About the Conference
Why Do Animal Studies?: The Turn to the Quasi-, Post-, Anti-, Non-, Para- (QPANP) is a collaboration between the Animal/Nonhuman Workshop at the University of Chicago and the Environmental Humanities Research Workshop at Northwestern University. It is a reprise of a symposium that the Animal/Nonhuman Workshop (then the Animal Studies Workshop) hosted in 2014 with a similar title. At the time, everyone was doing Animal Studies: the eponymous question would have been inflected very differently. The reprise, as we have currently conceived of it, responds to a change in the objects of inquiry of the people and publications at the forefront of our subfield, from singular animals to communities, hybrids, machines, apocalypse, inorganic/nonliving things, virtual animals and others, large scale, deep time, energies, plants, and speculative and non-Earth worlds. The conference seeks, among other things, to assemble these objects into five semi-liquid categories: the quasi-, post-, anti-, non-, and para- animal. In so doing, it makes (one) sense of the new direction of our subfield. It is our grand aspiration that people will leave the conference with a sense of the questions to be asking at this moment in Animal/Nonhuman Studies and the types of objects (literary, artistic, scientific, and so on) that people are using to address them.