Laura Kathryn McClellan

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Mississippi State U.

Grant number

Gr. 10179

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

McClellan, Kate (Mississippi State U.) "If We Were Animals: Human-Animal Care and Comparison in Jordan"

‘If We Were Animals’ is a book project about the entanglement of human and animal care in Jordan. Over the last century, Euro-American animal welfare organizations working in the Middle East have increasingly adopted approaches that aim to improve animal and human lives together through integrated standards and practices of care. Drawing on extended ethnographic fieldwork in Jordan and archival research in London, the book traces the impact of human-animal care as it is both implemented and resisted in Jordan, and as it reveals longer colonial histories of racialization in the Middle East. I follow human-animal care as it works comparatively and conditionally at different sites and scales human-animal relationality in Jordan, from how children are taught to touch and speak to individual dogs, to how entire regions are brought into community with groups of wild species. In my attention to the particularities of human-animal relationships, I show how valuations of human and animal life shift dramatically through the negotiation of care, and how care itself shifts as it is practiced through different logics, ethics, and methods. My book argues that animal welfare is and has always been a crucial site to understand not just forms of human-animal relations, but larger questions about humanity and animality across geography and time.