Policymakers and societal norms interpret the presence of animals in the home and on the street differently for groups along the axes of class and race, even when the motivations for pet keeping are the same. The wide variety of decisions and experiences surrounding pet ownership in the black community reflect the many ways that they have negotiated with belonging and citizenship, negotiating with animals as family members, tools of white supremacy, and markers of respectability.
Katheryn Lawson is a PhD student in History at the University of Delaware, also earning a Museum Studies certificate. She holds degrees in music performance, historical musicology, English, and Library and Information Science. Katheryn’s research investigates American history through the often intersecting lenses of human-animal relations (particularly birds and birdsong), children and childhood, race, music, and library science. Past publications and presentations range from the history of cat litter, to Girl Scout music, to birdsongs for children, to music concerts in American libraries. Outside of scholarly pursuits, she has processed archival collections at the University of Iowa Special Collections and the Iowa Women’s Archives and volunteers at a wildlife rescue.