Essay Series: Further Reading

This is a list of resources for further learning about transforming privilege and oppression in the vegan movement

Dr. Melanie Joy

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Overview Books

The most reliable and comprehensive books for learning about privilege and oppression are classified as textbooks, meaning that they are marketed primarily to educators and they are more pricey than other books. I have listed the most reader-friendly and comprehensive ones that I know of here. If you want to choose only one book to read, I recommend either the first or second ones, which provide the most comprehensive and reader-friendly overview of the subject.

  1. The Psychology of Oppression covers pretty much all the basic, necessary-to-know information about privilege and oppression and is comprehensive yet not terribly long.
  2. Readings for Diversity and Social Justice provides a comprehensive yet easy-to-read overview of privilege and oppression and includes essays on specific forms of oppression. You can find the newest and most up-to-date version here or get the earlier yet more affordable edition here.
  3. Unraveling the Gender Knot gives an excellent overview of gender dynamics. The same author, Allan G. Johnson, also wrote a shorter book, Privilege, Power and Difference, that gives an overview of privilege and oppression in general -- though this book is less comprehensive than the other books listed on the subject. Johnson also has a blog which includes essays on patriarchy, racism, and other forms of oppression.
  4. Privilege: A Reader is said to be an excellent introductory read for those who wish to explore the dynamics of privilege and oppression. Unlike the other books listed here, I have not read this one myself.

Other Books and Blogs

  1. For those who feel thrown into new territory, you can start out by taking a look at this Privilege 101 blog article, by Sian Ferguson. It will give you an overview of the concept of privilege and other essays on the blog explore related issues.
  2. On the same site, you’ll find this excellent article by vegan advocate Carolyn Zaikowski, explaining how social justice activists often unknowingly engage in ableism.
  3. Aph and Syl Ko have a series of brilliant essays on the ways racism, speciesism, and sexism interconnect. You can read their work here
  4. Carol J. Adams has a number of enlightening, reader-friendly articles about patriarchy, feminism, and veganism on her blog and her books on the subject are groundbreaking. If you’re looking for non-academic writing, it’s best to refer to her blog essays.
  5. Dr. A. Breeze Harper has done groundbreaking work examining the interconnectedness of oppressions. You can find her work here.
  6. This short article on classism explains some of the ways class privilege can manifest (the article is focused on US policies, but a number of the concepts apply beyond the US).
  7. Veganism in an Oppressive World: A Vegans-of-Color Community Project by Julia Feliz Brueck.


  1. Lisa Kemmerer is a leading feminist in the vegan movement. Here is an excellent video of a webinar she gave about sexism in the movement.
  2. By shedding light on various oppressions in his talk Intersections of Justice, vegan and social justice advocate Christopher Sebastian examines and calls for inclusivity in the animal rights movement.
  3. This is an excellent TED talk on ageism, given by Ashton Applewhite.
  4. For a wonderful presentation on racism, I recommend watching Tricia Rose’s talk on How Structural Racism Works.

Relevant Organizations

  1. The Food Empowerment Project encourages healthy food choices that reflect a more compassionate society by spotlighting the abuse of animals on farms, the depletion of natural resources, unfair working conditions for produce workers, and the unavailability of healthy foods in low-income areas.
  2. A Well-Fed World is a hunger relief and animal protection organization which seeks to reduce human suffering caused by poverty and hunger as well animal suffering caused by carnism.
  3. Encompass seeks to increase effectiveness in the animal protection movement by fostering greater racial diversity, equity, and inclusion while empowering advocates of color.
  4. CANHAD aims to empower animal, environmental, and human rights advocates to fight harassment and discrimination in advocacy organizations.

Dr. Melanie Joy

Dr. Melanie Joy is a Harvard-educated psychologist, international speaker, organizational consultant, trainer, and relationship coach. She is the author of the award-winning book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, as well as Strategic Action for Animals and Beyond Beliefs: A Guide to Improving Relationships and Communication for Vegans, Vegetarians, and Meat Eaters. Dr. Joy has developed and implemented vegan advocacy trainings for more than a decade, and she specializes in effective communication, organizational leadership, the psychology of social change, interpersonal relationships, and preventing and treating burnout. She has trained vegan advocates and given her acclaimed carnism presentation on six continents and her work has been featured in major media outlets around the world. Dr. Joy is the eighth recipient of the Ahimsa Award – previously given to the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela – for her work on global nonviolence, as well as the Empty Cages Prize – previously given to Tom Regan – for her contribution to furthering the cause of animal rights, and the Peter Singer Prize for strategies to reduce the suffering of animals, and the video of her recent TEDx talk on carnism is in the top one percent of the most-viewed TEDx talks of all time. Dr. Joy is also the founding president of the charitable organization, Beyond Carnism, a co-founder of ProVeg International, and the co-director of the Center for Effective Vegan Advocacy (CEVA).

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