Press Release: First Professor of Animal Theology in the US
10th March 2020
The first professor of Animal Theology in the US has been appointed by the Graduate Theological Foundation, USA.
The first professor is Dr Clair Linzey, Deputy Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. The professorship is named after Victorian reformer Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904) who had a long association with Manchester College, Oxford, (now Harris Manchester College) where her archives are held by the College. Cobbe pioneered the cause of women, workers’ rights, and the protection of animals. “She was a truly inspiring person” commented Clair, “and it is an honour to hold a position in her name”.
President of the Graduate Theological Foundation (GTF) Dr Kendra Clayton, commented, “We at the GTF feel fortunate to have Dr Linzey as a member of our faculty and look forward to our work together as we explore opportunities to fill an important and emerging niche in theological education.”
The GTF is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit ecumenical and interreligious institution providing advanced educational opportunities to practicing ministry professionals, including flexible and convenient online, on-site and distance learning opportunities.
“We are delighted to be associated with GTF’s pioneering work and we are beginning discussions on how the Centre and the GTF can work together in providing courses for teachers and other professionals,” commented Dr Linzey.
Animal theology may be defined as an attempt to view the Christian tradition through an animal-friendly lens, while retaining a critical approach to the tradition with regards to its concern for animals. Animal theology is involved, like feminist theology, in a process of looking again at the Christian tradition to reclaim and rebuild insights and voices concerning our relationship with animals.
Clair has two masters in theology – one from University of St Andrews and the other from Harvard Divinity School. Her doctorate on “Developing Animal Theology: An Engagement with Leonardo Boff” has been accepted by University of St Andrews.
In addition, Clair is co-editor of the Journal of Animal Ethics published by the University of Illinois Press, and co-editor of the Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Book Series. She has been director of the Annual Oxford Animal Ethics Summer School for six years.
She is also co-editor of many volumes on animal ethics and theology, including Animal Ethics for Veterinarians (University of Illinois Press, 2017), The Ethical Case Against Animal Experiments (University of Illinois Press, 2018), The Palgrave Macmillan Handbook of Practical Animal Ethics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Animal Ethics (Routledge, 2018), and Ethical Vegetarianism and Veganism (Routledge, 2018).