Aaron Gross’s new book, Animals and the Human Imagination: A Companion to Animal Studies (Columbia University Press, 2012), explores the new interdisciplinary field known as "animal studies" to challenge the way we think about animals. Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee calls the edited volume "a richly intelligent mapping of the field" and "accessible--even engrossing--to the ordinary educated reader." Harvard Professor Kimberley Patton calls it "impressive and startling. . . . an oracle" and the University of Chicago's Wendy Doniger predicts that it will not only "inspire more scholarly work on animals, but it will also supply fuel for activists who hope to treat animals more humanely . . . in the world outside the academy." Best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer exlaims, "Animals and the Human Imagination soars. Intellectually exciting, smart, and accessible, this volume will intrigue and revolt, surprise and inspire. The opening overview by Gross is a tour de force and each essay fascinates."
Aaron Gross, assistant professor of Theology and Religious Studies, is a historian of religions who focuses on modern and contemporary Jewish traditions. He has a sub-specialty in South Asian religious traditions and has done extensive fieldwork in Northern India and Nepal. Gross views the study of religion as inherently interdisciplinary and draws especially on anthropology, critical theory, philosophy, sociology, and theology. He co-chairs the American Academy of Religion’s Animals and Religion Consultation, serves on the national board of the Society for Jewish Ethics, and has recently become the Associate Editor of the Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies. Gross joined the faculty in 2009.