Some important things are coming along. Although building the Library has progressed somewhat slowly, we’ve got some updates!
There are two new galleries on the page, created last month: the beautifully haunting nature photography of Anam Cara, and the raw, animalistic artwork of Nul.
Stephanie Shea, a friend and researcher in Religious Studies has released her thesis “Identity and Belief: An Analysis of the Otherkin Subculture” utilizing some data we have compiled from our first survey. Her thesis is critical of the ways our identities have been treated as only religious or as a “New Religious Movement” (NRM) by previous researchers, arguing that “Otherkin identity should be seen as being separate from any religious and/or social constructions, and could therefore be regarded as a philosophy of a state of being other-than-human.” (Shea 91) We will eventually host her thesis on the Wildpath Library, but for now, you can read it on her academia page, and also give her some support.
**EDIT: Shea’s thesis is now available to read and view on Wildpath here.
We have begun a new survey, Nonhumanity in Our Words, which is now open for responses. Our previous survey’s data, which covers community demographics and issues of misrepresentation in academia and media will hopefully be released in the near future with an analysis. The new survey is an opportunity to discuss nonhumanity in your own words, your experiences and perspective. All of the questions are open-ended prompts, except for some basic demographic questions at the beginning. We hope to include responses to the survey on this website and in a new book we are writing that discusses nonhumanity from the perspective of philosophy and anthrozoology.
The Wildpath Discord Server has been operating for about eight months now and has been steadily growing. It has served as a support community for individuals with nonhuman identities where we might discuss sensitive and important topics from a broad range of understandings, whether spiritual, scientific, philosophical and so on. A lot of our community is overrun with trolls, children and roleplayers, which stifles serious intellectual discussions. And Wildpath has been a call-back to the early days of a lot of the nonhuman communities, such as Otherkin and therianthropes which have been around since the 1970s and 1990s respectively. At that time, it was possible to discuss a lot more serious topics about identity and nature without the threat of constant harassment of shock media looking for an in or trolls trying to disrupt the community because the concepts unnerve them and/or conflict with their worldviews. The existence of a private server with a vetting process has done wonders for communicating these sensitive topics and starting to build a sense of solidarity and mutual support within the community.
The idea of running a community journal, The Wildpath Library, where any individual in the nonhuman communities might submit their work has been floating around my mind for maybe two years or so. The general idea behind it is to collect resources in one place in order to make these accessible to individuals in the community, to help the community build an authoritative source of information from an insiders’ perspective (as opposed the increasing body of academic literature by outsiders trying to define what we are for us), and to provide an outlet where individuals may share their work and thoughts—to encourage the creation of literature and cultural objects by community members.
What better time than the present to start making that happen?
So, this will be a gradual building process. At the moment I have launched the skeleton of the website and will be taking suggestions from community members on how to organize it and what information would be useful to include. The homepage will serve as a news and announcements blog, where I will keep folks up to date on submissions and happenings in the general community and world that might be relevant to our interests.