Susan Haris

Research, 2021, Grantee Link >

Susan Haris is a Doctoral Research Scholar at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. She helped found and run the Indian Animal Studies Collective, an organization that organizes online webinars called “Table Talks” (Season 1 & Season 2) that host open discussions with animal rights-oriented academics, scholars, and activists. She’s also worked as a writer for magazines like Economic and Political Weekly and Frontline. Her writing focuses on literature in the context of contemporary political thought.

Susan received a grant for “‘Storied Worlds’: Activism and Community in Urban India.” This project focused on theorizing multispecies communities as those which comprise both humans and nonhumans, to argue that the various existing zoopolitical configurations of human–animal relationality that arise in different settings are key to reframing the question of the animal in the Anthropocene.

Following an ethnographic study of activists in Kerala, which revealed hostility among communities to animal activists in particular and animal activism in general, she concluded that “activists not only come up against limitations imposed by a patriarchal society and material means, but that they have to continually define and redefine themselves affectively.” She adds: “The activists had to negotiate their understandings of common words like ‘care’ and ‘compassion’ to carry out their work with conviction.”

The research that she carried out through the CAF grant manifested itself in a number of online conferences:

  • “Veganism in Multicultural Societies: A Performative Bind” at “Veganism: A Paradigm Shift?”—a conference organized by the Vegan Studies Network

Subsequently, Susan presented the following papers at various conferences/workshops:

In this final conference, Susan’s talk is immediately preceded by that of fellow 2021 grantee Emily Major (26:00 minutes), who speaks about “Framing Possums.”