Vinciane Despret

Vinciane Despret © Daniel Renou





Vinciane Despret was born in Anderlecht and grew up near Liege. She still lives there, in one of the city’s most typical spots, in the historical center. Initially a philosophy student, “which led me straight to unemployment” she says with a smile, she quickly went back to school to study psychology. Shortly thereafter she discovered ethology, the study of animal behavior, and gained a passion for the humans who work with animals. By a surprising coincidence, once she’d earned her psychology degree, the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Liege hired her. Her only question then was whether she could combine the two disciplines, her two subjects of predilection. Her career then vacillated between human psychology and ethology and, wanting to combine them, she became interested in what she calls “the political consequences of our theoretical choices.” She then began studying both “how to live” with animals and the issues—which she considers strictly political—raised by human psychotherapeutic practices.