Below is a description of my research, followed by a list of my publications.
My research is situated at the culture/nature nexus and focuses on the perpetration of harms (criminal and otherwise) by humans against the environment and nonhuman animals. I have interrogated this broad area of inquiry vis-à-vis three main topical areas: (1) the coexistence of animal abuse and intimate partner violence; (2) sport hunting culture; (3) harms produced by the human and “pet” food industries.
I began my research career by examining how animal abuse and gender-based violence coexist. In my book Animal Abuse and Family Violence: Researching the Interrelationships of Abusive Power (2005), I detail how the abuse of animals can be used as a tactic to establish power and control over women by abusive men in the context of intimate relationships. In a subsequent article, “‘They Gave Me a Reason to Live’: The Protective Effects of Companion Animals on the Suicidality of Abused Women” (2007), I document how companion animals can serve as important sources of emotional and social support in the lives of abused women, to the point of diminishing suicidality. I am currently working on a SSHRC-funded project to collect national data from shelters for abused women and from abused women themselves about the relationship between intimate partner violence and animal abuse and its impact on the help-seeking behaviour of abused women.
Through my research I have also examined socially-sanctioned violence against animals and how this harm is constructed. Sport hunting culture is one area I have focused on because here nature and culture are intentionally pitted against each other, yet there are interesting moments of slippage between the two. “Reading the Trophy: Exploring the Display of Dead Animals” (2003) examines the representations of “trophy” animal bodies in sport hunting periodicals and how these displays simultaneously celebrate and mask the harm perpetrated against the hunted animals. Two subsequent articles, “Animals, Women and Weapons: Blurred Sexual Boundaries in the Discourse of Sport Hunting” (2004) and “The Emergence of the Figure of ‘Woman the Hunter’: Equality or Complicity in Oppression” (2005), focus on the gendered aspects of sport hunting. The former examines how women are implicated in sport hunting discourses not as active subjects but instead are objectified in tandem with the hunted animals. In light of this finding, the latter article uses liberal feminist, ecofeminist, and feminist political ecology theorizing to examine the participation of women in sport hunting.
Of course, animal bodies are not only used for amusement in human cultures; they are also used for profit. I have examined this context, where the perpetration of harm is more purposefully obfuscated. My focus has been on the pet food and human food industries. More specifically, I have examined the 2007 pet food recall, which for many customers provided the first glimpse into the pet food industry. In “The ‘Underdog’ as Ideal Victim? The Attribution of Victimhood in the 2007 Pet Food Recall” (forthcoming in the International Review of Victimology) I examine the complicated attribution of victimhood in the case and argue that insights from victimology and green criminology are needed to make sense of the victimization of animals and the environment in this case and more generally.
I have also examined how responsibility for harms against animals and the environment is constructed. In “‘It’s a Horrible Coincidence’: Corporate Responsibility and the 2007 Pet Food Recall” (2009), I examine how the media framed the recall in a such a way that the corporate malfeasance of U.S. and Canadian companies was overlooked in favour of a focus on the misdeeds of Chinese companies. This resulted in a myopic focus on regulating imports from China and a dearth of attention regarding the lax regulation in the pet food industry domestically. I have also addressed the construction of responsibility for environmental harms, focusing on the case of mercury-contaminated fish, in “Constructing Responsibility for the Production and Mitigation of Environmental Harms: The Case of Mercury-Contaminated Fish” (forthcoming in the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice). In that context, the risks have been normalized and the bulk of the responsibility for risk mitigation has been downloaded to individual consumers. I further examine the intersection of food and environmental harm vis-à-vis an examination of the degree to which industrial animal agriculture has (not) been constructed as a risk to the global climate among several stakeholder groups (currently under review).
I have also endeavoured to examine a form of harm related to the human production of food that has to date been dramatically under theorized and under researched. The story of how the harms inflicted upon animals in the production of meat has been told several times. Using a green criminological lens I examine the possibility that the industrialized slaughter of animals might have negative repercussions on people as well. Piers Beirne (2004) has theorized that the institutionalized harming of animals might affect the perpetrators, explaining that”[w]henever human-animal relationships are marked by authority and power, and thus by institutionalized social distance, there is an aggravated possibility of extra-institutional violence” (p. 54). In “Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates: An Empirical Analysis of Spillover from ‘The Jungle’ into the Surrounding Community” (2009) my co-authors and I examine this possibility and document a unique relationship between slaughterhouse employment levels and violent crimes in counties where slaughterhouses are located, controlling for several known correlates of crime and comparing the slaughterhouse industry to other industries matched on several characteristics. Furthermore, in “A Social History of the Slaughterhouse: From Inception to Contemporary Implications” (forthcoming in Human Ecology Review) I contextualize the development of the slaughterhouse historically and examine the problematic aspects of the modern slaughterhouse. I am currently working on a book, Animals as Food, which explores the development and significance of industrial animal agriculture.
I have also sought to contribute to knowledge at the intersection of culture and nature through reviews of the literature in various formats: I co-authored an article on the state of the research in and theorizing of environmental values (“Environmental Values,” 2005), co-edited a volume compiling and discussing critical historical and contemporary readings in animal studies (The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings, 2007), and have written several encyclopaedia entries and book reviews.
Fitzgerald, Amy J., Animals as Food, under contract with Michigan State University Press.
Fitzgerald, Amy J., Animal Abuse and Family Violence: Researching the Interrelationships of Abusive Power, Edwin Mellen Press, 2005, Mellen Studies in Sociology.
Kalof, Linda; Fitzgerald, Amy, The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings, Berg, 2007.
Fitzgerald, Amy. “Imprisoning Nature” In Kaltefleiter, Caroline; Nagel, Mechthild; Nocella, Anthony, Prison Abolition: Unchaining Ourselves from U.S. Imperialism, Arissa Media Group, forthcoming.
Fitzgerald, Amy; Pellow, David. “Ecological Defense for Animal Liberation: A Holistic Understanding of the World, Critical Animal Studies Reader. Editor(s) – Nocella, Anthony; Sorenson, John, forthcoming.
Fitzgerald, Amy; Stevenson, Rochelle; Verbora, Anthony. “Sociological theories of animal abuse”, In Animal Cruelty and the Criminal Justice System, Carolina Academic Press, Edited by Mary Brewster and Cassandra Reyes, forthcoming.
Taylor, Nik; Fitzgerald, Amy. “Critical Animal Studies and Anti-Capitalism.” In Critical Animal Studies, edited by Nik Taylor and Richard Twine. (in progress)
Articles in Refereed/Peer Reviewed Journals
Spencer, Dale; Fitzgerald, Amy. “Three Ecologies, Transversality and Victimization: The case of British Petroleum.” Currently under revision.
Bristow, Lisa; Fitzgerald, Amy J., Global Climate Change and the Industrial Animal Agriculture Link: The Construction of Risk, Society and Animals, 19, 205-224, 2011.
Fitzgerald, Amy J., Doing Time in a Slaughterhouse: A critical review of the use of animals and inmates in prison labor programmes, Journal of Critical Animal Studies, 2011.
Fitzgerald, Amy J., A Social History of the Slaughterhouse: From Inception to Contemporary Implications, Human Ecology Review, 2010, 17(1): 58-69.
Fitzgerald, Amy, J; Baralt, Lori, Constructing Responsibility for the Production and Mitigation of Environmental Harms: The Case of Mercury-Contaminated Fish, Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 2010, 52(4): 341-368.
Fitzgerald, Amy, The ‘Underdog’ as ‘Ideal Victim’? The Attribution of Victimhood in the 2007 Pet Food Recall, International Review of Victimology, 2010, 17(2): 131-157.
Fitzgerald, Amy J., ‘It’s a Horrible Coincidence’: Corporate Responsibility and the 2007 Pet Food Recall, Critical Criminology, 17, 195-215, 2009.
Fitzgerald, Amy J.; Kalof, Linda; Dietz, Thomas, Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates: An Empirical Analysis of Spillover from ‘The Jungle” into the Surrounding Community, Organization and Environment, 22, 158-184, 2009.
Fitzgerald, Amy, J, ‘They Gave Me a Reason to Live’: The Protective Effects of Companion Animals on the Suicidality of Abused Women, Humanity and Society, 31(4), 355-378, 2007.
Dietz, Thomas; Fitzgerald, Amy; Shwom, Rachael, Environmental Values, Annual Review of Environment and Natural Resources, 30, 12.1-12.38, 2005.
Fitzgerald, Amy, The Emergence of the Figure of ‘Woman the Hunter’: Equality or Complicity in Oppression?, Women’s Studies Quarterly, 33(1&2), 86-104, 2005.
Kalof, Linda; Fitzgerald, Amy; Baralt, Lori, Animals, Women and Weapons: Blurred Sexual Boundaries in the Discourse of Sport Hunting, Society & Animals, 12, 237-251, 2004.
Kalof, Linda; Fitzgerald, Amy, Reading the Trophy: Exploring the Display of Dead Animals in Hunting Magazines, Visual Studies, 18, 112-122, 2003.
Nestle, Marion, Pet Food Politics, University of California Press, 2009, Society & Animals, 17, 361-362, 2009, September.
Coontz, Stephanie, Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage, 2005, Michigan Family Review, 10, 110-111.
Fitzgerald, Amy J., No Longer a Bastion of White Masculinity(?): The Recruitment of Women and People of Colour into Sport Hunting In Bekoff, Marc, Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships, 975-980, Greenwood Publishing, 2007.
Fitzgerald, Amy J., The Animal Question in Sociology In Bekoff, Marc, Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships, 955-961, Greenwood Publishing, 2007.
Fitzgerald, Amy J., Where are the Animals in Environmental Sociology? In Bekoff, Marc, Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships, 337-345, Greenwood Publishing, 2007.
Non Refereed Publications
Kalof, Linda; Fitzgerald, Amy; Lerner, Jennifer; Temeles, Jessica, Animal Studies: A Bibliography, 11, 75-99, Human Ecology Review, 2004.
Fitzgerald, Amy, Empowering Poor Women and Protecting the Environment: The Story of Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Laureate, Allyn and Bacon, 2007, In Conflict and Order, edited by D. Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Baca Zinn, 11th ed..
Fitzgerald, Amy, ‘Bitches’, ‘Bunnies’, and ‘Biddies’: How Animal Metaphors Degrade, Sexualize, and Denigrate Women, Allyn and Bacon, 2005, Social Problems, edited by D. Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Baca Zinn, 10th ed..