CfP: Superheroes and Critical Animal Studies

The Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS)
Edited essay collection
Stichtag: 15.03.2016

We are seeking 300-500 word abstracts by March 15th, 2016 for possible inclusion into an edited collection seeking to explore the world of animal rights and liberation against the backdrop of superheroes in film, television, and comics. While there are many book projects that look at the superhero universe from a variety of perspectives there has yet to be a collection that approaches it from the question of the nonhuman. This project is meant to fill that absence focusing on the construction of the (super)human as it relates to the way our culture understands and values nonhuman animals.

It is no surprise that audiences throughout the world cheered the super powered Rocket Raccoon in the Guardians of the Galaxy as he worked to save the galaxy from destruction. Nor is it a surprise that Rocket travelled with Starlord and other (super)humanly companions. Of course, Rocket is not the first nonhuman animal superhero issue that relate nonhuman animals and to their human companions. This is seen by Superman’s relationship with his superdog Krypto; Howard the Duck awkwardly surviving while trapped in a world he never made; Aquamans’ defense of sea life from human destruction; animal man’s quest to protect nonhuman animals from harm; and Cat Woman teaming up with animal liberations to free lab animals.

In this edited book we want to explore the complex cultural intersections that exist between superheroes and nonhuman animals by putting comic book and superhero studies into dialogue with Critical Animal Studies. Critical Animal Studies is rooted in animal liberation, intersectionality, and anarchism. It is aim is to produce intersectional analysis that can form the foundation for praxis by using scholarship in solidarity with radical and revolutionary movements for total liberation. We plan on having the entirety of this book adhere to the ten principles of CAS (

This edited book will be peer reviewed and will be submitted to be a part of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies book series with Lexington Press, although this won’t be secured until all abstracts are chosen. We are interested not only in the present controversies and debates within the field of animal studies but also in expanding the debate and discussion on the topics of superheroes to engage beyond the human.

Possible topics might include:

  • Abelism
  • Animal activism
  • Animal Rights philosophy
  • Anthropomorphism
  • Critical Race Analysis
  • Feminist Theory
  • Film Analysis and theory
  • History of animals and superheroes
  • Marxist Analysis
  • Media Studies and Communication Theory
  • Nonhuman animal narrative focus in Superhero comics and movies
  • Notions of becoming animal
  • Intersectional analysis on species, race, gender, class, etc
  • Queer Theory
  • Sentience
  • Television, comics, and film representations
  • Treatment of animals in film

Please direct any questions and 300-500 word abstracts along with a 150 word bio to Dr. JL Schatz ( and Dr. Sean Parson ( by March 15th, 2016. Final pieces will be approximately 5,000 to 7,000 words.

We will notify authors of their acceptance no later than April 1st, 2016.

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