scholars need to hold in tension when trying to understand experience and using such theoretically dense concepts.

Recorded: 6 November 2020

Dr. Lauren Corman is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Brock Univers...

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After unpacking what constitutes a multispecies community, Sue Donaldson explains why it is important to consider how politics works to make sure that animals’ experiences, and what they are asking for, are heard. 


Date recorded: 18 November 2020


Sue Donaldson is a writer and animal advocate. She is a research associate in the Dept. of Philosophy at Queen's University, Kingston, and co-convenor of the Animals in Philosophy, Po...

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December 21, 2020 67 mins

Claudia talks to Jonathan Balcombe about fishes and their varied and incredible experiences. Using the concept of ‘shoalmates’ as a launch pad, they discuss some of the intra- and inter-species relations fishes engage in from work to cuddle and play. 


Date recorded: 30 November 2020


Jonathan Balcombe is a biologist with a PhD in ethology, the study of animal behavior. His books include Pleasurable Kingdom, Second Nature, The Exulta...

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January 4, 2021 76 mins

This episode explores a concept that works to highlight the experiences of animals caught up in human systems that oppress animals. Claudia talks to pattrice jones about how animals’ experiences (particularly those of chickens) compare in factory farms versus at VINE Sanctuary. They discuss the significance of talking about not only animals’ victimisation but also but their agency and will to survive. 

Date recorded: 29 D...

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In this final episode of Season 2, Claudia talks to Joshua Jones, Siobhan Speiran, and Pablo Perez Castello about the theme of Animals and Experience. Together they unpack some of the overarching ideas to emerge in episodes 1 to 9 (such as relationality, imagination, meaning, and beauty) and highlight areas that could be explored more in future. 


Date recorded: 4 January 2021


Siobhan Speiran is a PhD candidate in Environmental Stud...

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