Zipporah Weisberg is a researcher who received a grant for “Animal Agency in Animal Sanctuaries.” She aims to explore how animal sanctuaries can serve as sites of wider social and political transformation if (re)framed as interspecies communities in which animal agency is actively cultivated. She is interested in the myriad ways animals already practice agency in order to maximize their opportunities for individual and mutual flourishing within the spatial, temporal, and relational freedoms and constraints under which they live, how they enact agency to contest and/or redraw those limits, and how they play an active role in shaping the norms themselves. Zipporah writes:
My hope is that by conducting this research into animal agency, I can offer meaningful insight into how sanctuaries can be (re)structured to form interspecies communities—in which other animals are regarded as active co-participants in the community and not simply recipients of care—and can thereby have a much greater role in advancing the wider animal liberation project than they currently have as oases of safety and protection for abused animals.
In July 2022, Zipporah’s paper “Sanctuaries as Sites of Marcusian Refusal” was accepted by Politics and Animals, and another paper, “Animal Agency in Animal Sanctuaries,” was submitted shortly. In August, she visited VINE Sanctuary in Vermont and El Hogar Sanctuary in l’Esquirol, Spain. VINE Sanctuary encourages scholars to root their research on real relationships with animals and has been granted funds from CAF to host them since last year.
Zipporah’s paper on sanctuaries and utopia, “Animal Sanctuaries: Not ‘No’ Places but ‘Now’ Places,” co-authored with Carlo Salzani (Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna), was presented at MANCEPT Workshops session “Animal Politics: Utopian and Dystopian Visions of Multispecies Society” in Manchester, England, in September 2022. In October 2022, Zipporah gave a public lecture and seminar discussion on “The “Erotic” Revolution: Sanctuaries as the Foundation for a Nonviolent, Multispecies Society” at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.