Prairie dogs discuss humans in detail. Elephants have a word for humans. Sperm whales warn each other about human attacks. Many if not most more-than-human animals need to deal with human intrusion in their lives in some way – as companions, workers, prey, for tourism or in other roles – and communicate with one another and humans about this. They do so in order to survive, but perhaps sometimes also to maintain their culture and communities, out of affection or for fun.
For the purposes of this workshop, we propose to understand ‘speaking about humans’ broadly such as (combination of) sounds, bodily movements, facial expressions (kinesics), touch (haptics), space (proxemics), and sensorial capacities. Examples to think of are throwing feces to human visitors in zoos, leaving one’s habitat, changing one’s color, misleading humans, or passing on cultural, including linguistic, knowledge in embodied ways.
This one-day interdisciplinary workshop aims to get a better understanding of other animals’ perspectives on humans and the implications of these perspectives for developing better relations. We invite presentations on the following and other questions:
- How do we know that animals speak about humans? Do they speak as an individual and/or as a group? Are animal languages species-specific, communal or individual?
- What could be humans’ ideologies/impediments for (not) recognizing that animals speak about them?
- What do animals say about humans, and how do they say it and how do we know?
- How can we develop new listening practices and (how) should we speak back?
- What is the role of anthropomorphism in better understanding other animals? What are possible nonhuman animal equivalents of this practice?
- What are the ethical and political implications of the fact that animals speak about humans? Are their messages always political?
- Do (animal) scientists/humans recognize their own language as violent? Should they?
- How can animal perspectives inform our ideas about just multispecies societies? Should they?
- Do we need new interspecies languages and/or cultural practices for the Anthropocene?
This workshop will take place online. Invited speakers will be asked to present a 20-minute paper. To register, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Organisation: Eva Meijer (University of Amsterdam) . Confirmed participants: Irene Pepperberg (Brandeis University and Harvard University), Con Slobodchikoff (Northern Arizona University).
This event is hosted by ASCA, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Speaking about the humans: Animal perspectives on the multispecies world
Location: University of Amsterdam via zoom, https://uva-live.zoom.us/j/86413357902
Time zone: Central European Time
Keynote address: Con Slobodchikoff: Decoding the Language of Prairie Dogs
10-12 Session 1: Animal Politics and Multispecies Communities
We Can (Refuse) Consent, If You Just Listen! - Serrin Rutledge-Prior and Rebecca Hendershott
Should Animals have a Right to Freedom of Expression? - Katharina Braun
‘The parallel world in which all other animals exist’: How chickens rebuild community after humans. - Catherine Oliver
Elderly persons and animals - Elin Pöllänen and Walter Osika
Lunch break 12-13
13-15 Session 2: (Not) Knowing what animals say
What is the basis of mutual interspecies communication and understanding? How can we know for certain what animals think and feel - Jonas Dietz
Evolutionary and ecological relevance for hetero-specific and individual recognition in animal species - Liv Baker and Lysanne Snijders
Reality construction, reduction, dominance, overlaps, and co-existence: reapproaching questions of intra- and interspecies communication - Jean-Pierre Imbrogiano
Closer to Animals, Plants, and Rocks: Questions on Modes of Existence - hh Kuipers
Keynote address: Irene Pepperberg
Interspecies Communication between Humans and Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus): When Nonhumans Can Actually Use Human Speech
16.45-18.15 Session 3: Multispecies poetics
He was speaking volumes … Or: This is what is wrong with you - Mara-Daria Cojocaru
Transparency, Opacity, and Animal Languages: Towards a Multispecies Relational Poetics - Omar Bachour
A separate world - Susan Haris
8.30-10.00 Session 1: Animal technologies and multispecies design I
Interspecies Cultures and Future Design - Dan Parker and Stanislav Roudavski
Multispecies Urban Politics with Bees, Birds, and Trees - Hira Sheikh, Marcus Foth, and Peta Mitchell
Helping humans listen and respond to more-than-human voices through interspecies information systems - Dirk van der Linden
10.15-11-15 Session 1: Animal technologies and multispecies design II
Happier than a Seagull with a French Fry – Bird-Human Relations in Selfies with Seagulls - Tiina Salmia
The interaction between cow, cow brush and me. How can we develop new listening practices and (how) should we speak back? - Samar Khan
11.30-12.30 Roundtable: How can we let the other animals determine the research questions we ask? Participants: Leonie Cornips (cows), Irina Frasin (stray cats).
12.30-13.30 Lunch break
13.30-15.30 Session 2: Signals, signs and codes: Questions of translation
“It it not a language, but a signal code” - Chloe Mondeme
Broadcasting and the Animal Public - Brett Mills
Octopus Camouflage: Unsettling Conceptual Boundaries Between Self and Environment - Lijuan Klassen
Fish Welfare - Becca Franks
16-18 Session 3: Recognition and learning to listen to other animals
Listening to the Invisibles: Microbial Commentaries on Human Organized Dairy Production - Sarah Czerny
From Cultural Limitations to Intercultural Relations: Opening Up Western Cultures to Human-Animal Communications - Daphne Brouwer
Animal Language: The Shared Sensory-Conceptual Space of Humans and Animals - Pablo P. Castelló
How can we develop new listening practices and (how) should we speak back? - Angeline Siegel
18-18.10 Final comments