In recent years, animals have entered the focus of the social and cultural sciences, resulting in the emergence of the new field of human–animal studies. This book investigates the relationships between humans and animals, paying particular attention to the role of affect, space, and animal subjectivity in diverse human–animal encounters. Written by a team of international scholars, contributions explore current debates concerning animal representation, performativity, and relationality in various texts and practices.

Part I explores how animals are framed as affective, through four case studies that deal with climate change, human–bovine relationships, and human–horse interaction in different contemporary and historical contexts. Part II expands on the issue of relationality and locates encounters within place, mapping the different spaces where human–animal encounters take place. Part III then examines the construction of animal subjectivity and agency to emphasize the way in which animals are conscious and sentient beings capable of experiencing feelings, emotions, and intentions, and active agents whose actions have meaning for the animals themselves.

This book highlights the importance of the ways in which affect enables animal agency and subjectivity to emerge in encounters between humans and animals in different contexts, leading to different configurations. It contributes not only to debates concerning the role of animals in society but also to the epistemological development of the field of human–animal studies.

chapter 1|10 pages


ByJopi Nyman, Nora Schuurman

part Paer I|52 pages

Being with animals

chapter 2|12 pages

Never-ending stories, ending narratives

Polar bears, climate change populism, and the recent history of British nature documentary film
ByGraham Huggan

chapter 3|15 pages

Cattle tending in the ‘good old times’

Human–cow relationships in late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Finland
ByTaija Kaarlenkaski

chapter 4|12 pages

In pursuit of meaningful human–horse relations

Responsible horse ownership in a leisure context
ByNora Schuurman, Alex Franklin

chapter 5|11 pages

‘… and Horses’

The affectionate bond between horses and humans/gods in Homer's Iliad
ByTua Korhonen

part Part II|58 pages

Mapping human–animal spaces

chapter 6|15 pages

Re-reading sentimentalism in Anna Sewell's Black Beauty

Affect, performativity, and hybrid spaces
ByJopi Nyman

chapter 7|15 pages

Seeing the animal otherwise

An Uexküllian reading of Kerstin Ekman's The Dog
ByOlaussen Maria

chapter 8|12 pages

Transcultural affect

Human–horse relations in Joe Johnston's Hidalgo, Steven Spielberg's War Horse, and Belá Tarr's The Turin Horse
BySissy Helff

chapter 9|14 pages

What's underfoot

Emplacing identity in practice among horse–human pairs
ByAnita Maurstad, Dona Lee Davis, Sarah Dean

part Part III|58 pages

From objects to subjects

chapter 10|17 pages

Moving (with)in affect

Horses, people, and tolerance
ByLynda Birke, Jo Hockenhull

chapter 11|11 pages

Companionable human–animal relationality

A reading of a Buddhist jātaka (rebirth) tale
ByTeuvo Laitila

chapter 12|12 pages

Passing the cattle car

Anthropomorphism, animal suffering, and James Agee's ‘A Mother's Tale’
ByJouni Teittinen

chapter 13|16 pages

An avian–human art?

Affective and effective relations between birdsong and poetry
ByKaroliina Lummaa

part IV|17 pages

Methodological afterword

chapter 14|15 pages

Ethnographic research in a changing cultural landscape

ByKaren Dalke, Harry Wels