Placing Animals

An Introduction to the Geography of Human-Animal Relations

By (author) Julie Urbanik

Publication date:

02 August 2012

Length of book:

206 pages

Publisher

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442211841

As Julie Urbanik vividly illustrates, non-human animals are central to our daily human lives. We eat them, wear them, live with them, work them, experiment on them, try to save them, spoil them, abuse them, fight them, hunt them, buy and sell them, love them, and hate them. Placing Animals is the first book to bring together the historical development of the field of animal geography with a comprehensive survey of how geographers study animals today. Urbanik provides readers with a thorough understanding of the relationship between animal geography and the larger animal studies project, an appreciation of the many geographies of human-animal interactions around the world, and insight into how animal geography is both challenging and contributing to the major fields of human and nature-society geography. Through the theme of the role of place in shaping where and why human-animal interactions occur, the chapters in turn explore the history of animal geography and our distinctive relationships in the home, on farms, in the context of labor, in the wider culture, and in the wild.
It is not often that a text is seminal, but this one is. Urbanik reviews the geographic research that deals with humans' relationships with animals and provides an effective framework to understand how geographic thought has developed on this topic. She provides a historical overview of thinking about animals in the human world and analyzes recent geographic studies of animals as beasts of burden, on farms as food, and as wildlife in human spaces. Urbanik ‘places’ animals in societies' historical, economic, cultural, ethical, and political landscapes, and engages students to employ geographical approaches to think about animals in their lives. This introductory text would provide an appropriate foundation for courses designed to consider the geography of human-animal relations. However, it is more than that. It also reveals the evolution of the scholarship that is, of course, valuable to researchers, and captures a snapshot of contemporary attitudes toward and feelings about animals in mainstream cultures. Though rather brief, the book is very readable and deals with rather complex conceptualizations. It is a library-worthy volume, for certain. Summing Up: Essential. All academic levels/libraries.