robertogreco + animalstudies   6

Duke University Press - What Comes after Entanglement?
"By foregrounding the ways that human existence is bound together with the lives of other entities, contemporary cultural theorists have sought to move beyond an anthropocentric worldview. Yet as Eva Haifa Giraud contends in What Comes after Entanglement?, for all their conceptual power in implicating humans in ecologically damaging practices, these theories can undermine scope for political action. Drawing inspiration from activist projects between the 1980s and the present that range from anticapitalist media experiments and vegan food activism to social media campaigns against animal research, Giraud explores possibilities for action while fleshing out the tensions between theory and practice. Rather than an activist ethics based solely on relationality and entanglement, Giraud calls for what she describes as an ethics of exclusion, which would attend to the entities, practices, and ways of being that are foreclosed when other entangled realities are realized. Such an ethics of exclusion emphasizes foreclosures in the context of human entanglement in order to foster the conditions for people to create meaningful political change.

Praise

“What Comes after Entanglement? is an exciting and novel book. It is unique in its combination of innovative theoretical explorations of activism and social change with suggestions for practical political interventions. Crucially, Eva Haifa Giraud explores the messy practicalities of activism. The findings and significance of her book go far beyond the case study focus on a broad variety of animal activism since the 1980s, which weaves together different times and places in really interesting ways.” — Jenny Pickerill, author of Cyberprotest: Environmental Activism Online

“Eva Haifa Giraud does not accept relationality theory without question. The force of her work is her seeing theory as in need of a thinking-through that does not simply apply it to situations, but instead sees the situated work of activism as rendering our notion of theory and relationality in a more nuanced fashion. I don't know of any other text that follows through on the activist potentials in the theories Giraud draws from as much as this one does. An impressive work.” — Claire Colebrook, author of Death of the PostHuman: Essays on Extinction"
books  activism  animals  animalstudies  morethanhuman  multispecies  feminism  evahaifagiraud  2019  toread  anticapitalism  ethics  exclusion  entanglement  politics 
august 2019 by robertogreco
Animals, Anthropomorphism and Mediated Encounters: 1st Edition (Hardback) - Routledge
"This book critically investigates the pervasiveness of anthropomorphised animals in popular culture.

Anthropomorphism in popular visual media has long been denounced for being unsophisticated or emotionally manipulative. It is often criticised for over-expressing similarities between humans and other animals. This book focuses on everyday encounters with visual representations of anthropomorphised animals and considers how attributing other animals with humanlike qualities speaks to a complex set of power relations. Through a series of case studies, it explores how anthropomorphism is produced and circulated and proposes that it can serve to create both misunderstandings and empathetic connections between humans and other animals.

This book will appeal to academics and students interested in visual media, animal studies, sociology and cultural studies."
animalstudies  animals  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  anthropomorphism  multispecies  morethanhuman  culture  visual  books  claireparkinson 
august 2019 by robertogreco
Gabriel Rosenberg on Twitter: "Ok y'all did it: A thread about hogs, ferality, and race in American history." / Twitter
[via: https://twitter.com/metaleptic/status/1158736606183841794
"come for the feral hogs, stay for the porcine analytic of settler colonialism."]

“Ok y’all did it: A thread about hogs, ferality, and race in American history.

Domestic hogs are not indigenous to North America. They were first introduced by the Spanish during the earliest phases of colonization. In fact, in many cases, hogs long preceded Europeans as the first wave of colonizers,

Hogs are tough, fierce, and hardy beasts. Their tusks offer ample defense against catamounts and other predators. They are thrifty breeders, producing large litters of viable offspring. And they can self-provision in forests, scrub, and grass (tho they also need shade and mud).

European colonizers seeded the landscape with small populations of hogs, knowing they would multiply quickly and, thus, would provide a ready supply of meat. Seeded so, hogs quickly advanced across the North American continent far faster than Europeans.

Indigenous populations faced an ambivalent gift in these new creatures. On the one hand, they could be hunted and provided another useful food source. Much like with horses, indigenous populations ingeniously harnessed porcine possibilities.

However, pigs also brought European diseases and were a vector of contagion for the epidemics that devastated indigenous populations. Hogs made life easier for settlers, and it disrupted indigenous land use. ate the crops of indigenous communities, sparking conflicts.

By the 19th century, hogs were consummate companions of settlers and pork was the predominant meat of Euro-Americans. Hogs didn’t need pasture and they produced ample lard (the most common cooking oil).

They could be pickled, barrelled, and floated down the Mississippi for the Atlantic seaboard and Europe. Cincinnati was memorably awarded the moniker “Porkopolis.” Settlers from around the Ohio River Valley drove millions of hogs there for slaughter and export.

In sum, settlers found pigs to be a useful way to extract calories from the landscape and to transform it cheaply into food and sometimes commodities. But this form of hog husbandry was low-intensity and rarely involved fences or enclosure.

In this context, the modern distinction between feral and domestic was muddier. Most hogs lived proximate to proximate to humans, some in human shelters, but they had enormous autonomy and roved freely.

This made sense early in settler colonialism, but fencing and property systems changed the story. As setters planted grains, they found roving hogs a menace who trampled and ate their crops. Similarly, fences were a form of improvement that strengthened property claims.

Over the course of the 19th century, fence laws and enclosure spread West from the Atlantic seaboard (with the exception of the South East and Appalachia where enclosure was contested until the end of the century).

In the meantime, settlers (now imagining themselves the “permanent” natives after only a generation) began to develop a different system of hog husbandry. Instead of free ranging their hogs, they increasingly confined them and fattened them on grain.

After the Civil War, the development of a robust rail system also meant live pigs could be easily transported to Chicago, which quickly replaced Cincinnati as the center of hog slaughter. This transportation network created a hog-corn nexus throughout the Middle West.

This different system of production also required a new kind of hog: settlers (now called farmers) wanted a hog that put on weight quickly and efficiently transformed corn into fat, not one that could defend itself and self-provision from a forest.

They no longer needed a lean, muscular hog with long legs and tusks capable of making a long drive to Cincinnait. They wanted a stout fat hog, with short legs, and no tusks, an animal that was docile and easily transported.

Enclosure meant they had the opportunity to do this. Whereas free ranging hogs were mostly left to their own mating, fences, crates, and barns meant farmers could intensively breed their pigs and determine with precision which animals should mate.

Ok gotta run and catch the U to get a haircut, but I’ll tweet as I go, spotty WiFi and all.

By the 1880s, pig farmers across America endeavored to “improve” their herds by breeding in European stock. Through elaborate systems of genealogy and recording, they adapted the European tradition of pure-breeding to a settler colonial context.

Such farmers raved about the purity of their (animal) bloodlines, which they considered a powerful proof of the superiority of European settled agriculture and civilization. The refinement and purity of their breeds was evidence that settler colonialism was just and natural.

And what of “unimproved” pigs? They called these animals “mongrels”, “degenerates”, “scrubs”, and “natives.” The last term indexes the conflation of indigeneity with biological inferiority and unmanaged reproduction.

And much as “refined” stock proved white European superiority, “native” animals showed that those communities setter colonialism had eradicated were “degenerate” and “barbarous.”

It is in this context that the concept of “feral” can begin to emerge as a distinct and threatening concept to white American culture: a form of unmanaged reproduction and life that exists outside and apart from property ownership and settled agriculture.

That defense of assault weapons is almost too on the nose: hordes of unmanaged life invade domesticity and managed reproduction (the daughter) and must be culled with massive and indiscriminate violence. Six hundred years of settler colonialism is speaking in that tweet.

If you learned something from this thread, please read the work of the many historians working on agriculture who helped form my thinking. These include: Anderson’s Creatures of Empire, Cronon’s Changes in the Land and Nature’s Metropolis, and Specht’s Red Meat Republic.

Also, Logan O’Laughlin’s forthcoming work, Wood’s Herds Shot Round the World, Franklin’s Dolly Mixtures, Mizelle’s Pig, Blanchette’s forthcoming Porkopolis and many many more. Oh and read some Sylvia Wynter too!

Fin.

Epilogue: I have safely returned to my office at the
@MPIWG
with a fresh bald fade and this thread completely viral. If you’re interested in my work, some links will follow.

#1 My article, “A Race Suicide Among the Hogs”: https://www.academia.edu/21787581/_A_Race_Suicide_among_the_Hogs_The_Biopolitics_of_Pork_in_the_United_States_1865_1930_American_Quarterly_68.1_March_2016_49-73

The article examines meat agriculture as a site for the production of knowledge about gender, race, and sexuality that spanned human and non-human animals. Livestock breeders and commentators alike…

#2 My article, “How Meat Changed Sex” (on the unexpected sexual politics of livestock production): https://www.academia.edu/35295117/HOW_MEAT_CHANGED_SEX_The_Law_of_Interspecies_Intimacy_after_Industrial_Reproduction

HOW MEAT CHANGED SEX: The Law of Interspecies Intimacy after Industrial Reproduction
The article explores the history and structure of American laws criminalizing sex- ual contact between humans and animals to demonstrate how the ecological conditions of late capitalism are…

#3 My book, “The 4-H Harvest: Sexuality and the State in Rural America”: https://www.amazon.com/4-H-Harvest-Sexuality-America-Politics/dp/0812247531/

4-H, the iconic rural youth program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has enrolled more than 70 million Americans over the last century. As the first comprehensive history of the organization

#4 A popular piece I wrote for the @BostonGlobe that gives you a sense of how I think about farming and rural America in the context of settler colonialism, “Fetishizing Family Farms”: https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2016/04/09/fetishizing-family-farms/NJszoKdCSQWaq2XBw7kvIL/story.html

Fetishizing family farms: History is nothing like the political mythology.

#5 A recent microsyllabus on Animal Studies I wrote for the Radical History Review’s incredible @abusablepast: https://www.radicalhistoryreview.org/abusablepast/?p=3164

Microsyllabus: Animal Studies
Compiled by Gabriel N. Rosenberg Animal Studies queries the relationship between nonhuman animals (or “animals”) and human social orders. It is an interdisciplinary field, encompassing scholarship”
pigs  hogs  multispecies  history  colonialism  gabrielrosenberg  animals  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  us  animalstudies  morethanhuman  imperialism  feral  ferality  farming  land  ownership  agriculture  livestock  food  landscape  settlercolonialism 
august 2019 by robertogreco
The Book That Made Me: An Animal | Public Books
"The Lives of Animals was the first book I read in college—or at least the first book I read in a strange, amazing seminar that rewired my brain in the first semester of freshman year. The course was about animals, and I signed up for it probably because it was a course my dad, who had been advising me on all things college, would have taken himself. He kept animal effigies all over the apartment: portraits of a donkey and a marmot in the bathroom; a giant poster of “The External Structure of Cock and Chicken” in the living room; dog figures of many breeds; pigs, his favorite, in all shapes and sizes, in every single nook and cranny. In the dining room he had a huge pig sculpture made of leather, which in retrospect was a strange and morbid combination: one animal skinned to make an image of another. Our cocker spaniel had chewed its face beyond recognition by the time my mom got around to throwing it out.

My dad passed away in 2016, two years after they got divorced, and I faced the monumental task of disposing of his menagerie. I kept many things, of course, but couldn’t keep them all. It was so easy to throw out or donate clothes, housewares, furniture, even books. I didn’t know what to do with the creatures, who seemed to contain his spirit more than anything else. I laughed when I found a key chain in a random drawer: a little brass effigy of one pig mounting another. That was his humor. That was his mind, his way of seeing, his culture—which was based, like all cultures, in certain ideas about nature. Frankly, he was a difficult man to know even when he was alive. The animals offered me a way in, as they probably did for him.

Anyway, he was the one who saw the listing for a course named “Zooësis” and thought I might like it. And I really did, from the moment our indefatigably brilliant professor, Una Chaudhuri, asked us to read J. M. Coetzee’s weird, hybrid book. The Lives of Animals is a novella, but Coetzee delivered it as a two-part Tanner Lecture at Princeton in 1997, and it centers, in turn, on two lectures delivered by its aging novelist protagonist, Elizabeth Costello. During her visit to an obscure liberal arts college, she speaks hard-to-swallow truths about the cruelties we visit upon animals, making a controversial analogy between industrialized farming and the Third Reich. But the content of her lectures is almost less important than the reactions they generate and the personal consequences she incurs, which Coetzee shows us by nesting the lectures within a fictional frame. People get incensed; the academic establishment rebukes her argument, her way of arguing, everything she represents. Even her family relationships buckle under the weight of a worldview that seems to reject reason.

Her first lecture is about the poverty of philosophy, both as a basis for animal ethics and as a medium for thinking one’s way into the mind of another kind of creature. But her second lecture is about the potential of poetry, and it’s captivating in its optimism about the ability of human language to imagine radically nonhuman forms of sensory experience—or, perhaps more radically, forms of sensory experience we share with other species.

As a person who has worked within the field commonly known as animal studies but has never worked with real animals (unlike so many great boundary-crossing thinkers: the late poet-philosopher-veterinarian Vicki Hearne, the philosopher-ethologist Vinciane Despret, et al.), I often find myself bummed out by the inadequacy of representation: Specifically, what good are animals in books? Are they not inevitably vessels of human meaning? In Flush, her novel about the inner life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel, Virginia Woolf has another way of putting the problem: “Do words say everything? Can words say anything? Do not words destroy the symbol that lies beyond the reach of words?” To which I would add: Do they not destroy, or at least ignore, the creature beyond the symbol as well?

Coetzee has a different view. Or Costello, at least, has some different ideas about what poetry can do. She celebrates poems like Ted Hughes’s “The Jaguar” and Rainer Maria Rilke’s “The Panther”—“poetry that does not try to find an idea in the animal, that is not about the animal, but is instead the record of an engagement with him.” She finds value in poems that try to capture the fluid complexity of a moment of contact across species, rather than try to preserve an imagined essence of the animal in amber. She also defends the human imagination as something more powerful than we give it credit for. My favorite line from the book is her response to Thomas Nagel’s famous essay “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” Nagel insists that it’s impossible for a human to know the answer to his titular question. Costello rebuts: “If we are capable of thinking our own death, why on earth should we not be capable of thinking our way into the life of a bat?” I think it takes an effort of heart, more than mind, to follow her train of thought.

The novella reflects her resistance to the imperious voice of human reason—and her embrace of the messiness of the subjective imagination—on many levels. She’s uneasy at the bully pulpit, as was Coetzee himself. For the longest time I thought that the narrator was omniscient—an impersonal God figure aligned with Coetzee’s own position at that Princeton lectern. But then I read the novella again, preparing to teach it in a lit class where we were also reading Jane Austen. I realized that the narrator filters everything through the perspective of John Bernard, Costello’s son, who has a strange tendency to obsess over his mother’s body (paging Dr. Freud: “Her shoulders stoop; her flesh has grown flabby”) and profoundly ambivalent feelings about her. He is torn between sympathy and repulsion, connection and alienation. He is torn, also, between her perspective, which persuades him to an extent, and the perspective of his wife, Norma, a philosophy professor who loathes her and has no patience for her anti-rationalist message.

The question this novella raises is always that of its own construction: Why is it a novella in the first place? What does Coetzee communicate through fiction that he couldn’t have communicated through a polemic? I think the technique of focalization, which grounds everything in John’s perspective, shows us exactly what an abstract polemic about animals couldn’t: the impossibility of speaking from a position outside our embodiment, our emotions, our primordial and instinctual feelings toward kin. In other words, the impossibility of speaking about animals as though we were not animals ourselves.

Every time I read the book—definitely every time I teach it—the potentialities of its form grow in number. I find new rooms in the house of fiction that reveal how grand a mansion it is. I display it proudly, in the center of a bookshelf lined with animal books like Marian Engel’s Bear, Woolf’s Flush, J. R. Ackerley’s My Dog Tulip, Kafka’s stories, and John Berger’s Pig Earth. The shelf is my own version of my father’s menagerie, brimming with all manner of complex and contradictory creatures. All of them are representations, but that doesn’t make them feel any less real, or any less alive.

I regard my father with some of the ambivalence that John, the son in Coetzee’s story, feels toward his own mother and her thoughts on animals. But I encounter the creatures he left behind with warmth, solidarity, and hope."
via:timoslimo  jmcoetzee  multispecies  morethanhuman  senses  writing  howwewrite  language  whywewrite  fiction  animals  bodies  unachaudhuri  philosophy  elizabethbarrettbrowning  virginiawoolf  vincianedespret  animalrights  vickihearne  rainermariarilke  tedhughes  narration  thomasnagel  imagination  messiness  janeausten  perspective  novellas  kafka  johnberger  marianengel  jrackerley  hope  solidarity  communication  embodiment  emotions  persuasion  mattmargini  canon  books  reading  howweread  teaching  howweteach  farming  livestock  sensory  multisensory  animalstudies  poetry  poems  complexity  grief  literature  families  2019 
july 2019 by robertogreco
Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture
[via Anne Galloway re Spring 2015 issue (#31): Multispecies Intra-action]

"Antennae is a quarterly journal that invites participation in the animal studies debate by reframing mainstream perspectives on animals and humanism.

Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, was founded in September 2006 by Giovanni Aloi, a London-based lecturer in history of art and media studies. The Journal combines a heightened level of academic scrutiny of animals in visual culture, with a less formal and more experimental format designed to cross the boundaries of academic knowledge, in order to appeal to diverse audiences including artists and the general public alike.

Over its eight years of activity, Antennae has become an influential resource of academic relevance within the fast growing field of animal and environmental studies, acting as receiver and amplifier of relevant topics, as expressed by the connections between the subject of nature and the multidisciplinary field of visual culture. It grants wide accessibility to innovative and original academic material, providing a platform for an inclusive dialogue between a range of theorists, practitioners, and international audiences. It provides international exposure to contributors and artists in order to open the dialogue to a broader range of audience, and effectively supports the development of animal and environmental studies networks around the world by capitalising on a vast network of Global Contributors reporting from countries currently underrepresented in the animal and environmental studies debate.

The Journal contributes to raising awareness of the issues involved in the representation of the natural world in visual culture in order to open to reconsideration past and current approaches and methodologies, whilst informing artists’ work and establishing a dialogue between theoretical and practical spheres.



Antennae is currently recruiting a Team of Global Contributors to keep the journal informed with local realities concerning visual cultures and animals from around the world.



Antennae is curating submissions for upcoming issues focusing on the following topics:

• Animals/Nature and Film
• Bacteria
• Art and the Future of
Environmentalism/Conservationism
• Spiders and Animal Structures
• Animals and Sculpture
• Animals and Performance
• Animals and Photography

Submissions are open to visual arts, academic and non-academic texts."
animals  art  arts  nature  journals  multispecies  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  animalstudies  humanism  posthumanism 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Creaturely Poetics
"Simone Weil once wrote that “the vulnerability of precious things is beautiful because vulnerability is a mark of existence,” establishing a relationship between vulnerability, beauty, and existence transcending the separation of species. Her conception of a radical ethics and aesthetics could be characterized as a new poetics of species, forcing a rethinking of the body’s significance, both human and animal. Exploring the “logic of flesh” and the use of the body to mark species identity, Anat Pick reimagines a poetics that begins with the vulnerability of bodies, not the omnipotence of thought. Pick proposes a “creaturely” approach based on the shared embodiedness of humans and animals and a postsecular perspective on human-animal relations. She turns to literature, film, and other cultural texts, challenging the familiar inventory of the human: consciousness, language, morality, and dignity. Reintroducing Weil’s elaboration of such themes as witnessing, commemoration, and collective memory, Pick identifies the animal within all humans, emphasizing the corporeal and its issues of power and freedom. In her poetics of the creaturely, powerlessness is the point at which aesthetic and ethical thinking must begin."
books  animals  animalstudies  via:anne  anatpick  vulnerability  film  literature  toread  poetics  identity  speciesidentity  simoneweil  existence  power  freedom  humans  ethics  aesthetics  powerlessness 
december 2013 by robertogreco

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