Ratatǫskr Research Group for Literary Animal Studies
The Ratatǫskr Research Group for Literary Animal Studies was founded in 2018, and gathers people working in Comparative Literature at Södertörn University who have an interest in literary animal studies. The study of the relationship between animals and humans is an interdisciplinary field that is currently thriving, and which is represented in several subjects at Södertörn. In Comparative Literature, we offer a supplementary level course and a Master’s course that focus on the relationship between animals and literature, and now have more researchers, senior lecturers and doctoral students orienting us within the field.
The motivation for establishing the Ratatǫskr Research Group for Literary Animal Studies is to read and discuss each other’s texts, plan conference travel, apply for research funding, develop courses and benefit from each other’s networks. We also want to develop cooperation with people who are active in this field in Comparative Literature and in other subjects, both inside and outside Södertörn University. In the long run, our aim is that the group will find a place in the international arena for literary animal studies.
We are particularly interested in questions such as: How is the animal–human relationship depicted in literature? How can various literary forms (such as zoopoetics) and different types of reading contribute to problematising anthropocentric paradigms in comparative literature? How can we understand the relationship between matter, metaphor and agency in literary depictions of non-human animals? What is the relationship between the hierarchically organised animal/human dichotomy and ideas about categories such as sex, sexuality, ‘race’ and disability? And how are these questions linked to ethical issues and dilemmas in the wider humanistic field and in ongoing social interactions between species?
The Ratatǫskr Research Group for Literary Animal Studies is particularly inspired by the studies conducted and the thoughts formulated by Philip Armstrong, Gabeba Baderoon, Laura Brown, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Gunnar Eggertsson, Erica Fudge, Hillevi Ganetz, Harry Garuba, Donna Haraway, Akira Mizuta Lippit, Michael Lundblad, Karoliina Luumma, Susan McHugh, Carrie Rohman, Helen Tiffin, Cary Wolfe and Wendy Woodward, among others.
The group meets four times per semester and an international symposium is planned for the autumn of 2019.