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University of Montana

1. Waldkoenig, Kirstin. Can Nonhumans Be Victims of Genocide?.

Degree: MA, 2019, University of Montana

“Genocide” appears commonly in critical animal studies literature and sparsely in philosophy to describe human-caused violence against nonhuman beings. However, such uses of the term have rarely been informed by relevant work in genocide studies, nor otherwise formally substantiated. This thesis explores what is at stake when employing the term and proposes a model for appropriate application to nonhuman contexts. Claudia Card’s notion of genocide as social death allows for the consideration of nonhuman animals as victims of genocide. Social vitality is important to the lives of some nonhuman animals and its forcible diminishment results in social death for those nonhuman groups. Thus, instances of violence that inflict social death among nonhuman animals are genocide. By recognizing that nonhumans are, in fact, rendered victims of genocide through human violence against them, we challenge the anthropocentric bias that is fundamental to all genocidal perpetration.

Subjects/Keywords: genocide; critical animal studies; social death; Claudia Card; Ethics and Political Philosophy; Feminist Philosophy

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APA (6th Edition):

Waldkoenig, K. (2019). Can Nonhumans Be Victims of Genocide?. (Masters Thesis). University of Montana. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Waldkoenig, Kirstin. “Can Nonhumans Be Victims of Genocide?.” 2019. Masters Thesis, University of Montana. Accessed October 20, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Waldkoenig, Kirstin. “Can Nonhumans Be Victims of Genocide?.” 2019. Web. 20 Oct 2019.


Waldkoenig K. Can Nonhumans Be Victims of Genocide?. [Internet] [Masters thesis]. University of Montana; 2019. [cited 2019 Oct 20]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Waldkoenig K. Can Nonhumans Be Victims of Genocide?. [Masters Thesis]. University of Montana; 2019. Available from: