Animal studies, according to at least one source, is “a force to be reckoned with in . . . fields with a traditionally humanistic bent.” Should you decide to reckon with that force, here are some readings to explore.

When asked for a list of her top five recommendations, Heather Keenleyside, AM’03, PhD’08, Assistant Professor in English Language and Literature, couldn’t pare it down to fewer than nine, noting that the list is “still wildly selective, of course.”

Joela Jacobs, a doctoral student in Germanic Studies and cofounder of the Animal Studies workshop, offered a list broken down by subject.

If you are interested in . . .

“There are many good essays too,” Jacobs adds, “with wonderfully suggestive titles like Thomas Nagel’s ‘What Is It Like to Be a Bat?’ (philosophy, 1974), Susan Fraiman’s ‘Pussy Panic versus Liking Animals’ (gender studies, 2012 in our own Critical Inquiry), and John Berger’s Why Look at Animals? (art history, 1980).”

The Derrida essay, seen as a seminal text in the field, made both Keenleyside’s and Jacobs’s lists. For those who want to avoid wrestling with the piece (sample quote: “I often ask myself, just to see, who I am—and who I am (following) at the moment when, caught naked, in silence, by the gaze of an animal, for example the eyes of a cat . . . ”), the 2012 New York Times article “Animal Studies Cross Campus to Lecture Hall” provides enough background to blag your way through a cocktail party discussion.