New Animal Geographies

Many of the renewed animal geographies that emerged in the mid 1990s sought to put some distance between themselves and cultural ecology and Sauer’s cultural geography, though some writers do point to a few continuities with that tradition. Such work emerged out of the new cultural geographies that took more materialist approaches to cultural interactions, post structuralist theories that decentered human subjects (therefore, stressing possibilities of other than human agency), as well as environmentalist and eco feminist developments in ethics and politics.

These renewed animal geographies take a wide variety of forms. Nearly all new approaches retain the strong empirical focus found in earlier cultural geographies but with a focus on more posthumanist ontologies and epistemologies, geographically dispersed notions of ethics, and more innovative and politically engaged methodologies.

Theoretical engagements in this renewal of animal geographies have also been varied. To simplify, we might divide these into sociocultural approaches that focus on identities, class, gender, and race; political economic approaches, and more vitalist inflected more than human approaches. However, the boundaries between these theoretical and empirical approaches are unsurprisingly porous as animal geographies develop. As such, they are divided here simply as a rough guide to this field of work.