Professor Jane Desmond

Visiting Research Fellow

Professor Jane Desmond (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)


Visiting Research Fellow, March - May 2019

Project: When the Patient is a Dog...or a Cow, or a Parrot: Prospects for a Veterinary medical Anthropology

"When the Patient is a Dog" asks what would the medical humanities look like if we expanded our notion of "medicine" to include non-human patients?  How would the inclusion of veterinary medicine in such a landscape challenge us to redefine notions of subjectivity, agency, and bioethics which are such central concerns in medicine for humans?  Building on several years of field work in U.S. veterinary teaching hospitals, and drawing on the posthumanist configuration of a "more than human world," I examine the potential that a humanities approach, including the analytical techniques of "narrative medicine," artistic practices, and social analysis, could have in transforming veterinary training, and ultimately the medical humanities themselves.

Bio:  Jane Desmond is Professor in Anthropology and Gender and Women's Studies, and Co-founder and Executive Director of the International Forum for U.S. Studies: a Center for the Transnational Study of the United States, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U.S.A.

Her primary areas of interest focus on issues of embodiment, display, and social identity, as well as the transnational U.S. Studies. Her areas of expertise include performance studies, critical theory, visual culture, the analysis of the U.S. in global perspectives, and, most recently, the political economy of human/animal relations.  She is the Founding Resident Director of the international Summer Institute in Animal Studies at UIUC, and of the _Animal LIves_ Book Series at the University of Chicago Press.  In addition to academic publications, she has written about human-animal relations for a number of public venues such as, The Washington, and the Huffington Post.

The author or editor of five scholarly books, Jane holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale, and most recently published Displaying Death:  Animating Life:  Human-Animal Relations in Art, Science, and Everyday Life (University of Chicago Press, 2016). 
Her current book project is called Medicine Across the Species Line.