Horseback Ethnography and Multispecies Intersectionality

Horseback Ethnography and Multispecies Intersectionality
Image by Andrea Petitt

Feminist and multispecies anthropologies have de-centred those most visible, in order to appreciate the perspectives of those othered in society – but also in order to better understand society at large. This paper goes beyond de-centring the human towards de-centring another analytical focus: the species dyad. Building on previous work on gender-species intersectionality and drawing on five fieldworks of multispecies ethnography involving gendered relations between humans, cattle and horses on three continents, this paper offers a conceptualization of the multispecies triad by outlining a multispecies intersectionality theory. This entails acknowledging the intersectionality of five sets of relations: 1) intersecting power relations of humans (such as gender and ethnicity as well as local categories); 2) species as a power relation beyond biology; 3) humans’ organisation of non-humans into intra-species categories (by for example sex, breed, age as well as local categories); 4) non humans’ own intra-species power relations; 5) non-humans relations to different intra-species groups (including human sub-groups). By situating a multispecies triad in this multispecies intersectionality the paper shows how relations of power intersect within and across species with consequences for individuals and groups of all species involved. Multispecies intersectionality can thus be of interest even to scholars primarily interested in humans.

Andrea Petitt is a researcher at the Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS) in Kathmandu, Nepal and also teaches multispecies relations, sensory anthropology and artistic methods at Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale et Culturelle (LASC) at Université de Liège, Belgium. After completing her PhD in Rural Development at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in 2016 she worked as a researcher at the Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University until 2022, where she is still affiliated. Andrea is an editor for the Creative Section of the Journal of Organizational Ethnography and recently founded the MEAM network for Multispecies Ethnography and Artistic Methods, as well as the Bovine Scholarship Network.

Andrea’s main research interests focus on gender and intersectionality of multispecies relations in agriculture and she enjoys multispecies ethnographic methodologies and artistic methods for data collection, analysis and dissemination. In particular, she has worked with questions around cowboy masculinities in horseback cattle ranching in the Canadian West, women’s cattle ownership in the Kalahari of Botswana and the breeding of traditional Swedish Mountain Cattle. Currently, she working with gendered human-plan relations in Nepal, and is also wrapping up an international post-doc project financed by the Swedish Research Council (VR) on gendered human-horse-cattle relations on working cattle ranches in Colorado and Sweden as well as in sport and tourism drawing on the American West where this multispecies triad meets.

Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 812 1179 0732
Password: 968025

Image gallery

Date & time

Mon 08 May 2023, 3–4pm


Rm 3.369 HC Coombs Building ANU


Andrea Petitt, SIAS


Natasha Fijn


Updated:  8 May 2023/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications