Animals and Ourselves

Essays on Connections and Blurred Boundaries

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About the Book

The relationship between humans and animals has always been strong, symbiotic and complicated. Animals, real and fictional, have been a mainstay in the arts and entertainment, figuring prominently in literature, film, television, social media, and live performances. Increasingly, though, people are anthropomorphizing animals, assigning them humanoid roles, tasks and identities. At the same time, humans, such as members of the furry culture or college mascots, find pleasure in adopting animal identities and characteristics. This book is the first of its kind to explore these growing phenomena across media. The contributors to this collection represent various disciplines, to include the arts, humanities, social sciences, and healthcare. Their essays demonstrate the various ways that human and animal lives are intertwined and constantly evolving.

About the Author(s)

Kathy Merlock Jackson, a Virginia Wesleyan University professor of communication, teaches media studies and children’s culture. She is president of the Popular Culture Association and former editor of The Journal of American Culture. She has authored or edited ten books, including four on Walt Disney and others on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, shapers of and rituals in children’s culture, celebrity medical tourism, and images of children in American film.

Kathy Shepherd Stolley is a professor of sociology at Virginia Wesleyan University, where her emphasis is applied sociology. She was the school’s first associate dean for innovative teaching and engaged learning. Her scholarship has appeared in various professional journals and she has authored or co-edited six books.

Lisa Lyon Payne is a communication professor at Virginia Wesleyan University, where she focuses on journalism and public relations. She advises the student newspaper and is editor of College Media Review, the flagship journal of the College Media Association. She has authored or co-authored a book and over twenty book chapters and journal articles in the areas of college media, popular culture, crisis communication, reputation management and public relations theory development.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kathy Merlock Jackson, Kathy Shepherd Stolley and Lisa Lyon Payne

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 293
Bibliographic Info: bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7173-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4014-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  vi

Introduction (Kathy Merlock Jackson, Lisa Lyon Payne and Kathy Shepherd Stolley)  1

Part I. Representations: Images of Animals in Media

Animal/Human Relations in Two Prairie Tales by L. Frank Baum (Mark I. West)  7

Cultivating Conservation: Childhood and Animalhood in the Fiction of Ernest Thompson Seton (Martin Woodside)  12

Mister Ed, 1960s Television and the Horse Who Was Not Just a Horse (Kathy Merlock Jackson)  21

Blurred Laughter: How Disney and Pixar Animated Films Teach Children to Laugh Like Animals (Terry Lindvall)  32

Surprisingly Human: Producing Nonhuman Selves for Human Entertainment (Candace Korasick)  42

Fargo: Morality in the “Animal” Kingdom (Lynnette Porter)  53

Beautiful Cockroaches and Featherless Birds: Anthropomorphism in Books for Latinx Children (Stacy ­Hoult-Saros)  67

Friend or Food? The Limits of Anthropomorphism at Disney (Kristi Maxwell)  85

Part II. Relationships: Interactions Between Humans and Animals

From Trauma to Trust: The Convoluted Relationship Between Jews and Dogs Hadas Marcus and Tammy ­Bar-Joseph  97

No Room in the Boat? Pets vs. People in Disaster Relief Efforts (Amy J. Lantinga)  111

Mirrored Caregiving: Chronic Illness in the Human/Animal Household (Terri Kovach)  128

I Told the Dog First: The Delicate Relationship Between Marginalized Youth and Animals (Jeffrey Jin and Katharine Wenocur)  140

Japanese People Adore Their Animals (Jill S. Grigsby)  154

The “Soul” of the Circus: What Animals Under the Big Top Continue to Teach Their Audiences (Mort Gamble)  162

Part III. Reflections: Cultural Analysis of Human/Animal Blurring

From Tusk to Tail: Understanding the Animal Attraction to College Mascots (Lisa Lyon Payne)  175

Body Boundaries: Animal Body Adornment, Lifestyle Holism and Cosmetic Surgeries (Kathy Shepherd Stolley)  186

Farewell, Flipper: Sending Dolphins Back to the Sea (Jay Alabaster)  198

Horses in Hats, Frogs in Frocks (Elizabeth A. Larsen)  207

Animals and the Law: Persons or Property? (George S. Jackson)  215

The ­Cross-Cultural Animal: ­Human-Animal Interactions in American Study Abroad Marketing (Jennifer R. Auerbach and Jonathan Z. Friedman)  233

Presenting One’s Self as a Furry: What Does This Mean? (Jackie Eller, Jacob Lax and Mary De La Torre)  244

The Story of PARO, a Robotic Harp Seal Pup (Yoko Sakuma Crume)  256

Selective Bibliography (Camille McCutcheon)  269

About the Contributors  273

Index  277

Book Reviews & Awards

Animals and Ourselves addresses a host of fascinating questions associated with the blurring of the distinction between human and other species. How have TV nature documentaries changed our views of animals? What is fueling the rapid increase in cosmetic surgeries for dogs? Should nonhuman animals be considered persons or property under the law? Can ‘furries’ find happiness through on-line dating services? Do robotic pets make good therapists? This collection of essays offers an eclectic and intellectually satisfying tour of the myriad roles of animals in modern psychological life and in popular culture.”—Hal Herzog, author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight About Animals