Introduction to Animals in Environmental Education: Whither Interdisciplinarity?

  • Teresa Lloro-BidartEmail author
  • Valerie S. Banschbach
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Education and the Environment book series (PSEE)


At least since the mid-1990s, environmental education researchers have challenged the anthropocentrism and humanism of the field with their compelling portrayals of animals as subjects in a wide array of educational settings, including classrooms and informal spaces. Published during the early stages of what is now referred to as the “animal turn” in the humanities and social sciences, this scholarship—as well as research in animal cognitive science, anthropology, ethology, geography, history, philosophy, political science, sociology, and other disciplines—sparked a flurry of interest in developing curricula and pedagogy that address human understandings of and ethical/moral obligations to animals. Although anthropocentric and humanist paradigms still dominate some environmental education research and practice, a groundswell of contemporary scholarship—drawing on diverse theoretical perspectives in critical animal studies, critical disability studies, decolonization, fat studies, feminism and ecofeminism, humane education, Indigenous thought, postcolonialism, posthumanism, and queer studies—has begun to transform the field in significant ways. In this introductory chapter, we briefly review the influence of the animal turn on environmental education to situate the current volumes’ contribution to the field. To conclude, we briefly summarize the chapters, highlighting the significance of each for curriculum and pedagogy in environmental education.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liberal Studies DepartmentCalifornia State Polytechnic UniversityPomonaUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Studies DepartmentRoanoke CollegeSalemUSA

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