12:15 PM in person or via Zoom webinar

1019, Wasserstein Hall, Harvard Law School

Join us for Animal Rights and Capitalism, this year's Annual Tom Regan Memorial Lecture, given by ALPP Visiting Fellow Dinesh Wadiwel. The respondent will be Lori Gruen, William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University. The talk will be followed by a Q&A and is open to the general public as well as Harvard affiliates. A vegan lunch will be provided for those attending in person.

Event Overview

The Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School is honored to be the host of the Annual Tom Regan Memorial Lecture, which celebrates the life and thought of philosopher, animal advocate, and Culture & Animals Foundation (CAF) co-founder Tom Regan, who died in February 2017.

The lecture is delivered by a leading scholar of animals rights, and this year we are delighted to announce that one of our Visiting Fellow’s Dinesh Wadiwel will present: Animal Rights and Capitalism. The respondent will be Lori Gruen, William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University, Connecticut. The moderator will be Kristen Stilt, Faculty Director of the Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program.

If you are unable to join us in person for this event, you can register to join us by Zoom webinar.

About the Tom Regan Lecture

The Culture & Animals Foundation (CAF) instituted the Annual Tom Regan Memorial Lecture in order to celebrate the life and thought of philosopher, animal advocate, and CAF co-founder Tom Regan, who died in February 2017. The five previous lecturers have been: Carol J. Adams, Sherry F. Colb, Syl Ko, Kim Stallwood, Charlotte Blattner, and Cheryl Abbate.

About the Lecture

Tom Regan’s important articulation of animal rights expressed the inherent value of all beings who are “subjects-of-a-life” (1983). However, as I will argue, this ethical commitment is completely at odds with capitalism as an economic system, where use values and exchange values replace every other form of value. Capitalism’s quest for the overproduction of commodities in order to generate profits has had horrifying consequences for animal life on the planet. The animal rights movements have sought solutions to this contradiction by seeking legal protections for animals and encouraging consumers to make decisions that recognize the inherent value of animal life. However, these strategies arguably do not go far enough in dealing with the structural causes of mass exploitation of animals. I will argue that we need a broader conception of animal rights that encompasses economic and social rights which are able to imagine the kind of societies that might enable flourishing for both human and non human life. Here, I will highlight an important trajectory of the animal rights project, one that was arguably envisaged by Regan, for societal transformation.

About the Lecturer

Dr Dinesh Wadiwel is an Associate Professor in human rights and socio-legal studies in the School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Sydney. He has a background in social and political theory, and is an expert in human animal studies, and disability rights. Dinesh Wadiwel headshotPrior to joining the University of Sydney, Dinesh had a career within social justice civil society organizations focused on anti-poverty and disability rights.

Dinesh is author of The War against Animals (Brill, 2015), Animals and Capital (Edinburgh UP, 2023) and co-editor, with Matthew Chrulew, of Foucault and Animals (Brill, 2016). Dinesh has recently co-authored, with Linda Steele and Claire Spivakovsky, two reports for the Australian Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability: Complaint Mechanisms: Reporting Pathways for Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation (2022) and Restrictive Practices: A Pathway to Elimination (2023).


About the Respondent

Lori Gruen is a leading scholar in Animal Studies and Feminist Philosophy.  She works primarily in ethics and social and poitical philosophy and is a prolific scholar. She is the author and editor of over a dozen books, including Ethics and Animals: An Introduction (Cambridge, 2011, second edition 2021), Entangled Empathy (Lantern, 2015), Animal Crisis (Polity, 2022) co-authored with Alice Crary., Carceral Logics (Cambridge, 2022) co-edited with Justin Marceau, Critical Terms for Animal Studies (Chicago, 2018), Ecofeminism:  Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth (Bloomsbury 2014, second edition 2022, co-edited with Carol J. Adams), Ethics of Captivity (Oxford, 2014), and others.  Gruen’s work ifocuses on ethical and political issues that impact those often overlooked in traditional philosophical investigations, e.g. women and other marginalized genders, people of color, incarcerated people, and non-human animals. She is a Fellow of the Hastings Center for Bioethics, was a Faculty Fellow at Tufts’ Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Animals and Public Policy, is a fellow of the Brooks Animal Studies Academic Network and was the first and founding chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Center for Prison Education at Wesleyan. Gruen has documented the history of The First 100 chimpanzees in research in the US and has an evolving website that documents the journey to sanctuary of the remaining chimpanzees in research labs, The Last 1000.

Gruen has written on a range of topics in practical ethics, feminist philosophy and political philosophy. Her current projects include exploring captivity and the ethical and political questions raised by carceral logics.

About the Culture & Animals Foundation 

Since its founding in 1985, the CAF has stood uniquely at the intersection of creativity and scholarship, dedicated to transforming society’s relationship with nonhuman animals. CAF’s hundreds of funded projects have explored the entire cultural language of animal rights—in the humanities and social sciences; in lectures, dissertations, books, and presentations; and through music, dance, film, photography, spoken word, poetry, and drama.


About the Animal Law & Policy Program

The Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School (ALPP) is committed to analyzing and improving the treatment of animals through the legal system. The Program engages with academics, students, practitioners, and decision-makers to foster discourse, facilitate scholarship, develop strategic solutions, and build innovative bridges between theory and practice in the rapidly evolving area of animal law and policy.

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