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The Institute for Critical Animal Studies Top Ten Reads of 2010


2010 was an exceptional year for groundbreaking books on animal advocacy and progressive social change. As the new year begins, we would like to share our Top 10 Picks of 2010, which are listed below in no particular order. We highly recommend purchasing some of these books for back to school reading, or requesting them for your local library!


1. Critical Pedagogy, Ecoliteracy & Planetary Crisis: The Ecopedagogy Movement by Richard Kahn

In this keystone book on ecopedagogy, Kahn develops the approach of ecopedagogy which links education and critical theory with concerns for nonhuman species. Such an educational approach is crucial in the face of widespread environmental destruction and oppression of nonhuman animals we see today. A must have resource and classroom tool for educators.






2. Animals as Biotechnology: Ethics, Sustainability and Critical Animal Studies by Richard Twine

Animals as Biotechnology is one of the first books ever published on critical animal studies. Twine, the European Director of ICAS, takes an interdisciplinary approach to animal ethics and concerns that arise from the commodification of animals in science and economics today. This well-researched book raises important questions about the relations and constructed divides between humans, nonhuman animals and nature, and roots the discussion of eco-sustainability in these questions.




3. Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society by Breeze Harper (editor)

Sistah Vegan contains 25 articles, from critical essays to personal narratives and poetry written by Black female vegans in America. It is the first book to examine in depth the intersections of veganism with race, gender, animal rights, nutrition, health, body image and environmentalism, and challenge whiteness and patriarchy in vegan culture and racism in food politics. Harper’s theory of decolonizing the body and mind by following a vegan diet, instead of relying on “postindustrial soul food” is significant. A must read for vegan advocates and intersectional politics.


4. Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex by Anthony J. Nocella, II, Steven Best, Peter McLaren (editors)

Another excellent anthology, Academic Repression provides a comprehensive look at various forms of repression facing higher education, including critical animal studies and its scholars. Edited by ICAS co-founders Anthony J. Nocella, II and Steven Best, this book compiles articles from top scholars such as Howard Zinn, Joy James, Emma Perez, and Henry Giroux, and includes an article by Richard Kahn on the repression of animal rights academics. The centers of progressive education must be protected from corporations and policing of dissent.




5. Animals in Schools: Processes and Strategies in Human-Animal Education by Helena Pedersen

Animals in Schools is one of the first books on critical animal studies. Looking at a wide variety of educational settings, it engages in questions about human and nonhuman relations from how schools deal with eating meat to visiting zoos. Pedersen’s book is now part of the school curriculum in Sweden. It was presented with the 2010 book award from ICAS.







6. Muzzling a Movement: The Effects of Anti-Terrorism Law, Money, and Politics on Animal Activism by Dara Lovitz

Since 9/11 an increasing number of peace activists are being labeled as terrorists. Animal rights advocates are high on this list. Examining the comprehensive history of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), including a case study of the SHAC-7, lawyer and author Dara Lovitz sheds light on the bill and how it threatens civil liberties in this valuable book.







7. Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change by Nick Cooney

Helping people open their hearts to compassionate living can be no easy task, but it is a crucial one for liberation. Cooney, a long time activist, offers useful research and examples from psychology that provide insight into effective methods of influencing progressive social change. This book is an important addition to the activist toolbox.







8. About Canada: Animal Rights by John Sorenson

One of the few on animal rights in Canada, this book is written by John Sorenson, the founder of the Critical Animal Studies minor at Brock University. It was published as part of the About Canada series. An important contribution to animal rights literature and a must have for all Canadian activists.







9. Fear of Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance by Jason Hribal

Where there is power, there is resistance. The exploitative power that human beings use to oppress other animals is met with their resistance. In this book, Hribal, a historian, documents cases of resistance from nonhuman animals. This book was just released by AK Press in December. With the title recollecting “Fear of a Black Planet” by Public Enemy, you know it’ll be good.






10. Animal Liberation Front: Complete Diary of Actions by Peter Young

The actions of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) in the U.S. from the late 1970’s are documented for the first time by Young, a former ALF political prisoner. This book will greatly assist in research on the ALF as well as other groups working outside the law to help animals, who are also included in this book. The ALF have saved hundreds of thousands of animals in the U.S. Read about their courageous actions and support the movement!

If you think of a book that we missed on this list, please post it below!

For the 2010 Critical Animal Studies Awards presented at the North American Conference for Critical Animal Studies, check out the Current Award Winners.

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