PAN Works is delighted to welcome our newest Fellow, Tristan Derham.
Tristan’s research interests lie at the intersection of environmental thinking and practice, where ontological questions abound and ethical tensions multiply, inviting careful and creative discussion. He is convinced that living well means more than doing well by other humans. It has much to do with how we respond to the places we inhabit, our fellow creatures, and the social-ecological wholes of which we are a part. Tristan is bringing environmental philosophy to bear on problems raised by contemporary conservation and restoration practices. These practices include the restoration of wildness and autonomy in nature, the killing and hurting of animals for conservation outcomes, and the reinstitution of Indigenous cultural practices.
He completed a PhD in Restoration Ecology and Environmental Philosophy at the University of Tasmania in 2022. His thesis explored the rich ethical and political implications of rewilding, including the efficacy of rewilding to mitigate biological invasions, the ethics of introducing animals for their ecological roles, the role of autonomy in rewilding, opportunities for rewilding in Australia, and the evidence that some animals, particularly persecuted elephants, are refugees in a morally compelling sense.
Tristan is also one half of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Biodiversity and Heritage’s (CABAH) public policy engagement team, and a Project Manager for the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, working with WWF-Australia on the ecological and cultural restoration of lungtalanana/Clarke Island, an Aboriginal-owned island close to the Tasmanian mainland.
PAN Works is delighted to welcome Danielle Raad, PhD as a Fellow and Curator in Virtual Residence.
As a think tank we are keen to engage the arts and humanities in exploring the wellbeing of others animals. Her experience in the interpretation of visual and material culture makes manifest that endeavour through an online exhibition entitled Picturing the Animal.
In Danielle’s words:
The exhibit is an ongoing series of close-looking engagements, one work of art at a time. Viewers are oriented to the practices of mindfully slowing down, noticing detail, and visual analysis, or making inferences and connections rooted in close observation and historical context. As the exhibition unfolds, thematic threads will include the philosophical treatment of animals through time, conceptualizations of nature and wilderness, generative understandings of humanity vis-a-vis animality, and the epistemic uses of animals as symbols, or stand-ins for or foils to human qualities like loyalty, grace, or courage. This project aims to visualize and articulate the complexities of our relationships with different kinds of animals so that we may begin to imagine possible ethical futures.
Danielle is exceptionally well positioned for this curation. She is an anthropologist, educator, and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Academic Affairs and Outreach at the Yale University Art Gallery. In this current role, she practices art-based pedagogies and focuses on expanding university-level curricular engagement with the museum’s collections. You can read more about Danielle’s impressive background in her PAN Works biography.
Hear PAN Works fellow and board member Francisco Santiago-Ávila, PhD speak on rewilding and coexistence with implication for compassionate conservation, ethics and multispecies justice on the Rewilding Earth Podcast.
Hosted by the Wolf Conservation Center, Francisco Santiago-Ávila, PhD describes how the removal of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections and state policies liberalizing wolf-killing dismiss scientific and ethical evidence promoting wolves’ moral consideration. State policies in the wake of gray wolf delisting also reject more robust, compassionate, just, and democratic worldviews, which are highly valued by a majority of Americans.
The discussion starts with the increase of anthropogenic (human-caused) mortality in wolves, the devastation wreaked by said mortality, and the impact of lethal policies and actions on human-wolf conflicts. Not only are state wolf-killing policies largely ineffective, they are more often counterproductive. Reducing protections for wolves leads to an increase in unsanctioned killing and rarely helps to mitigate wolf-human conflicts.
We then consider the role of ethics in wolf policy and how not engaging in ethical deliberation results in agency capture and failure to address institutionalized, ill-founded and oppressive worldviews. In short, policies that legitimize wolf killing are at once unethical, anti-scientific, and undemocratic.
As an alternative to the failing approach represented by the gray wolf delisting and killing policies, we describe how current scientific and ethical understanding of wolves aligns with Ojibwe claims regarding the human-wolf relationship, along with values of compassion, justice, democracy, and mutual flourishing. We conclude by outlining the purpose and process of ethically-grounded scientific deliberation in the policy process, which in turn leads to better policy decisions and actions.
PAN Works is delighted to announce that our Fellow and Writer in Virtual Residence, Mara-Daria Cojocaru has published a new work, Passionate Animals. Order yours at Rohman & Littlefield or wherever you source your books!
Passionate Animals: Emotions, Animal Ethics, and Moral Pragmatics draws on the theoretical achievements made in ethics, political philosophy, and human-animal studies, addressing the problem that these advancements have not resulted in practical change toward significantly improved human-animal-relations. Mara-Daria Cojocaru argues that this gap between theory and action can close only if humans live up to the task of becoming passionate animals themselves—and passionate about animals as well. In the tradition of philosophical pragmatism and with reference to congenial thinkers like Mary Midgley, Cojocaru develops a moral pragmatics that highlights the role of emotions in moral and political life and focuses on the institutions necessary to make tangible progress on the problems posed by animal experimentation and factory farming.