Scholars Research Fellowship Recipients

Sarah Schindler (2022)

Sarah Schindler is the Maxine Kurtz Faculty Research Scholar and Professor of Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She is also the Director of the law school’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program. Her nationally recognized scholarship—which has been published in top journals including the Yale Law Journal, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the George Washington Law Review, and online companion journals at Yale, UCLA, and the University of Chicago—focuses on property, land use, local government, and animal law.

Her current research emerges out of her property law research and expertise. “Non-human animals are legally viewed as property, able to be owned, bought, and sold. But traditional notions of property result in numerous problems when applied to non-human animals.”


Mathilde Cohen (2022)

Mathilde Cohen is a legal scholar focusing on understudied, embodied phenomena such as eating, lactation, and placenta consumption. Her published works examine these topics at the intersection of constitutional law, animal law, food law, and other disciplines in the United States and France.

During the fellowship, Cohen will work on a framework and policy analysis of how laws and policies can be reformed to support the feeding of baby humans in a way that reduces the suffering of lactating animals, in particular cattle. The research builds upon her scholarship on the idea of an interspecies right to breastfeed, lactation law, and the regulation of donor human milk and lab-grown human milk.


Cohen Fellowship
S. Marek Muller (2022)

S. Marek Muller is an Assistant Professor of Rhetorical Studies at Florida Atlantic University. They received their PhD in Communication from the University of Utah in 2018. A rhetorician by trade, Dr. Muller's research emphasizes   "humanity" and "animality" as discursive constructions set in binary opposition to one another. Further, their research takes seriously how the strategic rhetoric of "speciesism" functions to maintain anthropocentric, hierarchical structures such as the U.S. American legal system. Their book, Impersonating Animals: Rhetoric, Ecofeminism, and Animal Rights Law, was published by the Michigan State University Press in 2020. Their work has also been published in regional, national, and international journals such as Environmental Communication, American Studies, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs.

Muller's project explores the history and current iterations of breed-specific legislation in Denver, CO. Building upon critical work in rhetoric, law, and animal studies, this project considers theories of carcerality and metonymy as they intersect with discourses and practices of municipal animal ordinances. The work uses the method of ideological rhetorical criticism to investigate the raced & classed components of BSL, particularly how the relationships between pit bull dogs and pit bull guardians are, through discourse, caught in a reciprocal feedback loop that (re)animalizes guardians and (de)humanizes dogs in order to justify each party's exploitation and elimination. This project will culminate in an article-length publication that will offer intersectional critiques of and specific policy proposals for the further refinement of Denver's breed-specific ordinances.

Muller Announcement
Lori Gruen (2021)

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.”

Gruen Fellowship Announcement Graphic