The question of the animal has preoccupied an increasing number of humanities, science, and social science scholars in recent years, and important work continues to expand the burgeoning field of animal studies. However, a key question still needs to be explored: Why has the academy struggled to link advocacy for animals to advocacy for various human groups? Within cultural studies, in which advocacy can take the form of a theoretical intervention, scholars have resisted arguments that add "species" to race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, and other human-identity categories as a site for critical analysis.
Species Matters: Humane Advocacy and Cultural Theory considers whether and why cultural studies—specifically cultural theory—should pay more attention to animal advocacy and whether or why animal studies should pay more attention to questions raised by cultural theory. The contributors to this volume focus on the "humane" treatment of animals and various human groups and the implications, both theoretical and practical, of blurring the distinction between "the human" and "the animal." This anthology addresses important questions raised by the history of representing humans as the only animal capable of acting humanely, providing a framework for reconsidering the nature of humane discourse, whether in theory, literary and cultural texts, or current advocacy movements outside of the academy.