Jay M. Henderson

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10117

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Henderson, Jay (Chicago, U. of) "Service Dogs for U.S. Veterans: Trauma, Ethical Entanglements, and the Everyday"

My dissertation will examine the everyday encounters of affinity that come about in the training and labor of service dogs with U.S. veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress. I explore the ways in which dogs are simultaneously tools that make environments more accessible for disabled veterans and subjects that act and form relations in the world. I posit that events of trauma draw dogs, trainers, and veterans into everyday, ethical entanglements that produce and sustain novel forms of being in the world. My study is a departure from prevailing assumptions that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma are interchangeable. Instead, I pay attention to when and where trauma is rendered as a disability. What happens when we think of disability not as a deficiency but rather as a kind of diversity that renders viable new ways of being in the world, such as forming convergences of human and dog, as well as an array of objects, subjects, and discourses? Using ethnographic methods, my project will investigate the ways in which my interlocutors produce a shared understanding of trauma through relations with companion animals.