This multi-authored contribution explores what the COVID-19 pandemic demands of critical inquiry with a focus on the more-than-human. We show how COVID-19 is a complex series of multispecies encounters shaped by humans, non-human animals, and of course viruses. Central to these encounters is a politics of difference in which certain human lives are protected and helped to flourish while others, both human and animal, are forgotten if not sacrificed. Such difference encompasses practices of racialisation and racism, healthcare austerity, the circulation of capital, border-making, intervention into non-human nature, wildlife trade bans, anthropocentrism, and the exploitation of animal test subjects. The contributions highlight how COVID-19 provides a needed opportunity to unite new materialist and anti-racist, anti-colonial scholarship as well as reimagine more radically sustainable multispecies futures. This requires embracing anti-colonial humility, confronting debts owed to lab animal frontline workers, and rethinking economic systems that helped unleash COVID-19 and ensured it became a disaster.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This paper emerged from a presentation on “More‐Than‐Human Geographies of COVID‐19”, which was part of the “Geographers Respond to COVID‐19” initiative at the 2020 American Association of Geographers annual conference. We thank Coline Dony for organising the initiative and Stephanie Rutherford for co‐organising our panel. We thank Stephanie Rutherford, Kiran Asher, Juliane Collard, Katie Gillespie, three anonymous reviewers, and audience members at our presentation for their generous feedback, and thank Kim Tran for valuable research, logistical, and editing assistance. Rebecca’s work was supported by the Early Career Scheme (ECS) funded by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (CityU 21607917).
© 2021 The Author. Antipode © 2021 Antipode Foundation Ltd.
- BLM movement
- global capital
- wildlife trade