Despite its inherent interdisciplinarity, the Communication discipline has remained an almost entirely anthropocentric enterprise. This book represents early and prominent forays into the subject of human-animal communication from a Communication Studies perspective, an effort that brings a discipline too long defined by that fallacy of division, human or nonhuman, into conversation with animal studies, biosemiotics, and environmental communication, as well as other recent intellectual and activist movements for reconceptualizing relationships and interactions in the biosphere. The chapters proceed from broad theoretical considerations to focused, case-study examinations and inquiries into animal-human communication, utilizing a range of qualitative methods with an emphasis upon critical analysis and ethnographic inquiry to engage ethical issues pertinent to dogs, whales, birds, horses, and other animals. Elsewhere, chapters emphasize praxis-oriented approaches to human-animal communication by challenging dominant discourses and institutional logics that deny or suppress human-animal implication. Thus, this book is a much-needed point of entry for future scholarship on animal-human communication, as well as the whole range of communication possibilities among the more-than-human world. It offers a groundbreaking transformation of higher education by charting new directions for communication research, policy formation, and personal and professional practices involving animals.
Emily Plec is Professor of Communication Studies at Western Oregon University, US.