Category Archives: Introduction

The Future of Performing Humanity

The Future of Performing Humanity.

The Future of Performing Humanity

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 3.52.54 PMWe’re excited to introduce readers, faithful and newly added, to the testing site of the updated Performing Humanity.

In the coming months, we will be assessing  the new site as an alternative to this platform.  We’ll be sharing reviews on summer films in the field, as well as articles on museums and art exhibits. As new content rolls in, we invite you to share feedback and suggestions so we can shape a site that showcases your work, and fits your needs and interests.

By the new year, we’ll have finalized the decisions and will be hosting collaborations with scholars, authors, and artists (including History Carnival in January 2015). We hope that you’ll join us by continuing to share your own ideas and contributions.

Have favorite articles from PH? Never fear! Our old site and its archives will remain available to you. We will also continue hosting our “Emerging Voices” series, which is also viewable through the RSS feed at the bottom of the new site, until it concludes in early November. You don’t need to miss a thing.

Thank you for reading!

Emerging Voices

In the coming weeks, Performing Humanity will be excited to share the work of emerging voices in the field: the students of  our editor’s spring 2014 animal-human studies course.

During the spring, students immersed themselves in researching questions about humanness, anthropomorphism, and related issues of Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 2.06.17 PMhuman and animal welfare. Their work provides valuable new perspectives; and these authors are excited to engage our community here at PH.

For each new thematic grouping, PH will feature an introduction tying together those authors’ works, whose writing will appear soon after. We encourage you to read, comment, and interact!

Scholarship Highlight: April 15, 2014

Have you ever wondered how scholars of literature locate questions of humanness in texts? This month, Performing Humanity will feature the work of one such scholar — and we invite you, the readers, to chime in with your thoughts.

What links exist between scholarship and activism?

How do novels depict historical or theoretical moments that blur lines of humanness?

What other pieces of literature or art can help us to continue this consideration?


For those over-achievers who want to read ahead, the editor recommends Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

We look forward to sharing more on April 15!

Answers, Questions, and Movements in the New Year

“The day may come,when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny.”  – Jeremy Bentham (1)

The dawn of 2014 marks 225 years since Bentham drew attention toward the divisions among how Eastern and Western cultures viewed the ethical status of non-human animals, and since he infamously claimed that the question of a being’s status ” is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” (1). This year also marks 39 years since Animal Liberation entered the philosophical and activist consciousness, due to Peter Singer’s seminal work of that title.

Here at Performing Humanity, we work to raise questions about ethical and social status of humans, non-humans, and the Othered categories that further blur those lines. To that end, we’ve compiled a brief (and by no means comprehensive) collection of how and where we located new areas of inquiry that bridge 2013 and the year ahead. As always, our editor invites comments and submissions that further develop these dialogues.

* Shows such as The Walking Dead and True Blood continued in popularity, raising questions about the roles that mortality, reason, sentience, and physical appearance play in defining humans and humanness.

* In the popular music world, the difference among men and women — and the genders they perform — caused debate, bringing the work of Robin Thicke and the concept of “Blurred Lines” to the forefront of daily life. (For more on this issue in PH, see our past posting).

* In New York, a landmark case brought forward by the Nonhuman Rights Project called for the release of Tommy, a captive chimp. Filing a writ of habeas corpus, the group demanded that Tommy’s captivity was a violation of his rights.

* A series of undercover investigations led by the group Mercy for Animals exposed widespread abuses in dairy farms and pork facilities, leading to large scale media coverage and changes in how corporations such as Tyson Foods handle nonhuman livestock.

These issues and more have shaped our transition into the new year. At PH, we invite you to develop our conversations, knowledge, and questioning about them.





(1) Jeremy Bentham, The Principles of Morals and Legislation,  Chapter XVII, Section 1 (1789).

History Carnival: Call for Submissions

Performing Humanity will be proud to host the first History Carnival edition of 2014!

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 1.46.24 PM

Beginning December 1, 2013, we invite you to nominate the most influential, compelling, and otherwise intellectually stimulating history posts from the month of December. In particular, we encourage submissions that promote dialogue that queer conceptions of humanness.

Please fill out this form to submit. We look forward to sharing with you in 2014!

Practical Criticism Midwest, 2014

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 1.40.17 PM

The Graduate Student Advisory Board at Ball State is proud to announce its CFP for the spring Practical Criticism Midwest Conference. The event is open to all BSU graduate students, and this year’s event seeks to blur lines among genres and disciplines by inviting works from a variety of humanities fields as well as initiating a new tradition of hosting creative readings and poster presentations in addition to traditional conference presentations. Interested parties can submit at:


(Performing Humanity may be biased, but we’d also like to acknowledge the timeliness and relevance of this year’s theme)

Animals, Humans, and Assistance

In anticipation of upcoming content on Performing Humanity, we’re using this month to feature a number of organizations invested in animal rights and animal protection.  For anyone interested in more information on these groups, or to volunteer time and resources, please click on the links. If you have further suggestions or wish to share experiences, we encourage you to contribute in the Comments Section!

World Wildlife Fund

The world’s leading conservation organization, which seeks to bridge science with social justices for the benefit of humans and non-human animals.


A charity committed to promoting effective means of preventing cruelty to animals throughout the United States.

Animal Charities of America

A hub site that vets animal charities and posts links for contributors’ further research.

An Act of Dog

A non-profit using art to promote awareness of and work toward a no-kill solution for shelter dogs in the United States.

Volunteer Equine Advocates

A regional charity working in collaboration with local officials to identify horses experiencing abuse or neglect in order to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome.

Upcoming Content: An Interview with Barbara King

Be on the lookout, PH readers! Exciting new content is approaching in July. It is our privilege to share a conversation between our editor, Miranda Nesler, and renowned anthropologist and author Barbara King.  Tune in next month for their dialogue about sentience and grief in the lives of human and non human animals.Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 12.12.44 AM

In the mean time, follow @PerformHumanity on Twitter for updates and insights related to the blog.

BSU English Presents: Practical Criticism Midwest, 2013

The Graduate Student Advisory Board of BSU proudly presents Practical Criticism Midwest on Friday, February 8, 2013!

Be a part of the Department of English’s great tradition.

Come support your colleagues as they present their research in creative writing, linguistics, literature, and composition & rhetoric. Hear our keynote speaker, Dr. Vicki Anderson, and stay for the delicious wine and sassy doggerel contest with three guest judges who will not disappoint. PCM is located at the gorgeous Virginia Ball Center. This event gives you the chance to attend a first-rate conference, and then have a fireside chat with faculty and friends.

For more info and a schedule of events, visit the PCM website


%d bloggers like this: