The Human-Animal Studies Initiative at Illinois

Jane Desmond, CAS Resident Director

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a premiere public research institution, is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s leading homes to work in Animal Studies or “human-animal” relations––drawing on faculty experts from all across the university, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the College of Law; the College of Agriculture, Consumer Economics and Environmental Studies; the College of Fine and Applied Arts; and the College of Veterinary Medicine. With a university-wide Research Cluster, cross-campus Courses, conferences, and a Summer Institute in Human-Animal Studies, the Animal Studies Initiative at Illinois integrates the dynamic complementary realms of teaching, research, and international outreach to address the needs of research faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and the wider public, and expand our understanding of human relations with non-human animals.

HUMANITIES RESEARCH INSTITUTE (HRI) RESEARCH CLUSTER: The Animal Turn, co-directed with Jamie Jones (English)

— Membership of more than 20 faculty and graduate students from 10 disciplines

— Ongoing workshops to develop new scholarship in process

— Campus-wide Symposium of lightning talks, panels, interviews, April 2020


From Liberal Arts to Animal Science, and from Law to the Fine Arts, graduate and undergraduate students are able to take a wide range of courses that include:

— “Knowing Animals”

— “Animal Welfare”

— “Animals in Latin American Culture”

— “Humans and Animals: Friends or Food?”

— “Companion Animals and Society”

— “Animal Shelter Management”

— “Anthropologies of a More than Human World”


The Center for Advanced Study sponsors an annual, international, interdisciplinary Summer Institute in Human-Animal Studies (from 2017-22 in collaboration with the non-profit Animals and Society Institute). The annual event targets advanced Ph.D. and professional degree students as well as early career scholars in the humanities, social sciences, law, arts, and sciences, taking an interdisciplinary approach.

— Distinguished guest lecturers from across the field

— 30 selected participants each year, about half from outside the U.S.

— Daily workshops to develop scholarship projects of the participants

— Seminars, publishing workshops, field trips, and arts events