Nonhuman Humanitarians

Nonhuman Humanitarians

Animal Interventions in Global Politics

Benjamin Meiches

Examining the appearance of nonhuman animals laboring alongside humans in humanitarian operations

232 Pages, 6 x 9 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781517913854
  • Published: June 27, 2023
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  • eBook
  • 9781452969442
  • Published: June 27, 2023
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  • Hardcover
  • 9781517913847
  • Published: June 27, 2023
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Details

Nonhuman Humanitarians

Animal Interventions in Global Politics

Benjamin Meiches

ISBN: 9781517913854

Publication date: June 27th, 2023

232 Pages

8 black and white illustrations

8 x 5

"In this incisive exploration of the ethical and political implications of nonhuman labor in humanitarian work, Benjamin Meiches raises important questions about how humanitarian practices of care and generosity may be expanded beyond the constraints of anthropocentric reason to serve a global multispecies community facing the simultaneous and intensifying threats of climate change, ecological collapse, mass extinction, and violent conflict."—Elan Abrell, author of Saving Animals: Multispecies Ecologies of Rescue and Care

 

"For those that would dispute the relevance of the more-than-human in the study of international relations, Nonhuman Humanitarians constitutes a significant rejoinder. Benjamin Meiches’s book examines the intersection between humanitarian practice and the small, though growing, literature on the role of our fellow species in conflict situations. It has much to teach about human–nonhuman relations, the practice of humanitarianism, and the ethics of both."—Stephen Hobden, coauthor of The Emancipatory Project of Posthumanism

 


Examining the appearance of nonhuman animals laboring alongside humans in humanitarian operations

 

Both critical and mainstream scholarly work on humanitarianism have largely been framed from anthropocentric perspectives highlighting humanity as the rationale for providing care to others. In Nonhuman Humanitarians, Benjamin Meiches explores the role of animals laboring alongside humans in humanitarian operations, generating new ethical possibilities of care in humanitarian practice.

Nonhuman Humanitarians examines how these animals not only improve specific practices of humanitarian aid but have started to transform the basic tenets of humanitarianism. Analyzing case studies of mine-clearance dogs, milk-producing cows and goats, and disease-identifying rats, Nonhuman Humanitarians ultimately argues that nonhuman animal contributions problematize foundational assumptions about the emotional and rational capacities of humanitarian actors as well as the ethical focus on human suffering that defines humanitarianism.

Meiches reveals that by integrating nonhuman animals into humanitarian practice, several humanitarian organizations have effectively demonstrated that care, compassion, and creativity are creaturely rather than human and that responses to suffering and injustice do not—and cannot—stop at the boundaries of the human.

Benjamin Meiches is associate professor of politics at the University of Washington-Tacoma. He is author of The Politics of Annihilation: A Genealogy of Genocide (Minnesota, 2019).