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  • Writer's pictureClaudia Hirtenfelder

Claudia on Knowing Animals

I recently appeared on another animal studies' podcast, Knowing Animals, to talk about a recent paper I wrote (Woot woot! Yay!)

Knowing Animals is one of the longest running animal studies podcasts in which scholars speak about a piece of their work. The podcast was launched by Siobhan O'Sullivan who recently handed over the microphone to Josh Milburn both of whom have an interest in animals and political thought and are affiliated with the Australasian Animal Studies Association (AASA). Having recently won the AASA Award for Popular Communication of Animal Studies, I was the first guest of the year!

Josh and I discuss a recent paper I wrote with Carolyn Prouse titled: Milking Economies: Multispecies Entanglements in the Infant Formula Industry. The paper considers a recent foreign direct investment made by Chinese Infant Formula company, Feihe International, to establish an infant formula plant in Kingston, Canada. The paper unpacks how the supply and management of milk in the deal involves historical, multispecies entanglements of race, nation, and purity which are imbricated onto entanglements of formula, scientific motherhood, and technology. We focus on how the entanglements of cows, goats, and humans are implicated within these milking economies and recently gave a presentation about this paper and these entanglements for the Deakin Critical Animal Studies Network (which you can watch here).

It felt weird being on the other side of the microphone, having to talk about a piece of my own work. I think for the first time I can really empathize with some of my own guests as to how nerve-wrecking it can be express ideas you have written. But Josh is an excellent interviewer who put me at ease and asked fascinating and thought provoking questions. As a result of his probing, we also ended up talking a great deal about the significance of interdisciplinary thought to animal studies and how grateful we are to host podcasts about animals and animal scholarship.

Believe it or not, this is not the first time I have appeared on another podcast (how sneaky!). In early 2021, I was on the Sentientism Podcast with Jamie Woodhouse (Which you can watch here). In this podcast we don't speak about any particular scholarship but rather have an open ended conversation about our views on religion, ethics and animals - also touching on my journey of becoming a podcast host.

It's been fun being a guest and learning from other podcast hosts. Both Jamie and Josh are great at what they do and their podcasts are well worth a listen Make sure you check them out!

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