Brooks Institute Scholars Research Fellowship
Announcing Recipient Lori Gruen
Lori Gruen, a William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University, has been awarded a Brooks Institute Scholars Research Fellowship. The fellowship is administered by the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy.
In keeping with the Brooks Institute’s mission, Gruen’s multi-pronged, multi-disciplinary project seeks to help push a paradigm shift and make empathy more central in the work we do for animals. Building on her 2015 book, Entangled Empathy: An Alternative Ethics for our Relationships with Animals (Lantern Publishing), the current project seeks to deepen the impact of empathy.
The new empathy project funded by this Scholars Research Fellowship will allow Gruen time to work on a follow-up monograph that explores what entangled empathy can illuminate in the specific contexts of prisons, meat-packing plants, zoos, and places where humans and animals are often denied the solicitude they deserve and that empathy can generate. The fellowship will also fund work exploring the ways that virtual reality (VR) can enhance empathy for animals which can in turn lead to positive changes in actions and policy. Gruen and her team will create comprehensive plans for two empathy-based VR experiences, one at a sanctuary for formerly farmed animals; the other that explores captivity for humans and other animals.
Upon learning she would be awarded the fellowship, Gruen said, “The Brooks Institute, in just a few short years, has become a powerful force for changing our relationships with animals. Their commitment to building networks of engagement has also changed relationships among those who work in animal law, animal studies, and animal protection more broadly. I am deeply honored to be recognized as the inaugural Research Fellowship from the Brooks Institute and look forward to producing work that further promotes the change we want to see.”