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What do animals mean to us as individuals and as a society? What, if anything, can the way that we treat animals tell us about the way that we treat each other?

On Thursday, February 14, feminist-vegan author and religion scholar Carol J. Adams will address these thought-provoking themes in two guest lectures at USC Upstate.

The first lecture, “Veganism and the Care Tradition in Feminist Theory,” begins at 10:50 a.m., in the Sansbury Campus Life Center Ballroom and is open to the campus community.

Author of such works as “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” “Prayers for Animals,” and hundreds of articles, Adams’ lecture topics will relate to the growing interest in human-animal studies now prevalent on campus.

“There is real responsiveness and excitement nationwide and here at USC Upstate in exploring human-animal relationships from all sorts of perspectives,” noted Dr. Clif Flynn, chair of the Sociology, Criminal Justice and Women’s Studies Department. “Ms. Adams’ visit here is a part of this growing awareness of why animals and how we relate to them is so important today.”

The second lecture, “God-Talk, Compassion, and the Sexual Politics of Meat,” is open to the public and begins at 4 p.m. in the Sansbury Campus Life Center Ballroom

Adams is a leading advocate of a feminist ethics of care over an ethics of justice and demonstrates how questions of animal rights and food choice are important to feminist thought. She will speak and take questions about the religious, moral and social dimensions of how humans and animals interact in the world.

“Students of feminist theory may be familiar with the liberal, radical, Marxist, multicultural, and global schools of feminist theory, but lesser-known schools of thought – like the feminist ethics of care – are no less important to feminist intellectual history and to our everyday life as gendered beings in the world,” said Dr. Lisa Johnson, associate professor and director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies.

Adams’ visit is in conjunction with Dr. David Damrel’s Honors Religion course, “Religion, Animals, and Spirituality, which is being taught for the first time at USC Upstate.

“The spiritual and religious dimensions of how humans interact with animals can tell us a lot about how people and societies see themselves in the world,” said Damrel, associate professor of religion and coordinator of the USC Upstate Religion Minor.

He noted that Adams, an anti-violence activist with a degree from the Yale University Divinity School, has presented on campuses across the United States and several of her articles and books have been used as text for a variety of college courses.

“I hope our students and others in the community take advantage of this opportunity to think about the world in new ways as a result of these thought-provoking presentations,” said Damrel.

A book-signing event will follow the second lecture. For more information about Adams, her publications and presentations, you can go to www.caroljadams.com.

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