Sparsha Saha

Sparsha Saha

Lecturer on Government
Preceptor in Expository Writing

I have two main areas of focus in my research: gender and animal agriculture. With respect to gender, I am most interested in how gender plays a role in elections and behavior. Do female candidates running for office face voter bias? How might framing change levels of support for policies, like quotas, that can increase women's political representation in democracies? How does media framing of female political candidates impact the internal ambition (i.e., interest in running for office) of women, women of color, and people of color, more broadly? The topic of animals and politics is understudied in political science. This is disturbing because of the significant connection that animals and our relationship to animals have to climate change, racism, sexism, and pandemics/human health. Why is there such a lack of governmental attention on curbing the environmental costs of animal agriculture? Animal agriculture accounts for the use of 83% of all available farmland in the world, yet provides just 18% of total food calories produced. Due to this, it is the leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon (as one specific example). To combat climate change, we must restore biodiversity and the 'wild' parts of the world. We cannot do that if everyone on the planet is eating meat and dairy. Yet, there has been virtually no attention or progress in this area. We also know that the process of dehumanization is intrinsically connected to racism and sexism and many of the other -isms. Is it possible to reduce individual level racism and sexism durably if we reduce an individual's speciesism (the moral attribution of worth based on species membership, for e.g., why we eat pigs and not dogs)?

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