Irus Braverman

Animals in the City Project

Wildlife Med Board at Erie County's SPCA. Photo by Irus Braverman Bird X-Ray, Eri County's SPCA. Photo by Irus Braverman Roseate Spoonbill perched next to camera in Buffalo Zoo's Rainforest Falls Exhibit. Photo by Irus Braverman Notice to comply, placed on the door of person suspected of not providing shelter for his dog. Photo by Irus Braverman, May 17, 2012 Officer Armatys from Erie County SPCA filling out report on dog abuse, May 2012. Photo by author.

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I have recently embarked on a research project of non-zoo animals in the American city. American cities are designed and regulated with humans in mind and are not at all suited for dealing with a range of nonhuman animals that also dwell in this space. First, I have explored "animobilities"—namely, the animal's physical trajectory through movement—in order to discuss the animal's legal mobilities and immobilities. Personalized accounts recorded from professionals who work with animals in the City of Buffalo illuminate the nature of law as governing not only humans but also nonhuman animals and the complex and conflicting human/animal law trajectories that come with this territory. In a chapter entitled "A Study of Animals, Law, and the American City," solicited by editor Keith H. Hirokawa for his book collection Law's Idea of Nature, I further elaborate on law's project of classifying animals in the city. Specifically, I explore the division of animals into companion species, livestock, wildlife, and pests and the ways that these classifications then circumscribe the very lives and deaths of urban animals. Additionally, I highlight the element of enforcement and policing in managing animal/human relations in the city, in an essay on animals in the city entitled “Legal Tails: Policing American Cities through Animals” solicited by Randy K. Lippert and Kevin Walby for their book collection Urban Policing, Securitization, and Regulation.

Finally, "Good Night, Zoo" creatively interprets children's book Peggy Rathmann's Good Night Gorilla (1994), especially focusing on the movement of animals in between the space of the city zoo and that of the human home. I ask: Which animals figure in this story? What roles do they perform? And, most importantly, which boundaries are constructed and deconstructed through these representations?


(2015). "More-than-Human Legalities." In Patricia Ewick and Austin Sarat (eds.), The Wiley Handbook of Law and Society (forthcoming, Wiley Press).

(2014). "Good Night, Zoo: Human-Animal-City Relations in Children Books." In Ulrich Gehmann and Martin Reiche (eds.), Virtual and Ideal Worlds Part IIColumbia University Press [SSRN]

(2013). "Animal Mobilegalities: How Laws Classify Animal Movement in the City." Humanimalia 5(1):104-135. [Article]

(2013). "Legal Tails: Policing American Cities through Animals," In Policing Cities: Urban Securitization and Regulation in a 21st Century World, Randy K. Lippert and Kevin Walby (eds.). pp. 130-144. (Routledge)

(2012). "A Study of Animals, Law, and the American City," In Law's Idea of Nature, Keith H. Hirokawa (ed.) [SSRN].

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