The introduction situates the book's claims about sovereignty in relation to medieval political theory. It maps various understandings of legitimate power and sovereignty over others in medieval political theory and also notes debates about the notion of the state in modern understandings of medieval political organization. The introduction also situates the book in relation to medieval animal studies, and discusses medieval understandings of human-animal hierarchies, based primarily on ideas that the natural order of the world is defined in God's commandment, found in Genesis, that humans should have dominion over the animals. The introduction further maps some of terms through which the analysis will operate; sovereignty is debated in encounters between humans and animals: skin, gender, intimacy, and affect.
Keywords: political theory, state, animals, dominion, sovereignty, intimacy, affect