Thesis ID: CBB697646509

The Unfinished Business of Anna Kingsford: Science, Enchantment, and Experiments on Animals (2023)


The project takes seriously Dr Anna Kingsford’s (1846-1888) claim that vivisection is a type of sorcery and science, a type of occult or spiritual undertaking believing that the assertion, which gained currency during the 19th–century antivivisection movement and is now overlooked, is yet unfinished and therefore a potentially powerful figuration for current antivivisectionists. To that end, the dissertation provides a critical and intersectional reading of the 19th-century British and European antivivisection movement, the fin de siècle occult revival, and Kingsford’s role in each, often working to bring these worlds together. This historical analysis includes an examination of Victorian attitudes to the period’s changing understanding of gender, species, race, and science. Building on this historical foundation, the dissertation will provide a theoretical discussion of Kingsford’s contemporary resonances with emerging disciplines in the environmental and posthumanities, including critical animal studies, material feminism, feminist posthumanism, and science and technology studies. Many theorists in these fields are interested in reappraising the roles of affect, enchantment, mysticism, and wonder in ethical thinking and human-animal-environmental relations. This project builds on these historical and theoretical insights by providing an “enchanted” analysis of the contemporary laboratory space, experiments on animals, and a reading of three case studies of ongoing animal experimentation paradigms (i.e., maternal deprivation, learned helplessness, and the organizational-activational hypothesis of homosexuality) which I argue lend themselves to a Kingsford-inspired analysis. Furthermore, this project articulates a novel “enchanted animal ethic” involving a feminist and neo-Spinozist articulation of human-animal and environmental ethics that makes space for mystical, non-secular modes of meaning-making, care-centered multispecies community building, and social and political movements. Finally, the project and an enchanted understanding of animal ethics will be useful to interdisciplinary scholars and advocates seeking a paradigm change in the sciences away from experiments on animals and towards a more humane and efficacious science as well as more egalitarian and meaningful relationships with animals and the more-than-human world.

Citation URI

This citation is part of the Isis database.

Similar Citations

Article Pierre-Luc Germain; Luca Chiapperino; Giuseppe Testa; (2017)
The European politics of animal experimentation: From Victorian Britain to ‘Stop Vivisection’ (/p/isis/citation/CBB443117651/) unapi

Article Chakrabarti, Pratik; (2010)
Beasts of Burden: Animals and Laboratory Research in Colonial India (/p/isis/citation/CBB000953653/) unapi

Article Machado, Carlos José Saldanha; Filipecki, Ana Tereza Pinto; Teixeira, Márcia de Oliveira; Klein, Helena Espellet; (2010)
A regulação do uso de animais no Brasil do século XX e o processo de formação do atual regime aplicado à pesquisa biomédica (/p/isis/citation/CBB001420444/) unapi

Article Lulka, David; (2008)
The Ethics of Extension: Philosophical Speculation on Nonhuman Animals (/p/isis/citation/CBB001031196/) unapi

Article Lee, Jack; (2008)
How Should Animals Be Treated? (/p/isis/citation/CBB001031197/) unapi

Article Finn, Michael A.; Stark, James F.; (2015)
Medical Science and the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876: A Re-Examination of Anti-Vivisectionism in Provincial Britain (/p/isis/citation/CBB001422111/) unapi

Chapter White, Paul S.; (2005)
The Experimental Animal in Victorian Britain (/p/isis/citation/CBB000772879/) unapi

Article Boddice, Rob; (2011)
Vivisecting Major: A Victorian Gentleman Scientist Defends Animal Experimentation, 1876--1885 (/p/isis/citation/CBB001034548/) unapi

Article Preece, Rod; (2003)
Darwinism, Christianity, and the Great Vivisection Debate (/p/isis/citation/CBB000774479/) unapi

Chapter Guerrini, Anita; (2008)
Animal Experiments and Anitvivisection Debates in the 1820s (/p/isis/citation/CBB000760393/) unapi

Thesis Shira Dina Shmuely; (2017)
The Bureaucracy of Empathy: Vivisection and the Question of Animal Pain in Britain, 1876-1912 (/p/isis/citation/CBB762286081/) unapi

Book Guerrini, Anita; (2003)
Experimenting with Humans and Animals: From Galen to Animal Rights (/p/isis/citation/CBB000330970/) unapi

Book Rudacille, Deborah; (2000)
The Scalpel and the Butterfly: The Conflict Between Animal Research and Animal Protection (/p/isis/citation/CBB000101123/) unapi

Article Maria Rosa Montinari; (2017)
La sperimentazione animale: dall'antichità al diciannovesimo secolo (/p/isis/citation/CBB243200420/) unapi

Book Anita Guerrini; (2022)
Experimenting with Humans and Animals: From Aristotle to CRISPR (/p/isis/citation/CBB030333227/) unapi

Article Pearson, Susan; (2013)
Speaking Bodies, Speaking Minds: Animals, Language, History (/p/isis/citation/CBB001202104/) unapi

Article Beaufays, Joseph-Paul; (2005)
L'animal au service de l'homme? (/p/isis/citation/CBB000670013/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Guerrini, Anita
Beaufays, Joseph-Paul
Boddice, Rob
Carvalho, André Luis de Lima
Chakrabarti, Pratik
Filipecki, Ana Tereza Pinto
Ethics, Place and Environment
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
History and Theory
History of Science
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Johns Hopkins University Press
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
Peter Lang
Animal experimentation
Science and ethics
Human-animal relationships
Animal rights
Biology and ethics; bioethics
Darwin, Charles Robert
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Cobbe, Frances Power
Deleuze, Gilles
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm
Romanes, George John
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
Early modern
Great Britain
Royal Commission on Vivisection (1875)

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment