Panel Announcement “Animal Welfare Activism in the Maghreb”

We don’t even have rights for humans! Why should we then have rights for animals?

Place: Faculty of Arts & Humanities, University of Sousse
May 11th to 12st

Social and political transformations in the Maghreb cannot and should not only focus on the interrelation between humans but also should concentrate on the relationship between humans and non-human beings and the environment that humans share their life’s with.

The work of Philosophers like Michel Foucault or Jaques Derrida is extremely profitable for understanding our conflicted relationships with animals. It is essential for the advancement of a new field struggling with questions of power, knowledge, and ethics. Both thinkers were alert to the use of “animalization” as a political strategy for rationalizing violence against various marginalized groups in societies. Their mass confinement, domestication, industrial breeding, and slaughter – all bear witness to the language and behaviour of a sovereign anthropocentrism that has questioned and violated the rights of non-human animals in past and present.

The term racio-speciesism is therefore highly applicable for the discussion of the situation of animals in the Maghreb. The still neglected field of animal well-being in the region is tackled by veterinarians and activists who try to transform attitudes and behaviour towards animals. All organization offer veterinary medical treatment, are involved in affairs of neutering and castration of street animals and engage in educational work. These efforts, however, rarely find recognition, let alone, support by the public and the state.

The present panel aims to fathom the possibilities to (re-)write the history of animals beyond the sovereignty of human reason in a region whose modern history has been marked by colonialism’s dehumanizing racism and (post-)colonial discriminations along the lines of gender, race, religion, etc. It is from this very site of manifold marginalizations that our discussion seeks to find dialogical spaces for liberating the human and non-human animals.

For further information and participation contact Isabel Schatzschneider (

The event is financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Foreign Office within the framework of the transformation partnership program “Change by Exchange” (

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