To provide a point of entry into the special issue, my introduction begins with a discussion of Jonathan Lethem’s 2014 story “Pending Vegan,” which concerns a visit to SeaWorld and explores institutions, practices, and attitudes that are centrally important for the study of animal worlds in modern fiction. I then move to an overview of cross-disciplinary conversations about animals and human-animal relationships being conducted under rubrics such as critical animal studies, posthumanism, cognitive ethology, and zoosemiotics, and suggest how the essays included in the present issue intervene in the larger context for research afforded by these conversations.


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