Thursday, February 6, 2014

Call for Contributions: Mourning Animals

Call for Contributions

Edited book by Margo DeMello

Working title: Mourning Animals: Rituals and Practices Surrounding Animal Death


Contributions sought for an edited collection on the topic of how humans deal with animal death. While there are a great many books and articles on how people can cope on an individual level with the death of their companion animal, and there is more recent work on how animals mourn the deaths of other animals, I am interested in the cultural practices that have emerged surrounding this issue. When did they begin? Are they limited to companion animals? What scope and form do they take? What role do cultural beliefs play in shaping them?


The proposed book proposes to address the issue from a variety of perspectives, and will be cross-cultural in scope. My hope is that it will include chapters on:


  • Pet cemeteries
  • Pet taxidermy
  • Shrines for animals
  • Animal memorials
  • Animal funerals
  • Virtual mourning
  • The extinction of species and how that is mourned
  • The concept of an afterlife for animals
  • How non-pet animals are mourned, and under what circumstances


My own chapter will focus on people’s belief in whether animals have an afterlife, the Rainbow Bridge in particular, and which animals get to go there and why. Please email me at or  if you are interested in contributing to this book. Once I have all of the proposed chapters lined up, I will put together a more formal proposal and shop it around. I am working with a tentative September 2014 deadline for receipt of all chapters.


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