Our proposal for a special issue of Society and Animals on the theme 'The Silent Majority – Invertebrates in Animal Studies' has been accepted with a projected publication date of the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020.  See http://www.animalsandsociety.org/human-animal-studies/society-and-animals-journal/

Through our own scholarship and teaching in the field of animal studies, we have been struck by the deeply humanist bias toward vertebrates, in particular mammals, and especially social or domesticated mammals, prevalent in our interdisciplinary field. We would like to push animal studies deliberately and intentionally toward invertebrate species. In so doing we would frame the issue as an intellectual and methodological reckoning that explores what is missing from the field, reasons why this might be so, possible methodological difficulties for scholars in the field of invertebrate animal studies.  We would also like to suggest what is reproduced when we replicate a bias toward vertebrate studies – researchers just fall into the “whole vertebrate-invertebrate divide,” as stated by a well-known horseshoe crab conservationist.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, invertebrates make up at least 97% of all animal species on earth. Yet most of the scholarship in animal studies have been investigations of vertebrates. This apparent ‘bias against animals without backbones’ might indicate what one entomologist has called ‘institutional vertebratism’ (Leather 2009: 413-14). When this bias is combined with the ‘doubly other’ status of insects this highlights their otherly status to humans and other animals (Loo and Sellbach 2013:13). In a recent study, a respondent who eats insects captured the nebulous/ambiguous status of invertebrate animals when they suggested insects ‘are animals, but not animals like the real animals’ (House 2016: 55). A special issue that attends to the ‘silent majority’ of invertebrate animals (cited in Moore 2017: 166) not only affords colleagues a timely opportunity to critically reflect on what is meant by ‘animal’ in human-animal studies/scholarship, it also provides a counterbalance to the vertebrate/mammalian focus of animal studies to date.

We are proposing an issue that foregrounds invertebrate studies and we would attempt to get representation from as many of the six groups of invertebrates as possible— poriferans (sponges), cnidarians (such as sea jellies and corals), echinoderms (such as sea urchins and sea stars), mollusks (such as octopuses, snails, and clams), annelids (worms), and arthropods (such as insects, spiders, and lobsters).

Papers are welcomed from across animal studies, including disciplines such as (but not limited to) geography, entomology, anthropology, sociology, literary studies, religious studies, art history, history, science and technology studies, ethology, psychology, behavioral sciences and ecology, bioscience/biomedical research.

Indicative areas include (but are not limited to):

Theories and practice around invertebrate studies
Working with invertebrates
Invertebrates as ‘pets’
Invertebrates as pests
Animal status and invertebrates
Tourism and invertebrates
Environment and invertebrates
Climate change and invertebrate
Agriculture and invertebrates
Invertebrates in Art, Music, Film and Theater
Consumption and invertebrates
Rescue movements and invertebrates
Biomedicine and invertebrates
Animal politics/advocacy and invertebrates
Invertebrates and Sanctuary
Invertebrate welfare
Attitudes toward invertebrates

We will craft an introduction to this special issue.  Our introductory essay would frame the issue of invertebrates in the interdisciplinary field of Animal Studies and why this issue is important for shifting the field.  We want to be clear that our gesturing away from vertebrate species does not mean we wish to create a firm boundary – but rather we are gesturing toward an inclusive consideration of all animals in our field.

We are seeking 5 articles of 7000 words inclusive of citations and notes (images are also possible but subtract from word count).  We are also able to include topical book or film reviews for 1000-word limit. All papers and reviews will be processed through the Society and Animals editorial management system. We will act as administrators of the reviews. Typically, we will obtain two reviews for each paper.  Contributors are strongly encouraged to address policy and practice issues suggested by their research. Also, papers must be submitted in the formatting and style of the journal. (See here: http://www.brill.nl/files/brill.nl/specific/authors_instructions/SOAN.pdf)

We would like to receive 150 - 200 word abstracts from interested authors by October 1, 2018.  If accepted, full papers will be due by February 1, 2019.  After rigorous peer review, publication is expected in late 2019 or early 2020.

Thank you very much,

Lisa Jean Moore


Rhoda Wilkie