Amy Field

Amy Field

Amy has carried out research in eastern Germany since 2012. Her focus has been the imposition of animal protection law on livestock farms, as well as people’s relationship to state regulatory agencies and the whistleblowing of anti-agribusiness social movements. Her current research builds on her interest in anthropological theories of human-animal interactions and the law to examine how relationships between species and power are conceptualized and enacted by farm regulators and farmers. Through this work on how to think about animals and state power anthropologically, she also became interested in the questions of morality and ethics, the social production of responsibility, conflicts of interest, and collective memory among state actors.

She received her B.S. (2009) from UC Berkeley, and an M.A. (2012) and a Ph.D. (2017) from New York University. She was also a Fulbright grantee to Germany in 2014 and 2015, and received an Outstanding Teaching Award (2016) from New York University’s College of Arts & Sciences.


Amy’s focus on the animal protection movement in Germany is on the generational, political, and moral dimensions of desires to change animals’ legal status. Her work centers on the implications of constitutional protections for animals for regulatory actors and farmers, and on the multiple understandings of animals’ value as they are transformed into food products over the course of their life cycles. She situates the intersection of law, human-animal interactions, and forms of normativity within global shifts in agrarian restructuring and precautionary narratives in Europe about food production processes and their detrimental effects on people, animals, and the environment. Her work illuminates how animal welfare reforms are relational, cultural processes that have become key sites for wider struggles not only about farm animal ethics, but also about urban-rural interdependence, forms of consumption, ideas about privilege, and the governance challenges generated by globalization.


  • Mkhwanazi, Nolwazi and Lenore Manderson (2020) "Connected lives: Families, households, health and care" Cape Town: HSRC Press.
  • Tsampiras, Carla, Nolwazi Mkhwanazi and Victoria Jane Hume (2018) "Inclusion, Access, And Social Justice - The Rhizomic Evolution Of A Field Across A Continent" in BMJ Medical Humanities 44: 218-220
  • Field, Amy (2017) "Populist Protest and Counter-Protest in Germany." in Anthropology News
  • Mkhwanazi, Nolwazi and Deevia Bhana (2017) "Young Families: Gender, Sexuality and Care" Cape Town: HSRC Press.
  • Field, Amy (2016) "Invited Roundtable Contribution, “Challenging Legal Orders,” organized by D. Hodgson." presented at American Ethnological Society Meeting, Washington, D.C.
  • Field, Amy (2016) "Review of Lien, Marianne (2015) "Becoming Salmon: Aquaculture and the Domestication of a Fish"." in Anthropology of Work Review, 37(2):113-114
  • Mkhwanazi, Nolwazi (2016) "Medical Anthropology in Africa: The trouble with a single story" in Medical Anthropology, 35 (2): 193-202
  • Mkhwanazi, Nolwazi and Ellen Block (2016) "Paternity matters: Premarital childbearing and belonging in South Africa and Lesotho" in Social Dynamics, 42 (2): 273-288
  • Field, Amy (2015) "Protest in Parliament" in Anthropology Now, 7(1):39-50
  • Field, Amy (2015) "Of Pigs, Persons, and Peripheral Places: Industrial Animal Stalls as Infrastructure." presented at American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Denver.
  • Field, Amy (2015) "Complications of Compassion: Multispecies Responsibility and Ethical Dilemma among German Farm Authorities." presented at 61st Annual Conference of U.S. Fulbright Program, Berlin, Germany.
  • Mkhwanazi, Nolwazi (2015) "Twenty years of democracy and the politics of reproduction in South Africa" in African Identities, 12 (3/4): 326-341
  • Field, Amy (2014) "Animal Husbandry, Agriculture, and The (Policy) Environment: An East German Before-and-After Story." presented at NYU Berlin
  • Mkhwanazi, Nolwazi (2014) "'An African way of doing things': reproducing gender and generation" in Anthropology Southern Africa, 37 (1/2): 107-118
  • Mkhwanazi, Nolwazi (2014) "Revisiting the dynamics of early childbearing in South Africa" in Culture, Health and Sexuality, 16 (9): 1084:1096
  • Field, Amy (2013) "Reading the Animal Body, Imagining the Animal Self." presented at American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Chicago.
  • Field, Amy (2013) "Accommodating Farm Animals: Sentience, Property, and New Practices of Animal Care in Eastern Germany." presented at American Ethnological Society Meeting, Chicago.
  • Field, Amy (2013) "Creating Animal Welfare, Recreating Animal Production Practice." presented at NSSR/NYU Thinking with Animals Conference, New York.
  • Field, Amy (2012) "Banning Schächten: Animal Protection Discourses and the Rejection of Religious Slaughter in Multiethnic Germany." Master’s Thesis, Department of Anthropology, New York University.
  • Mkhwanazi, Nolwazi (2012) "A tough love approach indeed: Demonising early childbearing in the Zuma Era" in Agenda: Empowering women for gender equity, 26 (4): 73-84
  • Mkhwanazi, Nolwazi (2010) "Understanding teenage pregnancy in a post-apartheid South African township" in Culture, Health and Sexuality, 12 (4): 347-358