Introduction

Welcome to Aesop’s Anthropology, an effort to theorize culture across species lines. This project pursues a basic question: What can we learn about culture from other species? Studies of nonhumans are generating new perspectives on intelligence, media, and networking, but they’ve yet to impact how we understand sociality. This is due to the idea that culture uniquely characterizes us as a species—much like racial and classed conceits equated “culture” and “cultivation” with the “highest” achievements of European society in the last millennium. It’s time to recognize that sociality, in its origins and elaborations, begins with nonhumans. We’re late to the game of culture and it’s time to catch up in our thinking about the social.