This photo was taken the Kindred Spirits Conference in Bloomington, Indiana in 2006. It shows Annie Potts, myself, Carol Adams and Carol Gigliotti. Kindred Spirits was one of the very early Animal Studies conferences. The call for papers explained that Kindred Spirits: The Relationship Between Human and Nonhuman Animal was an interdisciplinary conference and noted:
“This conference will provide a chance to explore numerous and complex
aspects of human and nonhuman relationships, with the purpose of bringing
together a variety of scholars, thinkers, creative artists, and animal lovers
from across a number of disciplines for what it is hoped will be a provocative
There were only 40 selected presenters addressing a small audience of academics and non-academics at the University of Indiana. I had finished my PhD a couple of years earlier and was the only speaker from Australia; Annie Potts was the only presenter from NZ. It was here that I met Annie, Carol Gigliotti and other animal studies friends for the first time.
The conference was organised by Alyce Miller, an Attorney-at-Law and Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Indiana. Also presenting at the conference were Susan McHugh, Donna Haraway, Kari Weil, Jonathan Balcombe and Marc Beckoff. The following year we invited Jonathan and Marc to be keynote speakers at the Considering Animals conference in Hobart. Before and since, all these scholars published ground-breaking books and articles. For example:
Donna Haraway When Species Meet (2007); Kari Weil Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now? (2012); Annie Potts established the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies and published Animals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch Earthquakes; Jonathan Balcombe Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals, The Exultant Ark and What a Fish Knows, Susan McHugh Love in a Time of Slaughters: Human-animal Stories Against Extinction and Genocide (2019). Carol Gigliotti edited Leonardo’s Choice: Genetic Technologies and Animals (2009) and her latest book The Creative Lives of Animals will be published by NYU press in November 2022.
And there have been many Animal Studies conferences ─ because it is a new, interdisciplinary field that welcomes activists and artists as well as researchers from every discipline, conference papers are always exceptionally informative and compelling.