The relationship between humans and animals has always been strong, symbiotic and complicated. Animals, real and fictional, have been a mainstay in the arts and entertainment, figuring prominently in literature, film, television, social media, and live performances. Increasingly, though, people are anthropomorphizing animals, assigning them humanoid roles, tasks and identities. At the same time, humans, such as members of the furry culture or college mascots, find pleasure in adopting animal identities and characteristics. This book is the first of its kind to explore these growing phenomena across media. The contributors to this collection represent various disciplines, to include the arts, humanities, social sciences, and healthcare. Their essays demonstrate the various ways that human and animal lives are intertwined and constantly evolving.
Kathy Merlock Jackson, a professor of media and communication at Virginia Wesleyan University, teaches courses in media studies and children's culture. She is the author or editor of thirteen books and former editor of The Journal of American Culture. She has served as past president of both the American Culture Association and the Popular Culture Association. Kathy Shepherd Stolley is a professor of sociology at Virginia Wesleyan University, where her emphasis is applied sociology. She was the school's first associate dean for innovative teaching and engaged learning. Her scholarship has appeared in various professional journals and she has authored or co-edited six books. Lisa Lyon Payne is a communication professor at Virginia Wesleyan University, where she focuses on journalism and public relations. She advises the student newspaper and is editor of College Media Review, the flagship journal of the College Media Association. She has authored or co-authored a book and over twenty book chapters and journal articles in the areas of college media, popular culture, crisis communication, reputation management and public relations theory development.