Lori Gruen, a William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University, has been awarded the Brooks Institute Scholars Research Fellowship. 

The goal of the Scholars Research Fellowship is to support outstanding research that will advance the fields of animal law and policy. To be eligible for grants, principal investigators must be affiliated with an accredited academic institution or demonstrate a record of successful independent research. In addition to full-time faculty, graduate students and independent researchers are invited to apply. Applications are reviewed two times per year beginning after June 1 and December 1 (with submission deadlines of May 31 and November 30, respectively). The application for the May 2022 review period may be found here.

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.”

For information about the Scholars Research Fellowship, please visit: https://thebrooksinstitute.org/fellowships