Cultural Animal Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Traditional Practices (ANIMAL)

The project Cultural Animal Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Traditional Practices (ANIMAL) starts from the beginnings of cultural animal studies and current animalistic outreaches in Croatia, accomplishments of cultural-animalistic themes’ researched at IEF and contemporary world theoretical tendencies in that scientific area.

The research work of the ANIMAL project of a prominent interdisciplinarity includes the established philological, folkloristic and ethnographic methodology as well as research methods of history of arts, protection of cultural heritage and archaeology.  The research team has 9 members (from Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia).

The project focuses on the reflection of human-animal relations through several key paradigms:  the roles of animals in Croatian traditional culture world model, that is, the analysis and valorization of the animalistic materials in significant works of Croatian ethnography and folkloristics of the 19th/20th century, such as the Collection on the Folk Life and Customs of the Southern Slavs (ZNŽO), as well as in the unpublished, oldest and recently gathered ethnographic field materials. The elaboration of these data gathers all the team members of the project and in the end enables the shaping of a lexicon of the working title The Bestiary of Croatian Ethnoculture as the first extensive publication of this type. The intention is to expand with this segment of the research also the range of disciplinary and diachronic animalistic questioning and interdisciplinary interpretations and develop archaeological and art historical contributions to reflections on human-animal relationship in the past and their contemporary considerations.

The aim is also to make analyses from literary-animalistic perspective of the yet unstudied part of the older Croatian literature written in Cyrillic and Glagolitic script (eg. The Flower of Virtue or about Human Temper through the Animal One). This research will also enable the preparation of an Animalistic Dictionary of Croatian Glagolitic Literary Corpus.

By new thematic contributions and diachronic aspects, the goal is to enlarge the corpus of the analyzed oral literary and literary works from the animalistic perspective, not only of Croatian but also the chosen Slovenian and Serbian works.

With the development of new interdisciplinary approaches, the intent is to contribute to theoretical and empirical pathways of posthumanistic paradigm and so called animal turn. This includes reflections on the most current cultural-animalistic epistemology in the world. For example, critical animalistics which includes animal rights and zooethics/bioethics (the book Cetera animantia. From ethnozoology to zooethics), current zoofokloristics, ethnozoology and anthropology of animals that redefine the tradition of contested cultural practices, as well as reflect on cohabitation of people and animals in urban spaces and social zooarchaeology, which is directed towards the understanding of interactions of human and animal in the past.

In the context of current technologies, the innovativeness of the project will be contained in the way of storing the data, that is, in the modeling of an animalistic thesaurus – technologically highly sophisticated meeting point of all up to current as well as future animalistic researches in literature, ethnology, folkloristics, cultural anthropology and related disciplines of the humanities.

The project Cultural Animal Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Traditional Practices–  ANIMAL (IP-2019-04-5621) is funded by the Croatian Science Foundation (Project leader: dr. Suzana Marjanić,