Jane Goodall’s 1971 seminal study of free-living chimpanzees was called In the Shadow of Man, and for a long time (ironically) that is exactly what studies on animals were. Animals were eclipsed by anthropocentrism – but they were also overshadowed by the other meaning of ‘man’ as pseudogeneric: the male as normal and the norm, the female as aberrant or invisible. Goodall’s childhood role models –Dr Dolittle, Tarzan and Mowgli – and mentor Louis Leakey inspired her to pursue fieldwork inTanzania, her identity was a double-edged sword, winning her funding and misogynist scorn of herwork. She observed wryly: ‘If my legs helped me get publicity for the chimps, that was useful’. Yether research (and those of other women entering primatology at the time) challenged the male-dominated scientific consensus, revolutionizing our understanding of the sentience of otheranimals and emphasising the kinship between our species. Equally she exploded the myth ofthe ‘model’ animal who conformed to a stereotype dictated by their sex. It opened up a worldwhere animals in the field were known by name, and were understood as individuals with personalities, emotions, and histories.

Such contradictions and complexities inspire this CFP. Because something fresh and vital in Animal History is a focus on gender. Here ‘gender’ is not only code for ‘women’. Instead, it refers to the relationality of historically and socially co-constructed ways of being – behaviours, expressions, and identities – based on how society imagines sexual biology to operate. We look at the connection between the historically constructed and ever-changing human–animal boundary and the cultural construction of women as closer to animals – for good or bad. We are looking for essays that explore the changing gendered dynamics at work in animal-sensitive history. We call for analyses of how relations of power are contoured by gender and how they work in human-animal relations historically, deepening the dialogue between feminism and animal studies. We want writers who illuminate and dispel the ‘shadow of man’ – both species and gender – in understanding human-animal connections in the past.
We ask: Can animals have gender? How were systems of marginalization and othering based on and connected to the idea of human mastery over nature? Why did three famous women end up pioneering studies of the great apes? Why are most laboratory animals male? How are how nonhuman animals dragooned in the construction of human gendered identities? What is the origin story of the much ridiculed Euro-American cultural stereotype of the cat lady? Why does the matriarchal hyaena, with her enlarged clitoral pseudo-penis, freak everyone out?
Multi-species history matters in answering all these questions.


We are looking for articles that vary in length (3000-6000 words). We will also consider experimental pieces – poems, short explorations, visual essays, and creative interventions. We welcome contributions that employ different perspectives and scales of analysis from all over the world. We invite authors from academia, museums and cultural and heritage institutions, NGOs, and activist organisations. We want to extend the boundaries of the field – in authoring and subject material – by seeking research from a range of writers from diverse backgrounds, institutional affiliations, and places – from the Global South and Global North; early career and senior scholars; and contributors of diverse identities.

Abstracts of 200-300 words are to be submitted by 15 November 2022 to or or

Topics might include:

•Pecking Order? Gender in legal systems, cosmologies and classificatory systems of animals.
•The Female of the Species? Decolonizing animal histories.
•Animal Archives? What can we learn from women’s history (methodologies andhistoriographies) to tell animal histories?
•Wombs with a view? Histories of multi-species Reproductive Justice.
•Gender in the laboratory, farm, abattoir, or in the ‘wild’.
•Pussy Panic? Pathologizing ‘cat ladies’.
•Gendered disciplinary histories of animal sciences.
•Intersectionality in animal histories: at the intersections of speciesism, racism, sexism, andclassism.
•Intimate bodies: Gendered power relations in pet-keeping and horse riding.
•Cougars and Man-eaters – sexuality and animal histories.

Important dates:

15 November 2022: Deadline for abstracts
1 December 2022: Information concerning acceptance sent to the writers
1 April 2023: Submission deadline for articles to be submitted to editorial and peer review

For queries, please contact
Guest editor: Sandra Swart Professor of History Stellenbosch University, South Africa (
and/or Postdoctoral Researcher at Wageningen University, the Netherlands

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