Dawne McCance | Specters of Animals

31.1 Animal Studies

Abstract

This essay takes its point of departure from the theme of “learning to live” that Jacques Derrida
addresses both in the “Exordium” to Specters of Marx and in his last interview, Learning to Live Finally. For Derrida, I suggest, to learn to live means “to learn to live with ghosts,” in response and with responsibility to the countless animal specters who, particularly over the past three hundred years, have suffered and continue to suffer and die under the Western tradition’s man/animal, mind/body, self/other, life/death oppositional logic. Learning to live comes to us as an injunction to inherit the Western tradition in a way other than its binary, oppositional terms. The essay explores Derrida’s contention that “to learn to live with ghosts”—whether they are already dead or not yet born—means to learn to live otherwise, more justly, with animals.

June 3rd, 2018

Nicole Shukin | Animal Studies, Indigenous Spacecraft

31.1 Animal Studies

Abstract

With the future of all species on Earth under threat within the Capitalocene, what can Animal Studies learn about struggles for futurity from Indigenous authors and artists? This article proposes that the genre of Indigenous Futurism (IF) can guide Animal Studies to decolonize the art and act of imagining multispecies futures, in part by reviving arts of time-space travel practiced by Indigenous
people in relation with both animals and aliens. Contrasting Indigenous Futurisms with the dangerously literal technologies of space and time-travel represented by actors as diverse as the poet Christian Bök and NASA can be instructive for Animal Studies.

June 3rd, 2018

Melissa T. Yang | Thirteen Ways of Looking at Grip the Raven

31.1 Animal Studies

Abstract

Grip was the first and favorite of several ravens Charles Dickens owned. Dickens declared his love
for Grip in letters, fictionalized him in Barnaby Rudge (1841), and had the bird taxidermied. After Dickens’ death, the stuffed raven spent years in auctions before landing in Philadelphia, where Dickens met Edgar Allan Poe. Poe had reviewed Barnaby Rudge and critiqued Dickens’ Grip before composing his own raven masterwork and “Philosophy of Composition” (1846). Grip’s remains now reside alongside the handwritten manuscript of Poe’s “The Raven” in Philadelphia. This project explores Grip’s iterations — living, fictionalized, taxidermized — and parallels between biography and taxidermy.

June 3rd, 2018

Kári Driscoll | Second Glance at the Panther, or: What Does It Mean to Read Zoopoetically?

31.1 Animal Studies

Abstract

This essay conducts a zoopoetic reading of Rainer Maria Rilke’s iconic poem “Der Panther.” It proceeds in three stages: first, I show how the text itself is zoopoetic, that is, projects a model of poiesis that proceeds via embodied animality. Second, I show how it implicates the reader in the zoopoetic process. In this way zoopoetics becomes not only a mode of artistic production but also one of reception. Finally, I reflect on what it means to read zoopoetically in the age of the Anthropocene.

June 3rd, 2018

Mario Ortiz-Robles | The Animal Novel

31.1 Animal Studies

Abstract

Our reluctance to take seriously the anthropomorphic terms we routinely employ to describe the novel’s history, form, and social function has prevented us from considering critically the constitutive role of animals in the genesis and development of the genre. In this paper I argue that the figure of the animal, which subtends the biopolitical logic of realism, is our best, perhaps our only, means of coming to terms with anthropogenic extinction.

June 3rd, 2018

Masterclass by Alice Lambert | Holding up a Mirror to the Nonhuman Within: Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

31.1 Animal Studies

Abstract

Kari Weil suggests that a “posthumanist autobiography” takes account of the nonhuman that is at the heart of the human author (93). Broadening her concept to include autobiografiction such as Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, this paper contends that posthumanist autobiography is a powerful means of challenging our humanist mindset, encouraging the reader to explore the nonhuman within. In short, I argue that Fowler’s use of a posthumanist autobiographical mode forces the reader to recognise “humanity” as a social construct and consequently to rewrite their own sense of self.

June 3rd, 2018

Masterclass by Vincent Reijnders | Where to Look, What to Emphasise: The Conflict of Dividing Attention between the Individual Animal and the Global Process of Climate Change – at Rotterdam Zoo

31.1 Animal Studies

Abstract

A thick description of a field trip to Rotterdam Zoo, I use the polar bear exhibit as an example of how the zoo shapes the encounter between visitor and animal in order to analyse this personal ‘meeting between species’ and how it reflects on zookeeping and human responsibility in the age of the Anthropocene. I argue that Rotterdam Zoo should stress the entangled nature of their animals, their visitors, and the entire planet, in order to play a more effective role in combatting climate change through education.

June 3rd, 2018

Gabriel Giorgi | The Form of the Improper: Clarice Lispector and the Rhetoric of Precarity

30.2 Precarious Work Precarious Life

Abstract

In her novel The Hour of the Star, from 1977, Brazilian author Clarice Lispector transformed the cultural figurations of poverty that shaped modern Brazilian cultures since the 1930s. In doing so, she opened the possibility for the emergence of a new figure: that of the precarious, thus anticipating aesthetic forms that will model Latin American cultural imaginaries in the decades to come. Two coordinates define this new figuration of precarity: proximity and non-anthropocentrism. Precarity thus emerges as a new organization of the sensible that, far from a mere rhetoric of expropriation, demarcates a terrain of contestation and ambivalence.

December 20th, 2017

Jago Morrison | Terrorism, Precarity, Security: 9/11 Revisited

30.2 Precarious Work Precarious Life

Abstract

This essay re-examines 9/11 through the twin lenses of security and precarity. As Judith Butler writes, Americans experienced “something like the loss of their First Worldism” in 2001 (Precarious Life 39). What followed – a profound reconfiguration of the security paradigm – was coupled with an unprecedented wave of anti-intellectualism. In this essay, I examine Don DeLillo’s Falling Man (2007), as a response to that national crisis of confidence. Centred on the idea of bare life – encapsulated by the image of a body in free fall – the novel strips back the dominant affects of national affront and retributive violence, in which, as Giorgio Agamben argues, terrorism and security reinforce each other in an escalating cycle, showing how a different mode of mourning and survival might begin in the rubble of the towers. For Butler, the urgent and difficult task underscored by 9/11 is that of imagining a new basis for community on the ground of our shared vulnerability. Falling Man begins that work, showing us 9/11 afresh, as a revelation of collective precarity.

December 20th, 2017

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