Date of Graduation

Spring 2020

Degree

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Committee Chair

Jake Simmons

Keywords

critical veganism, posthumanism, animal studies, new materialism, multi-species ethnography, performance

Subject Categories

Continental Philosophy | Ethics in Religion | Performance Studies | Rhetoric

Abstract

This thesis lays the groundwork for a critical vegan orientation to posthuman communication research. Critical veganism attempts to do the least amount of harm to nonhuman beings, a shift that decenters the human in scholarship and focuses on the material realities of nonhuman beings. This orientation helps create a praxis for posthuman research that is in line with a new materialist approach to ontology, is anti-capitalist, and strives to do the least harm. Previous research methods tend to be anthropocentric in nature, thus leaving out nonhuman experiences from communication research. Using both autoethnography and multi-species ethnography as my methods, I apply a critical vegan orientation in ways that reimagine research methods from a posthuman perspective. The first application uses performative autoethnography to explore the inherently political and embodied nature of leaving animals off my plate in Evangelical Christian social contexts. The second application of critical veganism uses both autoethnography and multi-species ethnography to examine photos of cats that my sister and I took along the Camino de Santiago. These photos helped to open up the perspectives of other human pilgrims around us to the nonhuman beings sharing the Camino space. A critical vegan orientation better suits communication scholarship, urging us not only to include nonhuman others in our research, but to continue the conversation about best practices for doing so.

Copyright

© Kensey Dressler

Open Access

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