Australasian Animal Studies Association

Aiello, Dr Thomas

Professor of History

Valdosta State University
Research interests / activities

My animal related research focuses in particular on public manifestations of speciesism. I have written on the historical relationship between speciesism and racism in the United States from the end of Reconstruction to the present using a biopolitical frame. One of my current writing projects examinines agricultural subsidies and federal legislative actions that created the country’s current factory farming regime. I have also published recent work on the relationship between animal representation and international manifestations of Covid-19 and animal representation and the summer 2020 racial uprisings in the United States, and I am engaged in a book project that examines the historical species rhetoric of abortion opponents. I have also written a series of articles concerning the representation of animals in art, literature, and film. From the slaughterhouse photographs of French surrealist Eli Lotar to the pig paintings of Belgian Felicien Rops, from the fiction of American Stanley Elkin to the Italian giallo films of Dario Argento, I have been involved in a sustained examination of the animal presence in a variety of media. I have also written on the literature of therianthropy and on the historical role of the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, a 1960s satire movement.


Darwin’s Outcasts: The Biopolitics of Species and Race in the Post-Civil War United States (completed manuscript under submission).

“The Crane, the Cat, and the Housefly: Animals and Meaning-Making in Dario Argento’s Animal Trilogy.” Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies (forthcoming).

“Portrayals of Animals in Covid-19 News Media.” Co-authored with Jes M. Hooper and Kris Hill, Anthrozoös (forthcoming).

“Nonhuman Animals as Symbols in the #BlackLivesMatter Protests of 2020,” coauthored with Tiamat Warda and Kris Hill, Society and Animals (forthcoming).

“Competing Genocides: Human Rights and Animal Rights in the Wake of World War II,” in Animals in the Anthropocene: Intersections of Human Power and Animal Lives (forthcoming).

“’Civil Rats’ and the Human Exceptional: A Vegan-Historical Account of the Rat Extermination Act of 1967,” in Animals & Race (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, forthcoming).

Potential areas for research supervision
Speciesism / animals in media / animal history