As it has taken shape as a distinct field of scholarly inquiry, animal studies has significantly contributed to our understanding of other species and our relationships with them. Drawing on a variety of disciplinary approaches across the humanities and sciences, animal studies has challenged traditional categories that have long gone unquestioned, such as “nature” and “wildness” that not only clarify perspectives on the lives of animals but human experiences and concepts.
In this podcast, we talk with Harriet Ritvo, who has been a leading voice in animal studies for over thirty years. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and past president of the American Society for Environmental History. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center (twice), and the Stanford Humanities Center. Ritvo currently serves as the Arthur J. Connor Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and as a trustee of the National Humanities Center.