The Animal Turn

S3E6: Informality with Yamini Narayanan

June 23, 2021 Claudia Hirtenfelder Season 3 Episode 6
The Animal Turn
S3E6: Informality with Yamini Narayanan
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Show Notes

Claudia talks to Yamini Narayanan about the concept of informality and how it can be used to unpack, complicate and understand urban-animal relations. With a focus on urban-cow entanglements, they discuss how informality is related to urban infrastructure and mobilities that help to bur some of the often dichotomous ways we’ve come to understand not only intra-human relations, but inter-species relations too.

Date recorded: 28 April 2021

Yamini Narayanan is Senior Lecturer in International and Community Development at Deakin University, Melbourne. Her work explores the ways in which (other) animals are instrumentalised in sectarian, casteist and even fascist ideologies in India, and how animals are also actors and architects of informal urbanisms. Yamini’s research is supported by two Australian Research Council grants. Yamini’s work on animals, race, and development has been published in leading journals including Environment and Planning A and D, Geoforum, Hypatia, South Asia, Society and Animals, and Sustainable Development. With Kathryn Gillespie, she has co-edited a special edition of the Journal of Intercultural Studies on the theme “Animal nationalisms: Multispecies cultural politics, race, and nation un/building narratives” (2020) . In 2019, Yamini was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Mid-Career Research Excellence. In recognition of her work, she was made Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics (FOCAE), a distinguished honour that is conferred through nomination or invitation only. Connect with Yamini on Deakin University’s website or on Twitter (@YaminiNarayanan).  


Claudia (Towne) Hirtenfelder is the founder and host of The Animal Turn. She is a PhD Candidate in Geography and Planning at Queen’s University and is currently undertaking her own research project looking at the geographical and historical relationships between animals (specifically cows) and cities. Contact Claudia via email ( or follow her on Twitter (@ClaudiaFTowne).


Featured: Street dogs at the intersection of colonialism and informality: ‘Subaltern animism’ as a posthuman critique of Indian cities, Jugaad and informality as drivers of India’s cow slaughter economy; Animal nationalisms: Multispecies cultural politics, race, and nation un/building narrativesby Yamini Narayanan; ‘Posthuman cosmopolitanism’ for the Anthropocene in India: Urbanism and human-snake relations in the Kali Yuga by Yamini Narayanan and Sumanth Bind

Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Ethics (A.P.P.L.E)

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The Animal Turn is hosted and produced by Claudia Towne Hirtenfelder. The podcast is part of iROAR, an Animals Podcasting Network and can also be found on A.P.P.L.E, Twitter, and Instagram. You can find all seasons, episodes, reading lists and bonus content on our website.