Bhagwaan Mahavir/Chao Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Jain Studies
Office: Mechanical Lab, 206
Brianne Donaldson is a public ethicist exploring the intersection of Indian and western metaphysics, critical animal studies and marginalized bodies, and religion and science. The goal of this work is to rethink relations between marginalized plants, animals, and people in ways that (1) identify implicit assumptions that justify systematic violence toward excluded populations, and (2) develop experimental practices of awareness, innovation, and action that widen the boundaries of those lives, beings, and habitats considered in or out of our moral communities.
While at Rice, Donaldson is continuing her research in Jain philosophy and ethics—with its ancient emphasis on nonharm to all beings, as well as the lived experience of Jains in the U.S. and abroad. Her major projects include a national survey examining the transmission of Jain ideals among teachers and students of Jain temple education across the U.S., a first-of-its kind book examining bioethical foundations in the Jain tradition, and a study of the expansive notion of consciousness in Jain thought that exceeds gender, species, disability, and death. The large and active community of Jains in Houston are instrumental in this work.
She has a special interest in industrial animal agriculture and is currently completing field research for a book examining the globalization of midwest pork production as seen through technology, foreign ownership of agricultural assets, and immigrant/refugee labor. Donaldson offers one class per semester such as Bioethics and Indian Traditions or India, Consciousness, and Science. Outside the classroom, she is involved with the Disorders of Consciousness program at Texas Medical Center and is a small group facilitator for the first year ethics seminar at Baylor College of Medicine.
She is the author of Creaturely Cosmologies: Why Metaphysics Matters for Animal and Planetary Liberation (Lexington Books 2015)—examining the world visions of Jainism and Alfred North Whitehead's process-relational philosophy, and the edited collections The Future of Meat Without Animals (Rowman and Littlefield International, 2016) and Beyond the Bifurcation of Nature: A Common World for Animals and the Environment (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2014), as well as several chapters, articles, and op-eds on various topics which can be found on her website: www.briannedonaldson.com. She has served as assistant professor at Monmouth College (IL), lecturer at Claremont School of Theology (CA), and independent researcher and coordinator for Vegan Outreach.
The Future of Meat Without Animals
Brianne Donaldson and Christopher Carter (editors)
Beyond the Bifurcation of Nature: A Common World for Animals and the Environment
Brianne Donaldson (editor)