The Melancholic Animal — On Depression and Animality


  • Eva Meijer



The phenomenon of depression fundamentally challenges common western ideas about what it means to be human, such as Cartesian distinctions between body and mind, and existing notions of rationality, autonomy and agency. Like madness more generally, melancholy and depression are historically shaped constructions, which interconnect at several points with constructions of animality. Focusing on these connections is helpful for rethinking depression in the human case, and for understanding nonhuman animal depression. Other animals are often neglected in studies of depression, even though they may from it too and human and animal depressions are often related, symbolically and practices. Examining the psycho-geographical dimensions of depression in connection to animality can contribute to a different discourse, aimed at interspecies healing.


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Author Biography

Eva Meijer

Eva Meijer works as a postdoctoral researcher at Wageningen University (NL) in a project called Anthropocene Ethics: Taking Animal Agency Seriously. She taught (animal) philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and is the chair of the Dutch study group for Animal Ethics, as well as a founding member of Minding Animals The Netherlands. Recent publications include a book on nonhuman animal languages, Animal Languages (John Murray 2019), and a novel about bird scientist Len Howard, Bird Cottage, (Pushkin Press 2018). Her books have been translated into thirteen languages. When animals speak. Toward an Interspecies Democracy is forthcoming from New York University Press in October 2019.




How to Cite

Meijer, E. (2019). The Melancholic Animal — On Depression and Animality. Humanimalia, 11(1), 109–127.