Human Animal Studies have gained in importance in the European research landscape over the last ten years. Thanks to the involvement of many scientists within and outside the universities, the important questions of human-animal relationships have arisen in various scientific disciplines. They are also increasingly debated throughout society. The institutionalization of this important field of research has developed quite diversely in Europe. While some places have already established their first master’s degree courses, there are individual scientists who, with their critical impulses, are bringing forward research on non-human animals.
We, the working group for Human-Animal Studies, Chimaira, would like to work together with other institutions, establishments and individuals, to establish a European network and coordination office for the research field of Human-Animal Studies. Our goal is to promote research, informed by a
critical perspective, through a European network and thus enable mutual support for researchers. Thus, the profile of the Human-Animal Studies can be strengthened and a continuous exchange can be established across national borders.
The European Confederation for Human Animal Studies (ECHAS) will promote, intensify and institutionalize research, teaching and theories, originating from a critical perspective, in the complex field of human-animal relations, for the European region. ECHAS sees itself as an interdisciplinary network of researchers and teachers who are active in Human-Animal Studies, or who are already working on human-animal relationships in other scientific disciplines.
We are aware that such structures already exist within the European framework. Our project does not regard itself in competition to these, but
wants to enter an intensive exchange and generate synergies.
ECHAS has the following objectives:
– the promotion, institutionalization and establishment of critical Human-Animal Studies at teaching and research facilities
– the interdisciplinary and cross-border cooperation in the field, and the exchange of knowledge and best practice
– the setting of teaching and research foci considering an intersectional perspective
– the formation of a theory and method canon
– the development of curricula
– the introduction of a European Master Program for Human-Animal Studies
– the establishment of the „European Center for Human-Animal Studies“ as an information and coordination center
– the consideration of the well-being of non-human animals in science and research as a cross-section in the field of higher education
– the promotion of young scientists
To achieve these goals, we strive for regular exchanges at joint congresses and meetings, the publication of joint editions, a scientific database, as well as coordinated press and public relations work.
In order to realize this project, we set up a European consortium at the preparatory meeting in June, which provides several funding applications to the European Union for financially securing the network. Among other things, we have already submitted an application for the COST. Additionally, we are planning to apply for funding at Horizon 2020 and the Erasmus program.
Furthermore, we are planning to create positions (at universities and other institutions) for members of the network located in different European or affiliated countries, in order to build up the structures of the network.