Introduction to Special Issue Ethics in Multispecies Research
Reflections from the Field
Keywords:Multispecies research ethics, animal studies, animal geographies, more-than-human geographies, animal research, animal ethics
This essay introduces the special issue on Ethics in Multispecies Research in terms of process and content. Emerging from a crescendo of conversations about the regulatory-ethical lacuna between research with human participants and non-invasive research on or with other-than-human animals, contributors were asked to discuss how they have navigated this lacuna during fieldwork. Themes include, first, scholar- and worker-activism, in which many multispecies researchers had experience and political commitments that shaped their ethics. A second theme is the challenge of unintended consequences. Researchers speaking to this theme discussed the many uncertainties of research and particular risks of multispecies work. Third, researchers recognized that vulnerability was not only asymmetric while doing multispecies research, but also multidirectional. Fourth, contributors discussed how their ethical questions and paths were entangled with aesthetic and embodied politics. Last, and zooming out, contributors drew attention to the problematic contexts in which multispecies research is often conducted, from legislation to colonial legacies. Together, the Special Issue contributions offer a series of techniques and thoughtful stories for conducting ethical multispecies research.
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Guillemin, Marilys and Lynn Gillam. 2004. “Ethics, reflexivity, and “ethically important moments” in research.” Qualitative inquiry 10, no. 2: 261-280.
Katz, Cindi. 2013. Playing with fieldwork. Social and Cultural Geography 14, no. 7: 762-772.
Kohl, Ellen and Priscilla McCutcheon. 2015. Kitchen table reflexivity: negotiating positionality through everyday talk. Gender, Place & Culture 22, no. 6: 747-763.
Mott, Carrie and Daniel Cockayne. 2017. Citation matters: Mobilizing the politics of citation toward a practice of ‘conscientious engagement.’ Gender, Place & Culture 24, no. 7: 954-973.
Rosenfeld, Heather. 2021. Witnessing Pandora: Doing "Undone Science" at Chicken Sanctuaries. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience 7, no. 2.
Sundberg, Juanita. 2014. Decolonizing posthumanist geographies. Cultural Geographies 21, no. 1: 33-47.
TallBear, Kim. 2011. Why Interspecies Thinking Needs Indigenous Standpoints. Theorizing the Contemporary: Cultural Anthropology. Available from: https://culanth.org/fieldsights/why-interspecies-thinking-needs-indigenous standpoints?token=RZrrERiaEvyjcJaE1aLsqVFNt3ElgwB1
Todd, Zoe. 2016. An indigenous feminist's take on the ontological turn: ‘Ontology’ is just another word for colonialism. Journal of historical sociology 29, no. 1: 4-22.
Van Patter, Lauren. 2021. “(Re)storying the More-than-human City: Urban Coyotes in Canada”. PhD diss. Queen’s University. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1974/29832
Van Patter, Lauren and Charlotte Blattner. 2020. Advancing ethical principles for non-invasive, respectful research with nonhuman animal participants. Society & Animals 28, no. 2: 171-190.
Van Patter, Lauren and Alice Hovorka. 2018. ‘Of place’ or ‘of people’: exploring the animal spaces and beastly places of feral cats in southern Ontario. Social & Cultural Geography 19, no. 2: 275-295.
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