Definition of Categories

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In an attempt to organize the ever-expanding literature related to the social scientific study of other animals we have developed and organized the Animal Studies Bibliography into the following substantive categories: animals as philosophical and ethical subjects; animals as reflexive thinkers; domestication and predation; animals as entertainment, sport and spectacle; animals as symbols; animals as companions; animals in science, education and therapy; animals in history; animals as food; animals in literature, art and popular culture; animals in feminism and ecofeminism; animals in religion, myth, and folktales; and conservation and human/animal conflict. We have also included a miscellaneous category where we have placed those citations which did not readily fit into one of the substantive categories. Below are brief descriptions of the substantive categories as we have conceptualized them.

Criteria for Inclusion:

We welcome English-language published articles and essays on any aspect of the study of animals in society and from any discipline.

Animals as Philosophical and Ethical Subjects

This category includes references that address the philosophical and ethical underpinnings regarding our treatment of animals.

Animals as Reflexive Thinkers

The citations in this category address the use of language and other methods of communication among animals, including cross-species cooperation, as well as human perceptions of animal mindedness.


This category is comprised of references that deal with the domestication of animals, including discussions of animal economies such as the commodification of animals for their end products (note there is a separate Animals as Food category).

Animals as Entertainment, Sport and Spectacle

The citations included in this category address the historical and contemporary use of animals as entertainment and spectacle and as sport, such as in zoos, circuses, marine animal theme parks and hunting.

Animals as Companions

This category includes references that address the numerous issues related to the keeping of companion animals, such as the literature on the human-animal bond and the abuse of companion animals.

Animals as Symbols

This category includes the various ways in which animals are used as symbols in human society. This includes animals as symbols of a nation, country or social group and a myriad of other instances of animals as representations of human culture.

Animals in Science, Education and Therapy

The references in this section are related to the use of animals in science (both the natural and social scientific sciences), education and in human therapy and rehabilitation.

Animals in History

This category consists of all references regarding a specific time period or historical overviews of animals and the human-animal relationship.

Animals as Food

These citations relate to the use and perception of animals as food as well as the numerous debates surrounding the practices required to consume animals.

Animals in Literature, Art and Popular Culture

The citations listed in this category includes both fictional and nonfictional citations regarding animals in literature, art and other forms of popular culture including advertisements and magazines.

Animals in Feminism and Ecofeminism

This category is comprised of citations concerning ecofeminism, the interlinking of feminist and animal issues, and feminist perspectives on animals.

Animals in Religion, Myth, and Folktales

The citations in this category address animals in religion, myth and folktales from around the world. This category will include subjects such as animism, totemism, ritual and sacrifice, religious perceptions of animals, and mythologies.

Conservation, Wildlife and Human/Animal Conflict

This category's citations address wildlife issues, various conflicts that have occured or continue to take place between humans and animals, as well as international and local conservation efforts.


This section includes edited volumes, compilations and other works that fit into too many (or none) of our categories.

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