Animal Geographies

Julie Urbanik

in Geography

ISBN: 9780199874002
Published online February 2013 | | DOI:
Animal Geographies

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  • Human Geography



Animal geography is the study of how nonhuman animals intersect with human societies. Animal geographers explore these relationships temporally and spatially in order to understand why and how different human–animal configurations move in and out of being and also try to gain an understanding of nonhuman subjectivities. Although animals have always been of interest to geographers, the ways in which they are studied have developed over time. The earliest animal geography focused on cataloging wild species, their spatial distributions, and their environmental adaptations. A second wave of animal geography work was dominated by the study of domesticated animals and the ways in which livestock were enmeshed in human cultures, as well as the impact of livestock on the landscape. The third, and youngest, wave of animal geography emerged in the 1990s in tandem with the rising visibility of animal-based social movements, new scientific understandings of animals as well as human impact on biodiversity, and new developments in social theory around ideas of the subject. This wave of animal geography focuses on the full socioeconomic spectrum of human–animal relations—which includes wild and farmed animals as well as pets, captive animals, research animals, and entertainment animals—and the ways in which animals are used as cultural signifiers in one way or another. Animal geography, with its emphasis on space, place, and scale, is a unique contributor to the larger, multidisciplinary field of human–animal studies.

Article.  8232 words. 

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography ; Human Geography

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