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College of Arts and Sciences » Simpson Center for the Humanities

Lindsay Hamilton: On the Power of Hooves, Paws and Claws - Why are there no Animals in the Business School?
WhenThursday, Apr. 25, 2019, 4 – 6 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room120
Event typesSpecial Events
Event sponsorsSimpson Center; Geography (Kathryn Gillespie katieag@uw.edu); Comparative History of Ideas (Maria Elena Garcia meg71@uw.edu); Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies (Andrew Hedden heddena@uw.edu); Anthropology - (Radhika Govindrajan rgovind@uw.edu)
Description

Humans have relied upon animals for millennia; for their labour power as hunters, herders and transport, their defensive capabilities in armed forces and law enforcement, their ability to provide companionship and therapeutic assistance in hospitals, schools and university campuses. Non-human creatures are skilled organisers in their own right too. Consider the ways that ants direct traffic to avoid jams and bottlenecks, or the complex skills that bees and wasps use to build their hives. Despite the fact that everywhere we look animals are at work, it seems that in the majority of business schools, they are simply overlooked.

This talk focuses on this startling omission and asks, why are there no animals in the Business School? 

One of the key problems is that academic studies of business and work so often rest upon language – interviews, questionnaires and surveys – methods that can never truly capture the significance or the capacity of the animal in their lives with humans. In other words, academics have tended to ignore other species because they don’t speak, or at least they don’t speak in ways we can always understand.

But ask any pet owner, veterinarian, farmer or shelter volunteer – they’ll often say that animals do speak! Or at least they communicate through their bodies, their behaviours. Maybe it’s just that we’re not hearing them, or we’re not listening for their unique ‘voices’.

This talk explains why the silencing, writing out, denying and deleting of animal ‘voice’ is not only an academic problem but is an ethical one too, one that matters in a world where sustainability, care of the non-human environment, and creating secure futures for all creatures matters more than ever.

By drawing on real-life examples from farms and veterinary practices, among other settings, this talk challenges the supposed authority of the human to bring other species, so often the (literal) underdog, into sharper focus. Noting the work of some key thinkers in the growing discipline of human-animal studies, the talk argues that business schools can and should evolve their methods of enquiry to take better note of animals at work.

Printed: Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 9:20 AM PST