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'The Animal Turn' in academia marks a shift in how animals are being thought about and researched. In the not to distant past animals were only viewed as objects that deserved no consideration, then attention turned to how they are used as metaphors and symbols within human societies and now, increasingly there is focused attention on animals as subjects. Who are animals and how can we know them? These are important questions.

Launched in February 2020, this podcast aims to contribute to this conversation about animals. While it is primarily targeted as folks with an interest in animal studies, the podcast makes for great listening for anyone who wants to learn more about animals and the ways we think about them. 

Each season is centered around a particular theme and has 10 episodes; 9 are focused on a specific concept related to the theme and the 10th is a grad review where a group pf graduate students try to pry apart and explore the overlapping themes and tensions. There are additional resources (such as reading lists and other podcasts) for folks who are interested in that theme and want to find out more. 

In each episode the host, Claudia Hirtenfelder, interviews guests about a concept, what it means and how it pertains to the overall season. Conversations are open-ended and often take interesting turns and divergences. Guests have included philosophers, sociologists, political scientists, geographers, lawyers, ethologists, activists which also allows for inter-disciplinary consideration of the theme. 

Because of its thematic structure the podcast makes for an excellent teaching tool. For people who are lecturing and teaching students about animals we hope you will find some valuable material here to help supplement your courses. 

Connect with the Podcast on YoutubeTwitter , and  Instagram.

Giant Octopus

'The Animal Turn' is full of rich theoretical and methodological conversations that help us to grapple with the complexity of the field and how we can know animals. However we can sometimes, paradoxically, lose sight of animals in these conversations. To mitigate this Claudia launched "Animal Highlights" at the end of every episode. These are 5-15 minute clips that focus on animals themselves and try to highlight aspects of their lives or why they are amazing. The highlights are coupled with related videos on YouTube! 

In 2024 The Animal Highlight launched as a sister podcast. Each season is set around a particular theme and Claudia co-hosts often join Claudia to help her navigate the significance of that theme for and about specific animals. 



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