In the arts, in popular culture, and in everyday situations and environments, the lives of humans are continually and intimately bound up with those of nonhuman animals, both real and imaginary. As with many habitual aspects of life, however, the meanings derived from this ubiquitous network of interactions most often remain invisible. Yet recently, across the globe, scholars and critics from a range of fields have begun to turn their attention to what has been called "the animal question", by examining the ways in which interactions between humans and animals reflect and shape important social and cultural issues: these include how we understand our own identities and those of others; how we regard, inhabit and make use of the natural world; and how we think about what to buy, eat, wear, watch and read. This project, entitled "Kararehe: Animals in Art, Literature and Everyday Culture in Aotearoa New Zealand", will investigate these questions in a local context, particularly with regard to the exchanges between Māori and Pākehā understandings of animals and human-animal relations as these are expressed in the visual arts, in literature and in popular media and everyday life.
This project is due to be published as a book in 2011:
Annie Potts, Philip Armstrong and Deirdre Brown (forthcoming). Kararehe: Animals in New Zealand Writing, Art and Everyday Life. Auckland University Press.