New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies

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Nau mai, haere mai ki te Puna Akorangi o Aotearoa mo te Tangata me te Kararehe

About Human-Animal Studies

The New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies (NZCHAS) brings together scholars from the humanities and social sciences whose research is concerned with the conceptual and material treatment of nonhuman animals in culture, society and history. The Centre includes members from many disciplines at the University of Canterbury, and associates from throughout New Zealand who have expertise in cultural studies, literary studies, political science, sociology, architecture, the visual arts and Māori studies. Our international associates include many of scholars recognised as world leaders in human-animal studies, and the Centre has links with the primary overseas institutions and networks in this field.


Annie Potts

Cultural Studies Programme Co-ordinator
Karl Popper 616
Internal Phone: 95536

Philip Armstrong

Postgraduate Co-ordinator (English)
Karl Popper 606
Internal Phone: 95560

Postal address

NZ Centre for Human-Animal Studies
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

The last few decades have seen the emergence and rapid growth of a new field of multi- and inter-disciplinary inquiry, called variously “Human-Animal Studies” (HAS), “Animal Studies”, or “Anthrozoology”. Contributions to this field draw upon a wide range of disciplinary formations: sociology, philosophy and history; studies of literature, the visual arts, cinema and popular culture; biobehavioural biology; science, technology, and medicine studies. What unites HAS work from all these disciplines is a determination to find new ways of thinking about animals and about human-animal relationships.

Among the many lines of inquiry pursued by HAS researchers are the following:

  • exploring how notions of animality are fundamental to a range of concepts that play an important ideological and intellectual role in modern Western thought: for example “nature”, “culture”, “society”, “civilisation”, “the human”, “the native”, “the exotic”, “the primitive”;
  • examining the place, treatment and actions of animals in science, farming, industry, tourism and other human practices;
  • analysing the representation of animals in literature, film, television, the visual arts, and other cultural forms;
  • researching the history of humans' changing attitudes towards and treatment of animals;
  • developing new paradigms in philosophy, the arts and the sciences for thinking about animals and their relationship to humans.

Here at the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies, we also believe that this kind of research and scholarship brings with it a responsibilty to challenge anthropocentrism and to account for the interests and agency of animals.

Visit individual course pages to find out more information:

100 Level

Courses with some HAS content:


200 Level

Courses specifically dedicated to HAS:


300 Level

Courses specifically dedicated to HAS:



Courses specifically dedicated to HAS:

  • Subject to development of an appropriate topic and supervision, students may also opt for an independent research project in human-animal studies at 400 level in English, Cultural Studies or Anthropology: ENGL442ENGL480, CULT402.

Courses with some HAS content:

PhD in Human-Animal Studies

Get course details

From January 2018, the University of Canterbury will be offering a PhD in Human-Animal Studies. This is the first such degree offered in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of only three or four throughout the world.

Students undertaking the PhD in Human-Animal Studies (PhD HUAN) at UC will work with supervisors drawn from our pool of over a dozen academic staff working in many different areas, and will be part of the lively and inclusive research culture of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies.

Areas for supervision

Areas for supervision include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Associate Professor Philip Armstrong: animals in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific; animals in literature; animals in history, especially the Renaissance and the Nineteenth Century; sheep in culture and history; whales and dolphins in culture and history; animals and environmental discourse.
  • Associate Professor Jane Buckingham: animals in South Asian History; elephants and elephantology.
  • Dr Douglas Campbell: animals, philosophy and environmentalism; extinction and de-extinction.
  • Nikki Evans: animals in the context of human services and social work; human-animal relationships in the aftermath of earthquakes; animal-assisted therapy; the link between animal abuse and human violence; animals and children.
  • Associate Professor Amy Fletcher: extinction and de-extinction; animals and public understandings of science and technology; animals and futurology; animals and environmental discourse.
  • Dr Rosie Ibbotson: animals in the visual arts; museology and display of human-animal relations; extinction and de-extinction.
  • Dr Piers Locke: multispecies ethnography; elephants and elephantology; interspecies care; animals and environmental discourse; humanism and post-humanism.
  • Dr Alison Loveridge: animal welfare and advocacy; animals in agriculture and food production; animals in New Zealand; animals and rural life; animals and children.
  • Dr Carolyn Mason: animals and ethics; bioethics.
  • Professor Henrietta Mondry: dogs in culture and history; animals in Russian culture and history; animals in Slavic cultures; companion species; animals in literature; de-extinction.
  • Dr Patrick O’Sullivan: animals in Ancient Greek culture and society; animals in classical literature and drama.
  • Associate Professor Annie Potts: animals in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific; animals in art; human-animal relations and gender; representations of animals in horror and science fiction; chickens in culture and history; possums in culture and history; animals and emergencies; animals and environmental discourse.
  • Dr Michael-John Turp: animals and ethics; animals in Early Modern philosophy.

See our research webpage to find out more about the research conducted by the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies.


Associates of NZCHAS

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