Linda Madden is a doctoral student in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. The title of her thesis is Boundaries and Transgressions: A Critical Geography of Auckland City’s Animal-Human Interface.
As both pet ‘owner’ and academic, Linda has observed a disconnection between the emotional, meaningful engagements we have with non-human animals (our embodied practice) and spaces of knowledge production that often still value empiricism and dislocation between researcher and subject. Contrary to personal encounters between humans and other animals, non-humans remain largely unrecognized in most accounts of urban geographic landscapes. Focusing on Auckland, Linda's doctoral research examines what boundaries (physical and ontological) exist that inhibit the places and manner in which we interact with animals, and how their academic treatment contributes to this. She then draws on posthuman philosophy to re‐imagine what types of ‘assemblages’ (of people, beasts, places, objects, symbols and events) facilitate interspecies encounters, and how such engagements transgress the species divide through bodily and emotional shared experiences.
Linda has a broad academic background, ranging from the humanites (philosophy, politics and literature), science (ecology, biology and geology) to the social sciences and evironmemtal studies. She completed her BA extramurally at Massey University, with a double major in Geography and Environmental Studies. She followed that up with a BA (hons) in Geography at the University of Auckland where she discovered her area of real interest – animal geographies. She was drawn to the unholy marriage between philosphy and spatially based research, completing a dissertation addressing urban canine geographies in Auckland through a more-than-representational perspective. While her PhD focuses on animal geographies, Linda's broader research interests include investigation who (and what) can be social ‘agents’, the production of urban space, and the relationship between academic theory and practice in a social science context.