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Amy Milka

Amy Milka is a researcher in eighteenth-century history, literature and culture at the University of Adelaide. She is the author of several articles on law and emotions, including: (with David Lemmings) ‘Narratives of Feeling and Majesty: Mediated Emotions in the Eighteenth-Century Criminal Courtroom’, Journal of Legal History, 38.2 (2017), 155–78; ‘Feeling for Forgers: Character, Sympathy and Financial Crime in London during the Late Eighteenth Century’, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 42.1 (2019), 7–25; and ‘“Preferring Death”: Love, Crime, and Suicide in Eighteenth-Century England’, which is forthcoming in Eighteenth-Century Studies in summer 2020.

Article: Political Animals

This article argues that that during the political upheaval of the 1790s, the discourse of rights was mobilised to discuss the social, legal and political status of animals and humans. Notions of animal rights were just beginning to take shape towards the end of the eighteenth century. Changing beliefs about animal sentience, rationality and feelings, and social and moral concerns about animal cruelty, slowly brought the issue of animal welfare before the public. Historians have been inclined to view animal rights as the logical conclusion of the extension of the ‘rights of man’ down the social scale. This article contends that in print culture, animals were used as cyphers for their human owners. By giving voices to animals and characterising them as politically active and informed, a variety of literary productions demonstrated the methods of social, legal and political resistance available to their readers. Continue reading

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