The Edinburgh companion to animal studies 9781474418416, 1474418414

The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies critically investigates current topics and disciplines that are affected, enri

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The Edinburgh companion to animal studies
 9781474418416, 1474418414

Table of contents :
Introducing The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies / Lynn Turner, Undine Sellbach and Ron Broglio --
Abjection / Ruth Lipschitz --
Affection / Dominic Pettman --
Animation / Timothy Morton --
The Anthropocene / Kathryn Yusoff and Mary Thomas --
Art / Amanda Boetzkes --
Biopolitics / Rick Elmore --
Capitalism / Nicole Shukin --
Death / Dawne McCance --
Empathy / Kari Weil --
Ethics / Nicole Anderson --
Evolution / Thom van Dooren and Vinciane Despret --
Extinction / Matthew Chrulew and Rick De Vos --
Farming / Henry Buller --
Film / Laura McMahon --
Food / Lindsay Kelley --
Fragility / Claire Colebrook --
Friendship / Johnny Golding --
Genealogies / Matthew Calarco --
Homo Sapiens / David Wood --
Law / Yoriko Otomo --
Literature / Derek Ryan --
Meaning / Wendy Wheeler --
Microbes / Stefan Herbrechter --
Non-human Philosophy / John Ó. Maoilearca --
Performance / Undine Sellbach --
Poetics / Aaron Moe --
Posthumanism / Franklin Ginn --
Queer Theory / Carla Freccero --
Races / Christopher Peterson --
Religion / Danielle Sands --
Revolution / Ron Broglio --
Science Fiction / Sherryl Vint --
Technology / Richard Iveson --
Voice / Lynn Turner --
Afterword : who are these animals I am following? / Cary Wolfe.

Citation preview

The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies

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To the animals

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The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies

Edited by Lynn Turner, Undine Sellbach and Ron Broglio

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Edinburgh University Press is one of the leading university presses in the UK. We publish academic books and journals in our selected subject areas across the humanities and social sciences, combining cutting-edge scholarship with high editorial and production values to produce academic works of lasting importance. For more information visit our website: edinburghuniversitypress.com © editorial matter and organisation Lynn Turner, Undine Sellbach and Ron Broglio, 2018 © the chapters their several authors, 2018 Edinburgh University Press Ltd The Tun – Holyrood Road, 12(2f) Jackson’s Entry, Edinburgh EH8 8PJ Typeset in 10 / 12 Adobe Sabon by IDSUK (DataConnection) Ltd, and printed and bound in Great Britain. A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 1 4744 1841 6 (hardback) ISBN 978 1 4744 1842 3 (webready PDF) ISBN 978 1 4744 1843 0 (epub) The right of Lynn Turner, Undine Sellbach and Ron Broglio to be identified as the editors of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 (SI No. 2498).

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Contents

List of Illustrations Acknowledgements Introducing The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies Lynn Turner, Undine Sellbach and Ron Broglio

viii ix 1

1. Abjection Ruth Lipschitz

13

2. Affection Dominic Pettman

30

3. Animation Timothy Morton

42

4. The Anthropocene Kathryn Yusoff and Mary Thomas

52

5. Art Amanda Boetzkes

65

6. Biopolitics Rick Elmore

80

7. Capitalism Nicole Shukin

94

8. Death Dawne McCance

115

9. Empathy Kari Weil

126

10. Ethics Nicole Anderson

140

11. Evolution Thom van Dooren and Vinciane Despret

160

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vi

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12. Extinction Matthew Chrulew and Rick De Vos

181

13. Farming Henry Buller

198

14. Film Laura McMahon

215

15. Food Lindsay Kelley

232

16. Fragility Claire Colebrook

247

17. Friendship Johnny Golding

262

18. Genealogies Matthew Calarco

277

19. Homo Sapiens David Wood

292

20. Law Yoriko Otomo

307

21. Literature Derek Ryan

321

22. Meaning Wendy Wheeler

337

23. Microbes Stefan Herbrechter

354

24. Non-human Philosophy John Ó Maoilearca

367

25. Performance Undine Sellbach

380

26. Poetics Aaron Moe

397

27. Posthumanism Franklin Ginn

413

28. Queer Theory Carla Freccero

430

29. Races Christopher Peterson

444

30. Religion Danielle Sands

459

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31. Revolution Ron Broglio

475

32. Science Fiction Sherryl Vint

488

33. Technology Richard Iveson

504

34. Voice Lynn Turner

518

Afterword: Who Are These Animals I Am Following? Cary Wolfe

533

Notes on Contributors Index

546 553

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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Figure 1.1 Figure 4.1 Figure 4.2 Figure 4.3 Figure 4.4 Figure 5.1 Figure 5.2 Figure 5.3 Figure 15.1 Figure 15.2 Figure 19.1

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Jane Alexander, Security, Johannesburg Art Fair, 2009. Arnold and Arlene, Museum of Natural History, New York, 2016. Rear view of Arnold and Arlene, Museum of Natural History, New York, 2016. Bodies of Evidence, Museum of Natural History, New York, 2016. Beneath the Surface, Museum of Natural History, New York, 2016. Polly Morgan, Still Birth, Red, 2016. Kathy High, Embracing Animal, 2004–6. Pierre Huyghe, Zoodram 4, 2011. Silvia Celiberti, ‘Pig in the Garden’, The In Vitro Meat Cookbook. Oron Catts, Chris Salter, Devon Ward, Ionat Zurr, Futile Labor, 2015. Möbius strip.

14 57 58 59 60 71 73 76 237 240 304

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Acknowledgements

M

any thanks to all those making this volume possible: Edinburgh University Press for the commission; the contributors for their daring new work; artists Olly and Suzi for permission to reproduce their work on the cover; and the colleagues, known and unknown, who advised and refereed along the way.

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INTRODUCING THE EDINBURGH COMPANION TO ANIMAL STUDIES Lynn Turner, Undine Sellbach and Ron Broglio

Companion comes from the Latin cum panis, ‘with bread.’ Messmates at table are companions. Comrades are political companions. A companion in literary contexts is a vade mecum or handbook, like the Oxford Companion to wine or English verse; such companions help readers to consume well. (Donna J. Haraway)1

T

he invitation to edit a reference work under the heading of The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies immediately called to mind the influential work of Donna Haraway, broadly in light of her long-term development of the field and specifically in terms of her dilation of the name ‘companion’ and provocation as to what might constitute ‘companion species’. It is ironic that no one chapter became dedicated to it. Rather, this vexatious, intriguing, capacious term infected the book overall, directly inflecting numerous chapters from ‘Ethics’ to ‘Empathy’ to ‘Microbes’ to ‘Science Fiction’, provoking a wide range of responses as to what ‘company’ might entail, speaking to our editorial process and prompting the opening thoughts of this introduction.

A Study Tigers may not want to break bread with us, or keep our conspicuous company around a literal table (while they may be constrained to do so in the spectacular hothouse of the zoo, as in Bonnie Ora Sherk’s Public Lunch performance, discussed in the chapter on ‘Food’). Nevertheless, we are unavoidably ‘companions’ in Haraway’s sense quoted in our epigraph, ‘becoming-with’ others in diverse and unexpected ways. For our opening foray we turn to a particular tiger. Black Tiger is an animal study made by expedition-based artist duo Olly and Suzi in one of the tiger reserves of Uttar Pradesh in India during 1998. A large sheet of paper is held up, like a banner to be photographed. Black ink runs in varied densities across the sheet of paper, settling into the outline of a tiger ambling along. The narrow rim between the paper and photograph edge exposes glimpses of sand, sky, buildings, trees, grass and the distant outline of a man. This is possibly one of the trackers who helped the artists follow this tiger, not to hunt, but in order to paint her picture. Hands on either side of the drawing bear it aloft, making sure that it is seen. The tiger is walking head down, tail curled, belly digesting. If her coat has stripes, they are obscured. Her painted legs, poised to leave paw prints in the sand, are cropped by the bottom edge of the paper.

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We chose Black Tiger as our cover image for The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies to mark the urgency of finding ways to tell, picture and follow the lives of animals in the global context of habitat loss, extinction and the animal industrial complex driven by capitalism. The title used by the artists does not refer to a species or subspecies of tiger, but to the coloration produced by pseudo-melanism, which disperses the familiar pattern and solidity of stripes. This is an effect thought to be produced by inbreeding due to the restricted gene pools of now depleted populations. While numbers of Bengal Tigers are today increasing due to conservation efforts, they remain listed as endangered.2 That is to say, they are at serious risk of extinction in the foreseeable future. When this volume was commissioned the World Wildlife Fund had already announced that the world had lost half of all wildlife over the last forty years, a petrifying rate with dismal prognosis for remotely recognisable multispecies futures.3 Writing this introduction in early 2017, the precarity of the hard-won protections fought for by animal and environmental activists and agencies is only too palpable. The 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) momentarily secured a ‘better late than never’ commitment to keeping global warming to below 2° above pre-industrial levels. However, the Paris Agreement now falters after the world’s largest economy has seen the election of a new President who has noisily suggested backing out of this Agreement, even dismissing its premises as a ‘hoax’.4 No one can seriously imagine that such climate change denial is a failure to understand science that might be solved by a plainer explanation. Clearly it is a wilful refusal to acknowledge thinking and practices that challenge the embedding of private profit in multinational corporate interests, frequently identified with fossil fuel industries. Held up like a banner, Black Tiger can be read as a call to activism, a rallying point to draw in new publics. But the suspended paper is also a subtle membrane between diverse ecologies, expanding potential sites of political action by bringing various edges – disjunctions, infestations, exposures and collaborations – to the fore. These uncertain pictorial edges are often edited out when we represent or address animals, but they have become pressing for animal studies scholarship, given the entangled ways that different lives – animal and otherwise – come to matter. In the process of writing this collaborative account of Black Tiger we find ourselves fielding what counts as the coordinates of the picture beyond its visible borders. Only too frequently in the Western cultural imaginary our relation with and to animals has primarily been one of definite borders, distancing and denial. A critical activity of framing and reframing denaturalises dominant ways of seeing and scaling animals, bringing into focus kinships, stories, affects and dependencies that may otherwise be elided. Building on an extensive tradition of animal studies scholarship, this is one of the important undertakings of this volume. But the narrow field between paper and photographic edge, and the ambiguous script of the tiger’s gut are also reminders of the many ecological relations entangling animal and human lives. These relations are often too tiny or vast, ubiquitous or singular, subliminal, multiple or discordant to be studied through one lens, or to register as familiar sentient states or attunements.5 Thus a second provocation of this Companion, always made in conjunction with the first, is for animal studies to cultivate new kinds of peripheral attention, improvised imagination, interdisciplinary diplomacy and interspecies company.

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Anticipating the perhaps surprising number of excursions that this Companion makes into rethinking who we – humans – take ourselves to be in relation to other animals, our focus is drawn to the top of the image. Here the two hands that hold the Black Tiger drawing visibly belong to two different people. Metonymically, the implied bodies of Olly and Suzi extend the horizontal plane of this picture beyond its apprehensible structure of a frame within a frame, a drawing within a photograph. Wrong-footing our classically centralised viewing position, the specific crop of this image also suggests a back and forth movement of other vantage points. On the left in the less focused distance stands an Indian man, possibly the former hunter turned conservationist Billy Arjan Singh, who worked with a team of trackers helping the artists follow this tiger.6 Artists, paper, photographer and the viewer’s implied presence are all in his line of sight. We understand that the two artists that sign this work are formalised as a duo, but hands and gaze tease the scene out further in diverging directions. Each instance of Olly and Suzi documenting a work in the manner staged in Black Tiger also incorporates the artists’ hands. This is plausible in terms of the practicality of documenting on-location work – for which there may be various time or environmental pressures. It also performs an idiosyncratic signature, echoing the more conventionally inscribed one on the bottom left of the drawing. While another style of practice by these artists allows for their works to be touched by (and marked by) the animals that they picture, in this instance painted paws do not make an impression.7 However, as with documentation showing the duo at work, together, two-handedly at once on the same drawing, the figure of the artist wrought by Olly and Suzi is itself faintly unsettling. Their showing or monstration of difference gestures away from the privilege given to ‘the hand’ as synecdoche for the autonomous individual in the imaginary of the human.8 In the periphery between the edge of the drawing and its setting within the photograph, the multiple hands in play in the making of this work are set within a larger ecology of semiotic, economic, atmospheric, built, botanic, geologic, colonial and technological relations. Within the drawing, ink patterns dissolve in landscape-like and even cosmic configurations: ground and sky swirl. The singularity of this tiger is also a contact zone for other affinities across macro and micro foci. Across the tiger’s belly, a broad line zig-zags in a style both inscriptive and intestinal, conjuring up feline physiology. Again the surface of the paper also implies a depth, in this case a belly as a point of commonality between living entities. Yet this most intimate inside is also an ‘outside’, insofar as the biological workings of all bodies and their microbial collaborations are often known and felt indirectly.

Assembly We understand the Companion to speak to both senses of the ‘critical’. As one of our contributors, Dawne McCance, has made plain, it summons both the tradition of critical thought, of discernment and interpretation, and the sense of a world in crisis.9 These two senses combine to bring perhaps surprising case studies to attention under the heading of a Companion to Animal Studies. Critical attention to the edges invokes the influential thought of Jacques Derrida and especially the play of what he calls limitrophy, a notion that is affirmed directly and indirectly by numerous contributors

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to this collection. Developed in particular in his posthumous book The Animal That Therefore I Am, limitrophy offers a cultivation of differences that grow rather than the more habitual models that restrict differences to that between discrete entities (whether there are two or a thousand) or entrench the limit as a categorical line in the sand.10 In the case of the historically and philosophically assumed division between human and animal, this does not mean swapping a clean and hierarchical distinction for a flat equivalence. Nor does it necessarily lead to abandoning the seemingly insurmountable difference between humans and other animals: instead this abyss itself becomes a thickened site of cultivation. In this light, with Derrida, we ask ‘[w]hat are the edges of a limit that grows and multiplies by feeding on an abyss?’11 A commodious diet such as that evoked by ‘feeding on an abyss’ means that of necessity contributors to this Companion pose the ‘question of the animal’ in a range of ways. When Edinburgh University Press solicited the Companion in 2014, we were invited to go beyond simply commissioning new essays with an animal focus.12 The Press strongly encouraged a volume that might generate future research by anticipating or provoking the kinds of strategies, modes or directions that need to come into play. It was already clear that the flourishing international and interdisciplinary scholarship in animal studies now meant that this question was frequently identified as something on the agenda in arenas far beyond a narrow specialism.13 Over the last twenty years or so, numerous international publishers have dramatically expanded their lists to include animal studies (Palgrave, Brill, Minnesota, Columbia, Bloomsbury, Rodopi, Sydney and Edinburgh, to indicate some of the most obvious and Anglophone examples). Casual invocation of the concept of ‘the animal’, however, would be to repeat the problem if we fail to realise the performative work it undertakes. This violently false singular ‘corrals’ all non-human animals within the concept, in the attempt to defend against any limitrophic leeway.14 It is inseparable as a gesture from the elevation of ‘the human’ as an absolutely separate and exceptional being. At its unreflective worst, the concept of ‘the animal’ effectively licenses a death sentence for those so described, as Derrida argues in the context of normative ethical divisions between a ‘who’ and a ‘what’ with its consequent disregard for any ethical, political or juridical responsibility towards the latter.15 In other words, a ‘what’ is not a subject before the law and thus, in the extreme instance, cannot be murdered. It is clear that this performative corral called ‘the animal’ can be applied to other humans such as those we call criminals and those we call enemies, as well as to animals under the cover of what Derrida critically identifies as a ‘non-criminal putting to death’.16 Neither would it suffice to simply contrast ethological endeavour with theoretical opining. David Wood acutely observed that the now famous morning scene between Derrida and a little cat draws on an ‘uncanny’ strength precisely because of the way in which it reveals the quotidian and the philosophical as inextricably embedded (rather than because a philosopher suddenly acknowledged the world).17 In more over-arching terms, the question of the animal has spurred a thoroughgoing reimagining of the humanism in the humanities as such and the opening of paths to a posthumanism and a posthumanities. The theoretical writing of Cary Wolfe, as well as that which he has supported as a prolific editor, has significantly encouraged this path.18 As Wolfe emphasises, the critical opening signalled by the prefix ‘post-’ does not supersede the ‘human’ with something greater, nor is it a matter of simply adding ‘the animal’ to lists of existing humanities topics. Neither is posthumanism

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content with a mere ‘decentring’ of the human, whether by ‘evolutionary, ecological or technological co-ordinates’.19 We must also ask after ‘what thought has to become in the face of such challenges’, that is, how the practice of animal studies itself might be transformed.20 Many of the contributors to this volume share in these moves, not least the necessity for a rapprochement between the humanities and the sciences, even if they may not – cannot – narrowly cohere around a settled aim, as the chapter directly devoted to ‘Posthumanism’ in the Companion explores. Perhaps there was something of a giddy encyclopaedic ambition at the idea of the breadth of scholarship that could be mobilised for a Companion to Animal Studies. Such an ambition might well have put pressure on the girth of the hardcopy. Yet the volume is tempered with the knowledge, and the ethical good, of the constitutive impossibility of any such encyclopaedia or ‘God’s eye view’. The organisation of the chapters then submits to the formality of alphabetisation, but without forming a totalising ‘A to Z’, whether of animals, authors or approaches. Nevertheless, in setting to work on commissioning chapters for The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies, there were a number of topics and questions that we definitely wanted authors to engage. Inviting responses to named thematics allowed for ways of thinking about a multitude of species and singular animals. Themes such as evolution, geography, abjection, meaning (including biosemiotics) and death are invoked in various ways in myriad animal lives. Some chapters reflect on how animals have been understood and subsumed within culture that is assumed to be human, such as those on Art, Film, or Literature. Others, such as Voice, Meaning, Poetics or Performance, trouble the assumption that creative play is unique to human life and distinct from the realms of instinct and nature. And, taking a larger view of the scholarly field, there are chapters that reflect upon systems of thought and representation. The latter expand the company of theoretical sources to which animal studies has turned to date well beyond those most evidently shaping this introduction (Haraway, Derrida, Wolfe). Other frames of thought given attention here include object-oriented ontology; the ‘non-philosophy’ of François Laruelle; play according to Brian Massumi; the polymathic anthropology of Gregory Bateson; psychoanalysis from Sigmund Freud to Julia Kristeva; the Umwelt of biologist Jakob von Uexküll; Michel Foucault’s technology of care; and the Amerindian perspectivism of Eduardo Vivieros de Castro. Sometimes our negotiations with authors resulted in surprising alternatives that developed into theoretically arresting work (such as the concept of ‘Fragility’, or the focus on extremophiles in the chapter on ‘Technology’). Sometimes we had to check the enthusiasm of our contributors predominantly clustering around emerging objects of attention: in 2015 and 2016 many animal studies scholars wanted to turn either to microbes or to plants (‘Microbes’ has a dedicated chapter; plants are addressed specifically in the ‘Races’ chapter).21 These two examples give a sense of the intellectual thirst for new species to think in collaboration with. More affirmatively, they demonstrate the extent to which the shakedown of the once considered hard and fast human/animal distinction demands that all our categories – and their relations with one another – need be reimagined. As several chapters in the Companion powerfully argue, by drawing on Indigenous studies scholars ranging from Eduardo Vivieros de Castro to Kim TallBear and Deborah Bird Rose, this re-imagination is not primarily a matter of ‘discovering’ new trajectories in Western thinking. Rather it should begin by acknowledging the rich

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ontologies of relation opened up by Indigenous and other non-Western cultures. On the one hand, this necessitates a critique of the narrowness of the ‘we’ that is supposed whenever ‘the human’ is evoked. On the other, it entails an openness on the part of a Western-dominated animal studies tradition, to learn from diverse non-Western philosophies of kinship, care and political struggle. More broadly, for many of the authors collected in the Companion, genealogies of animal studies need to recognise their imbrication with, and enrichment by, the political struggles of the global south, race, class and colonialism and feminism, rather than focusing narrowly on competing Western ‘analytic’ and ‘continental’ ethical traditions. The urgency of relating our entanglement with other living and non-living agencies in ways that do not elide these diverse struggles is given specific focus in the chapter on the recently named geological period of the Anthropocene, a naming that awards this unified concept planet determining proportions.22

Composures At the time of writing the sacrificial logic of ‘the animal’, in tandem with a misogynist’s charter, was enshrined anew after a film exposing a crude discussion of the sexual benefits of fame failed to derail the 2016 presidency campaign of the man who is now leader of the free world. The infamous boast that he could ‘Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything’ positioned women as animal-like through the domesticated fetish of the term ‘pussy’.23 In ways that recall Carol Adams’s work on what she named the ‘sexual politics of meat’, this reduction of women to ‘pussy’ delivers an efficiently abbreviated licence for assault.24 A part (pussy) stands for the whole (women), while that part is already transposed into a diminutive pet whose sole attribute is that it can be ‘grabbed’. In a single gesture, women and animals are divested of agency and legal protection. The term also doubles as a derogatory term of feminisation aimed at men, who, outside of a heteronormative model, are construed to be weak – to be ‘pussies’. This only underlines the investment that virile, masculinist formations of subjectivity have in repudiating what they call feminine as well as what they call animal.25 In more hospitable figural activity, ‘pussy’ became the resignified figure of agential resistance through which the 2017 Women’s March convened protest against the erosion of social justice, not least reproductive justice, under the new president.26 Many protestors visualised this resignification by wearing hand-knitted pink ‘pussy hats’, a crafty flourish that could be made identical neither with the feminine nor the feline but which fostered resistant kin across the world.27 The erosion of social justice currently taking place in the United States also explicitly extends to the lives of animals when the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) removes public access to any of its tens of thousands of documents regarding animal welfare.28 This is not a minor infraction in the scheme of things – such documents refer to regulations regarding practices in research laboratories, slaughterhouses and zoos. Nor is it to overly dwell on the example so prominently offered by the United States at this time. Rather, this recent example points to the systemic capacity for capitalism to privilege the expedience of private profit over any concept of care or responsibility to present and future generations, where those generations are understood to necessarily extend far beyond the human.

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Yet there are also hopeful shifts taking place, resisting the reduction of animals and their environments to commodities that are consumed or managed. In stark contrast to the ongoing struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe against the routing of the North Dakota oil pipeline under the Missouri river reservoir,29 the Whanganui river in Aotearoa New Zealand has recently been awarded the status of a living entity.30 The latter change in the law was the outcome of a 140-year battle by the people of the Māori tribe of Whanganui in the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand, to have the river that they name Te Awa Tupa recognised as their ancestor. This ruling has been closely followed by changes in India, where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers have been awarded the status of legal persons. The practical implementation of these new laws is not yet tested. However, they open an avenue to hold individuals, companies and government bodies accountable for direct harm to rivers and their tributaries, as well as the larger nature-culture entanglements they encompass. Such cases could be mounted by the rivers’ appointed guardians, which in the Aotearoa New Zealand context would be a representative of the crown and representative of the Whanganui iwi. These recent legal changes bring to the fore tensions that the expanded field of Animals Studies represented in this volume might productively address. On the one hand, the title of ‘legal person’ recognises the importance of ecological systems that sustain diverse animal and human ways of living, as ‘legal identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person’.31 But on the other, this is articulated via a legal discourse that takes highly Western anthropocentric understandings of subjectivity, rights and obligations, entrenched in the category ‘legal person’, and extends these to animals and environments. Given the closely related status of corporations as ‘legal persons’,32 we might ask if the price of giving ecological entities such as a rivers a legal voice is another extension of the apparatus of capitalism. To conclude only with this critical stance would be to miss how the authority of such legal changes relies not simply on the precedent of existing legal concepts, but on the hard-fought recognition of Indigenous and other non-Western worldviews. This is particularly palpable in New Zealand, where the authority to change the law is based on the Whanganui iwi’s understanding of rivers, mountains and their diverse living inhabitants enmeshed in co-constituting kinship relationships. According to Gerrard Albert, their lead negotiator: We have fought to find an approximation in law so that all others can understand that from our perspective treating the river as a living entity is the correct way to approach it, as in indivisible whole, instead of the traditional model for the last 100 years of treating it from a perspective of ownership and management.33 Importantly, by calling the term ‘living entity’ an ‘approximation’, Gerrard makes visible the implicated, strategic nature of these changes, while simultaneously pointing to the rich ontologies of relation they draw upon, as rich sites of resistance to capitalism and its dominant human-centred imaginaries. These examples resonate with our concerns here. In the case of the Te Awa Tupa river, caring for animals is not primarily framed as a matter of securing the rights of individuals, but rather emerges through a commitment to the larger ecology of diverse animalenvironment, nature-culture entanglements. As many authors in the Companion argue, this expansion should never be a matter of replacing one territory of academic production

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with the next. In an era when many hard-fought protections for animals are being eroded, finding ways to acknowledge other animals as sentient subjects, socially, legally and imaginatively, remains urgent. So for example, the project to grant Great Apes legal and social recognition on the basis that they are ‘like us’ remains pressing.34 But at the same time, the field of animal studies is provoked to articulate new understandings of care, co-constitution, alterity and responsibility and feeling, which are not firmly anchored in notions of ‘sentience’ and ‘subjectivity’ as they are commonly construed. Indeed, if we are to imagine futures other than or beyond the lethal fiction of autonomy staked out by capitalism, then such futures lie in the reconfiguration of what it means to dwell with other species, and thus, by necessity, with larger ecological and geological affections. In a number of recent works, philosopher Isabelle Stengers has taken on this challenge of imagining the future differently within the inheritance of Western culture. In Capitalist Sorcery she reconceives of the capitalist system not as a matter of legal personhood but under a different frame – that of magic.35 We have been entranced by the market’s invisible hand, the magic of the commodity fetish and the sorcery they weave. The challenge is to create counter-spells that allow us to slow down and think, with humans and non-humans affected by the way we live. Stengers’s rallying cry that another world is possible is taken up further in her work, In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism, where she pits big science wed to big business against an economy and ecology of the commons.36 At the same time, Stengers invokes Gaia as ‘the one who resists’.37 We have for too long taken the earth for granted as a stable support for our actions. But our actions have awoken the name Gaia as one who will interrupt and whose ‘blind and implacable transcendence . . . questions our own tales and refrains’.38 Stengers asks us to learn to tell other tales, ‘neither apocalyptic nor messianic ones, tales which entail what Donna Haraway calls response-ability: accepting that what we add makes a difference in the world and becoming able to answer for the manner of this difference’.39 We hope readers will find such tales and response-ability in this volume – ones called out of us by the other animals upon this earth, and by Gaia.

‘With’ and ‘After’ By way of conclusion, Haraway’s work provides us with another rich figure to speak to other futures. Insisting on the earthiness of the living, she reminds us of the etymological humus in the human and invokes the shifting decomposing material that is compost: ‘We are compost, not posthuman; we inhabit the humusities, not the humanities.’40 The humour, even nerdiness, of the figure is an only partly tongue-in-cheek affirmation of the compost with which, and in which, living things compose and decompose. If it has a faintly ridiculous air, this perhaps counters the varied reception of the crucially ironic tone of her earlier ‘cyborg’ figuration, and concern over the domestication of ‘companion species’ into ‘companion animals’.41 Compost shifts the frame to scales and temporalities that cannot be constrained to anthropocentric foci: from microbes in the soil to the layering of geological time. It reframes the conversation away from our accustomed political stratifications of the earth into national borders (lines drawn in the sand) towards a geopolitics of Gaia, that is, the ‘complex systemic phenomena that compose a living planet’.42 Here geological biospheres, rather than only nations, organise ways of dwelling and thriving for humans and other animals. In 1970 Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison created a compost pile as an artwork in Making Earth, which was a work of sand, sewage sludge, leaf material and

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chicken, cow and horse manure. The work focused on the alchemical wonder of transformation for the future. As Newton Harrison explains, ‘The mixture combines with time, and our touch, becoming literally a living element, a medium for growth.’43 The art became a way of thinking with the earth, and in order to maintain the work Newton carried out daily tasks: ‘Every morning I spend ten minutes of my time with a shovel, ten with a hoe, ten with my hands – and one minute with a hose.’44 These basic rituals and contact with making topsoil, including the touch and smell of the compost, created a patterned ecosystem serving as a reflection on larger ecologies and our daily habits. This year (2017), the Harrisons have again taken up composting, now with a work called Composting in the Pentagon with Worm Tailings. They see it as a call to pay attention to the ruthless exploitation of the life web.45 The Harrisons offer the alternative of putting our efforts back into the earth. The Pentagon shape, of course, echoes that of the US military headquarters and questions where we are placing our priorities. Compost is a politics of the earth with a vision of the morethan-human world. We might hear yet other senses surfacing in the compost. Given Haraway’s insistence on the with-ness of the companion as com-panis, we might wilfully hear com and post as the spatial and temporal markers ‘with’ and ‘after’. ‘Compost’ thus exacerbates the unknown quality of our becoming-with others in a state of change in a helpful way. Compost dissuades readers from the sometimes romantic, sometimes naïve and often too narrow view that we are immediately in contact with those we call companions (a misapprehension that disregards all those beyond human purview, elides the asymmetrical relations of those who we do know to be ‘at the table’ and indulges in an anthropomorphic timescale of that which is ‘present-to-hand’). Instead, ‘compost’ makes the discontinuous make-up of diverse animal lives, including our own, a little easier to apprehend. Being both ‘with’ and ‘after’ speaks also to the composition of this Companion as we three editors communicated between the divergent time zones, terrains, seasons and the ever more divergent climates of the UK, the US and Australia, composting at different speeds and intensities.46 Even the desert of Arizona composts, while London ferments, and in Sydney humidity liquefies. April 2017 London, Sydney, Phoenix

Notes 1. Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2008), p. 17. 2. Vidya Venkat, ‘Big Cat Population up by 690’, The Hindu Times, 8 September 2016, (accessed 28 August 2017). 3. Christine Dell’Amore, ‘Has Half of World’s Wildlife Been Lost in Past 40 Years?’ National Geographic News, 2 October 2014, (accessed 28 August 2017). For the current report see (accessed 28 August 2017). 4. Tom Batchelor, ‘Trump “Will Definitely Pull Out of Paris Climate Change Deal”’, The Independent, 30 January 2017, (accessed 28 August 2017).

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5. See Undine Sellbach and Stephen Loo, ‘Insects and Other Minute Perceptions in the Baroque House’, in Hannah Starke and Jonathan Roffe (eds), Deleuze and the Non/Human (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), pp. 103–21. 6. See the instagram feed of Olly and Suzi, (accessed 28 August 2017). 7. Discussed in Ron Broglio, Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2011). 8. See Jacques Derrida, ‘Heidegger’s Hand: Geschlecht II’, trans. John P. Leavey Jr. and Elizabeth Rottenberg, in Peggy Kamuf and Elizabeth G. Rottenberg (eds), Psyche: Inventions of the Other, vol. 2 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008 [1987]), pp. 27–62. 9. Dawne McCance, Critical Animal Studies: An Introduction (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2013), pp. 4–5. 10. Limitrophy is developed across Derrida’s work. See Lynn Turner, ‘Insect Asides’, in Turner (ed.), The Animal Question in Deconstruction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013), pp. 54–69. 11. Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am, ed. Marie-Louise Mallet, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), p. 31. 12. Concurrent with this Companion, Edinburgh also commissioned an introduction to the field – one exhibiting a complexity indicative of the maturity and volume of scholarship to date. See Derek Ryan, Animal Theory: A Critical Introduction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015). 13. Cary Wolfe advocated for this thoroughgoing necessity in 2003; see his Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2003), p. 7. 14. Derrida, Animal, p. 32. 15. See Jacques Derrida, ‘“Eating Well” or the Calculation of the Subject’, trans. Peter Connor and Avital Ronell, in Elizabeth Weber (ed.), Points . . . Interviews 1974–1994 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995 [1988]), p. 282. 16. Derrida, ‘“Eating Well”’, p. 280. 17. David Wood, ‘Thinking with Cats’, in Matthew Calarco and Peter Atterton (eds), Animal Philosophy: Essential Readings in Continental Thought (London: Continuum, 2004), p. 132. 18. Wolfe’s ‘Posthumanities’ series, published by Minnesota University Press, has not only published numerous North American scholars, but importantly it has included translations of works by European authors such as Jakob von Uexküll, Michel Serres, Elizabeth de Fontenay, Vinciane Despret, Vilem Flusser and Louis Bec. 19. Cary Wolfe, ‘Introduction’, in his What is Posthumanism? (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2010), p. xvi. 20. Ibid. 21. Prompted by such luminous publications as Myra J. Hird, The Origins of Sociable Life: Evolution after Science Studies (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009) and Michael Marder, Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013). 22. See Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, Will Stefen and Paul Cruzen, ‘The New World of the Anthropocene’ Environment, Science and Technology 44:7 (2010), pp. 2228–31. 23. Penn Bullock, ‘Transcript: Donald Trump’s Taped Comments about Women’, The New York Times, 8 October 2016, (accessed 28 August 2017). 24. Carol Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (London: Bloomsbury, 2015 [1990]). 25. This is the conclusion of both Derrida and Adams. See Derrida, ‘“Eating Well”’, p. 281; Adams, Sexual Politics, p. xix.

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26. Emily Tamkin and Robert Gramer, ‘The Women’s March Heard Round the World’, Foreign Policy, 21 January 2017, (accessed 28 August 2017). 27. ‘“Pussyhat” Knitters Join Long Tradition of Crafty Activism’, BBC News, 19 January 2017, (accessed 28 August 2017). 28. Meredith Wadman, ‘USDA Blacks Out Animal Welfare Information’, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 3 February 2017, (accessed 28 August 2017). 29. This is looking bleak under the new presidency; see Associated Press in Washington, ‘Dakota Access Pipeline: Appeals Court Refuses Tribes’ Request to Stop Oil Flow’, The Guardian, 18 March 2017, (accessed 28 August 2017). See also ‘North Dakota’s “Water Protectors” Bring Their Pipeline Story to Film’, Reuters, 21 April 2017, (accessed 28 August 2017). 30. According to Chris Finlayson, the minister for the treaty of Waitangi negotiations, the decision has brought the longest-running litigation in New Zealand’s history to an end: ‘Te Awa Tupua will have its own legal identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person.’ According to Eleanor Ainge Roy: ‘The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees no differentiation between harming the tribe or harming the river because they are one and the same.’ See her ‘New Zealand River Granted Same Legal Rights as Human Being’, The Guardian, 16 March 2017, (accessed 28 August 2017). See also Michael Safi, ‘Ganges and Yamuna Rivers Granted Same Legal Rights as Human Beings’, The Guardian, 21 March 2017, (accessed 28 August 2017). 31. Roy, ‘New Zealand River Granted Same Legal Rights as Human Being’. 32. See Oxford Living Dictionaries, (accessed 28 August 2017). 33. Ibid. 34. See Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer (eds), The Great Ape Project: Equality Beyond Humanity (New York: St Martin’s Griffin, 1993) and the recent film Unlocking the Cage, dir. Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker (USA: HBO Documentary Films and Pennebaker Hegedus Films, 2016). 35. Philippe Pignarre and Isabelle Stengers, Capitalist Sorcery: Breaking the Spell, trans. Andrew Goffey (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). 36. Isabelle Stengers, In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism, trans. Andrew Goffey (London: Open Humanities Press, 2015). 37. Isabelle Stengers, ‘Gaia, the Urgency to Think (and Feel)’, in Os Mil Nomes De Gaia, , p. 5 (accessed 28 August 2017). 38. Ibid. 39. Ibid. pp. 7–8. 40. Donna J. Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016), p. 97. See also Donna J. Haraway, Manifestly Haraway (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2016), p. 261. 41. See Donna J. Haraway, The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People and Significant Otherness (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003), p. 11, and Haraway, Manifestly Haraway, p. 211.

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42. Haraway, Staying with the Trouble, p. 43. 43. Newton Harrison, quoted in Amanda Boetzkes, ‘Techniques of Survival: The Harrisons and the Environmental Counterculture’, in Elissa Auther and Adam Lerner (eds), West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965–1977 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), pp. 306–23, p. 311. 44. Ibid. 45. Leah Ollman, ‘Environmental Warning as Art Exhibition: The Harrisons at Various Small Fires’, Los Angeles Times, 17 February 2017, (accessed 28 August 2017). 46. In 2013 Australia added a new colour to its meteorological map to account for the then new level of extreme heat in some areas. At the time of writing most of the country has been coloured purple. See Narjas Zatat, ‘It’s So Hot in Australia That They’ve Had to Use Purple on Their Weather Maps’, Indy100, 11 February 2017 (accessed 28 August 2017.)

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1 Abjection Ruth Lipschitz

We may call it a border; abjection is above all ambiguity. (Julia Kristeva)1 Abjection has effects on real bodies: abjection hurts. (Imogen Tyler)2

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his chapter addresses the question of the animal in Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection in relation to an installation by South African artist Jane Alexander, Security (Johannesburg 2009).3 Perhaps best known internationally for her chilling sculpture The Butcher Boys (1985), which was produced at the height of apartheid’s repressive and brutal State of Emergency, Alexander’s hybrid interspecies figures and mixed media installations are useful to think through the question of abjection in relation to animal studies, since her aesthetic locates radical alterity and ethical relating at the threshold of species difference. My aim is to set out how what is called ‘Animal’ is both foundational to, and at stake in, Alexander’s Security and abjection’s psychoanalytic framing and its social operation. I build on and extend Kelly Oliver’s insightful analysis of the ways in which Kristevan abjection is rooted in a notion of contagion that requires the sacrifice of real animal kinship, and consider the ways in which Alexander’s installation takes up Kristeva’s remark on abjection’s ambiguity.4 As Kristeva writes in her Powers of Horror, abjection is inextricably tied to both the setting up of a bounded limit and to its ambiguity. Yet if, as Kristeva proclaims, abjection is indeed ‘above all ambiguity’, then it is an ambiguity that must, too, trouble the so-called ‘necessity’ of sacrificial animal violence which she finds is crucial to abjection’s process of identity formation. My argument takes Kristeva’s pronouncement of a vexing ambiguity at abjection’s core seriously, and it does so in the light of Imogen Tyler’s recent work on abjection. In an article on abjection and its maternal violence, Tyler calls for a sociopolitical and contingent reading of that which Kristeva’s theory of abjection elides: what it means to be made abject, or, as Tyler puts it, ‘to be interpellated as abject animal (less than human)’.5 In this chapter, then, I explore the problematic of that which is ontologised as abject animal or, to borrow from Jacques Derrida, as that empty abstraction ‘Animal’, and do so in relation to the ambiguity that stalks every threshold. My reading of the animal question in abjection takes place in a South African post-apartheid context where the very question of ‘necessity’ turns the exclusion of that which is called ‘Animal’ into the exemplary site for an animalised and racialised xenophobic violence.

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Figure 1.1 Jane Alexander, Security (2009), Johannesburg Art Fair, 2009. Professional guards; oil painted fibreglass Bird (2006). Components: double diamond mesh fence; razor wire; steel; earth; germinating/growing/dying wheat; 1000 machetes; 1000 sickles; 1000 used South African workers’ gloves. Photograph: Mark Lewis. © J. Alexander/DALRO.

Abjection and Animal Studies My alignment of abjection, post-apartheid xenophobia and the ‘less than human’, as Tyler puts it, proposes that the abject animal is the overlooked core of the nexus of race, poverty, anger and despair that fuels South African xenophobia, or what Andile Mngxitama calls ‘Afrophobia’.6 While Mngxitama’s diagnosis makes explicit the racial bias that is often denied in official accounts of xenophobic attacks, the notion of this anti-immigrant violence as African-centred is a politically controversial one.7 This is especially so given that the violence directed at fellow Africans (and at South Africans mistaken as ‘foreigners’) by impoverished black South Africans in their communities takes place against the history of support and hospitality that other African countries offered to South African anti-apartheid organisations during apartheid.8 More than that though, his words point towards the reason an analysis of abjection matters in a theoretical compendium about animal studies: to describe the violence done to bodies made foreign as ‘Afrophobic’ is, in effect, to call attention to the persistence in the present of colonial and apartheid racism’s longstanding intrication of race and abject animality. What makes racism’s expulsion of the abject other in order to consolidate self-identity so telling for animal studies is that the status of ‘the Animal’ in this operation is not simply a metaphor for dehumanisation.9 Rather, to reiterate my second

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epigraph, ‘abjection hurts’, and it hurts those bodies made ‘Animal’, regardless of their species, precisely because of the debased, objectified and nullified mode of speciesbeing ‘Animal’ encapsulates. In Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to be Human, Oliver develops her extensive oeuvre on Kristeva to address how the psychoanalytic process of abjection both disavows human animality and repudiates kinship with animals.10 Oliver’s point is that Kristevan abjection ultimately recuperates the anthropocentric organisation of a human-non-human animal divide through her use of animals as placeholders for abjected human drives: primarily, the infant’s or the ‘not-yet’ subject’s dependence on the maternal body. Since Kristeva aligns the animal with the mother or the maternal body, and since human subjectivity comes into being in Kristeva’s argument through the abjection of the maternal and the embrace of the symbolic Law of the Father, Oliver argues that ‘[i]n Kristeva’s writings, animals are symbols through which humans become speaking beings’.11 In other words, as Oliver so succinctly writes, in Kristeva’s thinking on abjection, as in psychoanalysis more generally, ‘animals become nothing more than human byproducts’.12 The symbolic, and thus anthropocentric, recuperation of animals’ bodies is inflected slightly differently when abjection’s animal other is staged in a racialised socio-cultural context. The interaction of abjection, race and animality in contemporary South Africa gains its currency, much like Alexander’s art, through the slippage of the human and non-human animal hierarchy. This zoometaphoric ambiguity co-implicates literal and figurative violence so that the abject animal offers not simply a screen for the projection of a political logic of decay, disobedience and contamination, but a localised devalued corporeality upon which to exercise the violent reinstitution of order: the body of the animal parasite or scavenger, conflated with and made over into ‘the Animal’. For example, in the recent outbreak of anti-immigrant violence in March and April 2015, African foreigners were reportedly likened to an infestation of head lice and ticks that required removal by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini (a comparison he later denied).13 When survivors of the orchestrated, nationwide and primarily Afrophobic xenophobic riots of May 2008 reported that they were treated ‘like animals’14 and ‘hunted like dogs’,15 they invoked not only the rhetorical trope ‘the Animal’ but the very embodiment of a disavowed animality upon which the active reinscription of securely masculinised national subjectivity may be written. Indeed, in the zoometaphorics and zoometonymics of South-African-style abjection, it matters which animals are made to embody ‘the Animal’: both parasites and scavengers feed into an imagery of plague, pestilence and contagion from which the black body of the foreigner, whether impoverished, undocumented or illegal, or documented and legal, is inextricable. As Luis Bernado Honwana’s novella ‘We killed Mangy-Dog’ (1967) and Njabulo Ndebele’s ‘The Year of the Dog: A journey of the imagination’ (2006) bear out, the township dog is the abject animal par excellence: one whose body is transferable across all modes of undesirability. Ndebele’s essay recounts those instances of disenfranchisement, violation, cruelty that ‘dog’ the intersection of race and species in South Africa from the 1913 Land Act, through the violence of apartheid to contemporary South Africa. So potent is the ‘mangy dog’s’ abjection and its substitutability that its body is, Ndebele writes, made dead and ‘mashy’ through the ‘righteous brutality’ of the one whose subjectivity Western racism has routinely denied: ‘Bulalan’inja!’ ‘Kill the

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dog!’16 It is against this trajectory that Ndebele undertakes a ‘journey of the imagination’ and attempts to reconceptualise an ethics and a politics in which ‘South Africans [might] reconnect with their humanity through a new and caring relationship with their dogs’.17 However, Ndebele’s is an ethics underscored by anthropocentrism rather than one rooted in interspecies relationality. The urgency of thinking abjection as an opening to ethics by way of the question of the animal is made clear by the horrifying and mediatised deaths of Mozambicans Ernesto Nhamuave, who was beaten and set alight by his neighbours in 2008, and Emmanuel Sithole, who died in a gutter after being ‘butchered’ and ‘beaten like a dog’ in 2015.18 Their deaths, and the ongoing historical echoes of a refrain of the foreigner-as-abject-animal, testify that the determination ‘other’ and ‘Animal’ are bloodily and bodily linked, and point to the imperative to think race and species as intersecting vectors in an ongoing violence of difference. This violence, acted on and through the bodies of those made ‘Animal’, is not only the symptom of an ongoing border anxiety but the corporeal manifestation of its life-and-death stakes. It is these stakes that Oliver’s analysis of the place and function of animality in Kristevan abjection seeks to highlight. Informed by Derrida’s writing on the animal question, Oliver’s book Animal Lessons focuses on how the limits between human and animal are fed (in Derrida’ terms, ‘made limitrophic’) and made complicated in writers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Giorgio Agamben, Sigmund Freud, Simone de Beauvoir, Kristeva and others. As Lynn Turner’s review notes, Oliver’s inclusion of women writers such as de Beauvoir and Kristeva in her book lays bare the assumption that women writers (even one so significantly tied to feminism as de Beauvoir) might trouble the ‘problematic philosophical proximity of animality and femininity . . . [and develop] a critical insight regarding “the animal”.’19 For, as Oliver argues, in using animality as the repudiated ground for human identity, Kristeva turns the bodies of real animals into symbolic substitutes for abjected (human) drives through displacing human animality onto language (by acceding to the Law of the Father) and separating edible and inedible bodies across species lines.20 The threshold across which this substitution takes place is the mouth: in particular, the mouth that fills with words and replaces the infant mouth that nurses at (and simultaneously repudiates) the (all-powerful) mother. As I explain more fully below, Kristeva ultimately reinforces the phallic terms of the Lacanian Symbolic through using animals as symbolic substitutes for the maternal body. Yet her alignment of the animal and the maternal centres on the breast, on its nourishing and punishing dimensions (its being given and withdrawn), and it turns on the transfer of orality from the maternal body to the body of the animal other (thus, from ‘eating’ the mother to eating the other made abject). In separating out the mother from the animal other through language’s symbolic function (the animal body as a placeholder for the abjected maternal), Kristeva’s move not only frames human subjectivity through (absolute) exclusion of the Animal by way of resurrecting and policing the human/non-human boundary, but, as I discuss below, reifies abjection’s ambiguity in a way that consolidates ‘the Animal’ as that which must be violently expelled from human subjectivity. The complication of this idea of absolute exclusion is at the root of Judith Butler’s reading of abjection in her Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex’.21

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Butler uses abjection to describe what she calls a zone of inclusive exclusion, across and through which the relation between the normative and its excluded is negotiated. But, as I explain later, since what is excluded is also interior to the relation, Butler’s ‘constitutive outside’ both sets up the performative production of heteronormativity, including the psychosocial formation of sexual identifications, and threatens the subject with what she calls ‘the persistent possibility of their disruption and rearticulation’.22 Her conception of performativity draws on both Michel Foucault’s thesis of the subject as produced in and through discursive disciplinary regulation, and Derrida’s notion of iterability, where every performative is subject to différance, and is thus conditioned by an opening to an alterity that exceeds its inscription. Marrying both insights of Derrida and Foucault with the foundational incompleteness of Kristevan abjection, Butler demonstrates that the iteration or repetition required by the heteronormative materialisation of bodies is neither complete nor stable. For Butler, this citational instability opens up the critical, political and, indeed, ethical possibilities of queering that intervene in hegemonic relations of power by rescripting their codes of intelligibility. I discuss the implications of Butler’s thesis of the disruptive rearticulation of a zone of inclusive exclusion for abjection’s ambiguity in my analysis of Alexander’s Security, but I want to note here that while Butler aligns this abject zone of unliveable life with the inhuman, and hence with ‘the Animal’, her framework for ‘bodies that matter’ remains, as James Stanescu points out, caught up in human exceptionalism.23 My analysis of the animal question in abjection brings together Oliver’s understanding of abjection’s animal sacrifice with the potential for disarticulation that Butler exploits in abjection’s unfinished status. Alexander’s Security, I argue, offers a way to foreground the abject Animal as an operative politics of social exclusion, especially in relation to the question of the foreign/er; however, the installation also offers a way to think through the ethico-political possibilities that abjection as ‘above all ambiguity’ makes available. In other words, while ‘abjection as ambiguity’ marks, for Kristeva, the necessity of fixing animal placeholders for abjected human drives (thereby securing the Symbolic’s defences against the threat of dissolution posed by an unassimilable maternal animality), ambiguity also turns the question of the animal, as Derrida might put it and Oliver’s analysis begins to play out, into the question that maps abjection’s ethical impetus, its sociopolitical materiality and philosophical complexity. This is precisely the case because, as I will show, the ambiguity in abjection puts ‘the Animal’ into question; it does so, moreover, across a body whose foreignness is as much within as it is without: ‘contaminated’, in process and foundational, or in Derrida’s term, ‘originheterogeneous’.24 Since contamination-as-abjection ultimately functions in Kristeva’s thesis to reassert and thereby protect the Symbolic order, abjection remains as risky a concept for animal studies as it is for feminist theory. While Kristevan abjection, as Oliver notes, makes a place for maternal authority and for animality within the Symbolic, and while, as Tyler discusses, the place of the abject has been heralded as a transgressive feminist challenge to patriarchy by writers of ‘abject criticism’ such as Barbara Creed, Mary Russo, and more recently Joanna Freuh and Deborah Caslav Covino, it is also, as Oliver observes, a place where the abject script of a maternal animality shores up Oedipality rather than overcomes it.25 For the psychosociality that Kristevan abjection narrates and protects is a masculinist one in which, as Oliver demonstrates, separation from the maternal

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legitimates a sacrificial limit called Animal. Nonetheless, if for Kristeva ‘abjection is above all ambiguity’, then its violence might be rearticulated so as to subtend relationality rather than simply regulation through sacrifice.26 Consequently, the animal might not, by definition, occupy a dead zone, but instead mark the human as unfinished and inhabited by an animal alterity that is, first and foremost, of the self. To claim thus is, however, not merely to attempt to reclaim abjection for animal studies and to read its death-bearing politics against the grain in the manner of the so-called ‘abject criticism’ that Tyler criticises.27 Rather, the question of the animal, in effect, stakes ambiguity at the centre of Kristeva’s socio-psychoanalytic border-politics. It is a wager that opens up the abject as an originary site of contaminative heterogeneity (rather than simply one of repudiation). Bringing the animal question to bear on abjection’s status as a crisis at the threshold of self/other and human/animal not only opens up a conceptual apparatus through which to think otherwise about what Kristeva calls abjection’s ‘necessary’ violence, it also puts into focus those unassimilables who are made abject. Given the urgent and necessary retrieval of the black body from the abject history of waste and animalisation to which colonial racism and its legacy have consigned black subjectivity, this is an imperative vital tool for thinking democracy and the xenophobic politics of social exclusion in post-apartheid South Africa.28 In the following sections, I first describe Security and provide some of its background as well as previous understandings of how abjection operates in Alexander’s works; I then outline Kristeva’s theory of abjection and its relation to the formation of the ‘subject-in-process/on trial’ and to abjection’s empty object named ‘Animal’, as well as to Butler’s spatial recasting of abjection as a ‘constitutive outside’. Finally, I return to Alexander’s work to bring together both the threat and the promise of abjection as ambiguity.

Crisis at the Threshold Alexander’s installation Security (2009) was originally commissioned for How to Live Together, the 27th Sao Paulo Biennale (2006), and exhibited again in 2007 at Rethinking Dissent, the 4th Göteborg Biennial, as well as in 2009 at the Johannesburg Art Fair, where I had the opportunity to see it. More recently, Security was included in an exhibition curated by Pep Subiròs, Jane Alexander Surveys (from the Cape of Good Hope) (2011). Alexander’s instruction for its installation are specific: Security is comprised of a double enclosure of diamond-mesh fencing topped by coiled razor-wire; the outer perimeter of the enclosure is surrounded by five men wearing South African private security guard uniforms with the word ‘Security’ on their epaulettes.29 The inner perimeter forms a passage between the two fences and its floor is covered by ‘one thousand South African machetes, one thousand South African sickles and one thousand used South African workers’ gloves’.30 The inner rectangular area is covered by earth and wheat is sown into it. Over the course of the work’s exhibition the wheat germinates, grows and ultimately dies. Set in Security’s central zone but situated off-centre, as if underscoring its formal discordancy, the hybrid sculpture Bird (2006) presents something of a taxonomic complication. Somehow unspeakably deformed or malformed, Bird both compels and resists descriptive clarification: the sculptural figure has a bird head, which is quizzically

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cocked, a hooked beak, and a broad muscular neck that ends in stumps at the shoulders. The stumps call forth amputated wings or, indeed, arms, since Bird’s torso appears to be human, with a belly button but without sex. Stooped on spindly backwardsleaning legs that end in hooves, Bird seems the very figure of precarity, vulnerable but also off-balance, incongruous, strange, and in this strangeness, vaguely menacing. The sense of menace, of threat, of something disordered and dangerous and thus requiring containment, is heightened by the presence of the security guards, the machetes and sickles – tools of labour but also weapons of violence – and by the redness of the industrial gloves as well as their prophylactic function. In Subiròs’s exhibition catalogue for Jane Alexander Surveys (from the Cape of Good Hope) (2011), Security is thematically linked ‘to forced and voluntary migration, land resources, unemployment and attendant security’ concerns.31 Yet underpinning the very real list of themes Security evokes – the trouble with migrants and their relation to scarce resources – is a concern not simply with borders, but with that which threatens and disturbs their coherency, which troubles defined limits: namely, the disordered, the out of place, the displaced, the in-between, the foreign. Security’s visual address places the locus of this border disturbance and the seeming cause of its defensive regulation at its (off-)centre: Bird, a hybrid human/animal form, encapsulates a certain unregulatable strangeness that seeps into the very fabric of this work.32 While Security may resemble the defensive fortification of a border, the presence of Bird hints at a profound insecurity at the very heart of its arrangement: rather than a definable limit, Security offers a vision of an abjected animal other at a threshold that is less absolute than it first appears. In Bird, the ambiguous co-implication of human and non-human is not only a marker of the animal-made-abject, but of the possibility of a more Butlerian sense of the abject as an ethico-political interference with social and discursive norms. My bringing together abjection, the animal and Alexander’s work is not without precedent. Lize van Robbroek and Tenley Bick link Alexander’s use of human animal forms and socially engaged themes to abjection.33 However, neither writer addresses the abject’s relation to the question of the animal and the attendant ethical and political dimensions this implies. Van Robbroek, for instance, reads the ‘humanimal’ not only in relation to the abject ‘psychotopography’ of South Africa’s racist past, but to an apparently more universal problem: the apparent failure of the Enlightenment project.34 She argues, by way of the work of Slavoj Žižek, that the abjected ‘humanimal’ or outsider beings that populate Alexander’s work represent the ‘unsymbolisable’ Lacanian Real that haunts the liberal humanist subject.35 For Bick, on the other hand, Alexander’s mutilated human animal hybrids embody the loss of humanity that the apartheid project produced. While such a loss no doubt justifies the reproduction of Alexander’s emblematic Butcher Boys (1985) on the cover of Biopolitics: A Reader,36 Bick’s discussion of this work poses humanity as a quality which is always already known and opposed to animality.37 In both these arguments, ‘the Animal’ becomes a placeholder for a site of trauma that has none of the inherent ambiguity Kristeva attributes to the operation of abjection. In neither account, moreover, is abjection put to work as the performative elaboration of an ambiguity that puts the singular boundary between, as Derrida writes, he who calls himself ‘Human’ and that which he calls ‘Animal’, into question.38

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Abjection and the Animal The abject, Kristeva writes, has no object but arises as an experience that haunts the subject (or that formation she calls the ‘clean and proper body’) with the trace of its founding dissolution.39 Abjection constitutively troubles the idea of a ‘clean and proper body’ – that is, an intra-or inter-subjectivity defined only by that which is ‘proper’ to it – by confronting the subject with that which exceeds its sense of the proper. As Kristeva argues in Powers of Horror, the (imagined) ‘clean and proper body’ (of the subject and the socius) is besieged by all that it is not, but from which, in order to be, it has tried to separate, expel, ab-ject.40 An ongoing psychosocial process of identity formation, abjection simultaneously posits a limit and traverses it; this violation both renders that limit defensively necessary and yet, impossible finally to maintain. In effect, abjection is an ambiguous practice of exclusion that both institutes and exceeds the ontological question ‘what is’, and in this, the question of the animal is foundational. For the Animal and animality as both figure and matter (or, for Kristeva, mater) are central to her analysis of abjection’s psychoanalytic process, its corporeal and material regulation, and as Oliver writes, its internal tension and post-Freudian compromise.41 Kristeva’s thesis establishes the centrality of animal/ity to abjection at the outset. Or rather, she argues that distance from the animal through the experience of abjection is the ontological and ontic condition of, as Rina Arya writes, ‘what it means to be human’.42 In a move that both exposes her human exceptionalism (language as the property of the human) and disturbs it, Kristeva argues that abjection provokes by betraying the unfinished proximity of the ‘speaking being’ to his supposed archaic, animal origins.43 For Kristeva, this dangerous intimacy is tied to the pre-Oedipal infant’s struggle to provisionally separate from an all-encompassing maternal authority, but it also occurs in ‘those fragile states where man strays on the territories of the animal’.44 In Kristeva’s terms, any ‘straying’ across the human/animal border risks an encounter with an unassimilable otherness that both delimits the territory of what is proper to the human, and imperils it. The abject, in short, is a ‘repulsive gift’ that both initiates and threatens the boundaries of the human subject, the thinkable and the tolerable.45 Unbound by language, for it emerges prior to the subject’s entry into culture/ the Symbolic, Kristeva’s concept of abjection emerges through her rereading of Freud’s theory of taboo formation. Read through Mary Douglas’s work on the social regulation of dirt and contamination , Kristeva’s concept of prohibition draws on Georges Bataille’s key insight into the formation of taboo: that it is the essential ‘weakness of that prohibition’ that conditions its need for performative reinforcement.46 Kristevan abjection grafts this notion of a weak prohibition onto Melanie Klein’s object-relations-rooted theory of the good/bad breast economy.47 Kristevan abjection describes not merely the primitive process of ego formation and bodily separation from an all-powerful maternal authority, but the way in which social and psychic authority, the Law (of the Father) and the (imagined) ‘clean and proper body’ (of the self and the Symbolic) is simultaneously legitimated and put at risk. Often incorrectly reduced to its effects (to bodily fluids, for example), the abject refers to that which disorders but also that which is cast off, expelled and repulsed. The abject threatens the very integrity and coherence of the psycho-sociopolitical body, and defines both its limits and its vulnerability. The formation of psychosocial

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authority is both reliant on and menaced by that which it abjects. It is the status of the abject, as both excluded and as subject to fear and loathing, that brings it into intersection with the animal question. For although Kristeva considers the crisis of abjection to be ‘the place where meaning collapses’, the animal, as Steve Baker remarks, comes to be the objectified instrument and residue of this experience.48 But it is an instrument like no other, for in Kristeva as in Freud, there can be no threshold moment of separation, no subject, and thus no onset of human sociality, without the sacrifice of the animal and the repression of animality; without, in other words, the erection of that abstraction, ‘Animal’. In psychoanalytic terms, the binding of animal sacrifice to ‘the human’ and ‘the social’ is first set out in Freud’s thesis of the primal feast in his Totem and Taboo (1918).49 After proposing that animal totems in so-called ‘primitive cultures’ and animal phobias in children refer to the Oedipal origins of patriarchal authority, Freud narrates the latter’s emergence through the murder of the primal father by his sons. At the primal feast, he asserts, the primal father, who alone has sexual access to his wife and daughters, is murdered by his jealous sons. The sons then eat his body. Consumed by guilt, the ‘band of brothers’ internalise an idealised version of paternal authority and reject familial murder, familial sexual contact and the eating of kin and kind, thus erecting the taboos against incest and patricide, as well as against cannibalism and bestiality. For Freud, the primal feast and the substitution of the totem animal for the primal father not only retroactively verifies his Oedipal family romance, but confirms that humanity is rooted in the ‘organic repression’ of animality.50 This version of humanity, moreover, as Donna Haraway writes, privileges a masculinist universality.51 And it does so on the basis of what Derrida calls a ‘carnivorous virility’ that installs a ‘meat-eating, sacrifice-accepting’ or ‘carno-phallogocentric’ subject.52 While Freud’s crisis at the threshold of the human is marked in an encounter with the primal father, in Kristeva’s rereading of animal phobias and primal eating, this crisis unfolds in an oral-sadistic relation to the originary and disavowed animal body, the (edible) mother.53 Drawing on Klein’s account of the nursing infant in the mother-child dyad, Kristeva proposes a pre-symbolic orality in which the maternal is both nurturing and punishing. The not-yet-ego identifies with the ‘good (gratifying) breast’ as a ‘part object’ and, redirecting its own aggressive drives, projects these onto the ‘bad (frustrating) breast’ of the now persecuting maternal body.54 Kristeva links this orality to an intensified death drive in which the infant is no longer that which feeds but the object of a maternal authority that threatens [to eat] it from within. For the pre-Oedipal yetto-be ego caught in dyadic union, this maternal authority is both of itself and its m/ other, and thus abjects that part of itself that is m/other. Abjection sets up the boundary between self/other through a potent oral intimacy with the maternal from which each of us must separate in order to be, but to which we are inextricably bound by our needs, desires and fears. Unlike Freud, for whom a repression of animality is not only necessary but desirable, Kristeva’s abjection describes a process of impossible separation from a primary animality. As Oliver suggests, this makes space for an unfinished connection to animality, but one that both necessitates, and torments, any separation it subtends. For the animality of the maternal, Kristeva argues, both attracts and repels: unruly, drive-focused, and pre-symbolic (what she calls semiotic), it signals at once the possible return of dyadic bliss and the threat of dissolution, or in Kristeva’s terms, the loss of identity or death.

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It is this death-bearing threat of the loss of self that provokes abjection’s horror: a horror that is at once both affective and social, and which the (defensively) violent (re)institution(s) of the border between I and not-I, between self and other, between human and animal, seeks to contain and manage. However, since Kristevan abjection holds that human subjectivity is caught in an unfinished relation to the animality it seeks to cast off and yet requires in order to separate, this border maintenance is performative, ongoing and processual. It is bound to an endless, unpredictable and frightening repetition that reproduces the very fragility of the border in the same moment that it demarcates it. It is this psychosocial process that Kristeva makes reference to in her notion of a ‘subject-in-process/on trial’, one that, born of abjection and in thrall to the abject, is forever tied to the animal alterity it harbours within.55 In other words, Kristeva’s notion of abjection proposes heterogeneity rather than an imagined purity as the foundation of the self.

Animal Abjects Although exclusion is part of every identity formation, Kristeva argues that the intra- and intersubjective drive to separate self from other must be set up through a compulsory matricide (rather than patricide). This sacrifice takes place first of all at the cannibalising mouth of the feeding infant and subsequent abjection of the devouring mother, of the animal that bites. It is a sacrifice that is, moreover, given phallic coherence at the level of the Symbolic, when the subject as ‘speaking being’ gives up eating the mother in order to eat the animal other. Or, as Kristeva puts it: ‘I give up cannibalism because abjection (of the mother) leads me toward respect for the body of the other, my fellow man, my brother.’56 Since every animal for Kristeva is a placeholder for the primary animality of the maternal, the abjection of the edible mother not only positions animality as dangerous to, and contaminative of, the Symbolic, it also positions ‘the Animal’ as the legitimate sacrificial ground for a humanist sociality that is, in essence, ‘carno-phallogocentric’. Thus, Kristeva’s respect for the body of the other is a respect only for the human other: in her ‘fraternity of the same’, this respect is won through the violent foreclosure of interspecies kinship and its consequent consolidation of the Law of the Father.57 Wrought across the body of the now edible animal other, this is violence which, for Kristeva, is as necessary as it is sacrificial and carnivorous, as material as it is affective, and as literal as it is metaphorical. Abjection might not have an object, but its defensive moves against an other that threatens the coherency of the same are always directed against something or some body. As the excluded ground of human subjectivity and sociality, the Animal becomes the paradigmatic abject object (at once an empty thing and a body). The ground zero of an anthropocentric, and indeed carnophallogocentric, universe, the Animal as abject shores up abjection’s ambiguity and serves up instead the reductive fantasy of a singular, ontological division between what is proper to, and property of, the ‘Human’ and what he calls ‘Animal’. Reified as Animal, Kristeva’s thesis of an uncontrollable and contaminating animality that requires taboos, rituals, religion and art to sublimate and channel drive energy, translates instead into a validation of a masculinist humanist authority erected across the dead bodies of those animals made killable and eatable.

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Abjection’s violent expulsion of human animality thus erects the limit of the Human by way of a sacrificial economy that designates ‘the Animal’ as foul, debased, contaminating, abject and killable. In an interview with Jean-Luc Nancy on the ‘calculation of the subject’, Derrida describes this determination as ‘discerning . . . a place left open . . . for a non-criminal putting to death of the other’.58 He points out that since the biblical injunction ‘Thou shalt not kill’ does not prohibit the killing of every living thing, only that of fellow humans, this discernment is at once a politics and an ethics. It involves a measuring up, to paraphrase Butler, of which bodies and lives matter and which deaths do not. Since Kristeva’s notion of the human subject or ‘speaking being’ is rooted in the sacrifice of the animal, the Animal as abject allows for what Cary Wolfe describes as the transposition of the non-criminal death of the animal other to the animalised of whichever species.59 Kristeva’s Animal abjects, in other words, not only sustain the fantasy of a single ontological division between Human and Animal, but, as an abstraction and as a devalued life, make available a cross-species politics of animalisation. The deathly implications of this politics not only form the basis of Alexander’s Security, but structure the operation of exteriority in the sociopolitical framework of the foreign/er that it references.

Foreign Bodies Abjection, Butler argues, functions to produce and maintain the sociopolitical structure through the exclusion of that which it cannot assimilate. Thus, as she writes, the determination of the subject requires the ‘simultaneous production of a domain of abject beings’ that circumscribe its intelligibility.60 This ‘exclusionary matrix’ or ‘zone of uninhabitability’ forms what she describes as ‘the constitutive outside’ of the subject: that defining limit of both identification and dread against which the normative subject guarantees his claim to autonomy, to life and thus to call himself ‘Human’.61 However, the exteriority presupposed by the subject’s ‘constitutive outside’ is a radical one: as an ‘abjected outside’, it is, in Butler’s words, ‘inside the subject as its founding repudiation’.62 Unable to be fully cast off, this ‘outside’ that is constitutive of the subject is also internal to it owing to the human subject’s contaminative origin in abjection – ‘the consequences’ of which, Butler notes, ‘it cannot fully control’. It is the desire to control that fuels the abject’s threat. In a move that echoes the performative heterogeneity of Kristeva’s concept of a ‘subject-in-process/on trial’, Butler’s notion of a ‘constitutive outside’ is neither stable nor resolved, but vulnerable to dissolution and haunted by an animal alterity it cannot erase, contain or control. Thus, in order to call itself ‘Human’, the boundaries of the subject require anxious renewal; hence the convulsive attempts to identify and expel what it deems foreign to itself, what threatens its imagined unity of the ‘clean and proper’ and disrupts its intelligibility. It is in this convulsion that the xenophobic trope of foreigner-as-animal gains its valence as foul and polluting. And it is here too, as I will show in relation to Alexander’s Security, that the heterogeneity of ‘the subject-in-process/on trial’ and the performativity of the ‘constitutive outside’ opens onto a relation in which the designation ‘animal’ remains radically unfixed. Turning back to Security, the installation reads as a thoroughgoing attempt to maintain the boundaries of the ‘clean and proper’, in this case of the social body.

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The caging of the singular, strange and slightly-estranging figure of Bird, and the prophylactic measures of fencing, gloves and security guards, suggest that what is at stake in this work is not security, but rather a panicked insecurity about the proximity of a body made foreign and abject. The enclosure’s immunising measures read as a defensive move against that which fouls the boundary between being and belonging, between a communal ‘fraternity of the same’ and that which is marked as its other. In fact, the used gloves that hint simultaneously at absent workers and at bloody ground, as well as the machetes that double up as weapons, suggest that this defence was waged across a multiplication of bodies too foreign to be assimilated: as if this seemingly stable border control was won through the erasure of so many other foreign bodies explicitly named ‘Animal’ in South Africa’s xenophobic discourse. With its fixation on containment by any means, Security calls to mind a detention centre; one, perhaps, like the notorious Lindela Repatriation Centre in South Africa’s Gauteng province, long-since accused of human rights abuses by the undocumented immigrants it holds.63 Security speaks, in short, of a purified concept of being and belonging that seeks external renewal and authentication through the absolute separation of that which is made abject; and it does so along a purportedly inviolate division in which Other and Animal are not only held to be consonant, but also entirely normative and legible. Yet, in light of abjection’s unfinished relation to that which it expels, Security’s staged encounter with the foreigner-body-as-abject-animal is rooted in an impossible expulsion and an uncanny illegibility. Bird’s familiar-made-strange visual language confounds normative binary divisions to traverse the bounds of nature/culture, human/ animal. More than a mere category error, Bird’s uncanniness comes to figure a radical and dangerous unintelligibility, the sequestering of which not only makes possible the fantasy of an absolute security of limits, but imperils it. For Bird’s ambiguity is not simply formal; it is structural, and opens onto the experience of the installation itself. In its courtyard or museum installation, Security stands not as the absolute outside of the community of the same, as a defensive limit, but is pitched within it so that the work, although separated by fencing, is spatially continuous with its viewers, and not only because the fencing allows for a kind of surveillance-like visibility. Despite that spatial continuity, entry into the inner zone and passageway is barred and viewers are restricted to walking around the exterior of the installation. In effect, the installation’s organisation of visibility and separation allows both for viewers to mime the so-called ‘security guards’ patrol of the exterior (and interact with the oftentimes foreign workers who take on the roles of the ‘security guards’ in the work’s various installations), and to become part of the installation through the partial transparency of the wire fencing, which allows them to be visible to each other. With the viewer implicated in the viewing situation, it becomes apparent that Security’s sense of quarantine or inviolable separation is illusory. This combination of proximity and inaccessibility gives Security a sense of precarious intimacy, and Bird’s strangely disorganised and unassimilable form is lodged incontrovertibly within it. Bird is both too readable and inscrutably other. In the installation, its concatenated human-animal form reads as socially prohibited and immersed in the violence of difference, yet the form does not offer enough legibility for it to be a repository for disavowed identifications. There remains something profoundly resistant about Bird that exceeds the framing of ‘the Animal’ as a substitute for abjected

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human animality. Perhaps it is its vulnerability: its at-once abjectness and embodied woundedness. Indeed, in this affective state of embodied abjectness, Bird’s humananimal form cannot sustain being a placeholder for an easily consumable abstraction such as ‘the Animal’. In other words, Bird conjures up not the guarantee of edibility, or of an interpretative consumption and assimilation within a symbolic economy of carnophallogocentrism, but a sense of embodied animality that is recognisable, mortal and shared across the space of viewing. Vested at the installation’s heart, oddly off-centre, Bird signals abjection’s condition of possibility and the self/social body’s origin in a heterogeneity it can neither master nor contain. Security is about the violence of difference, but this is not the absolute separation of belonging and abject unbelonging it appears to act out. Rather, Security enacts an uneasy relation to an animal-other that cannot be divorced from the self: uneasy because the other that is animal is both that which, as the very stuff of the ‘constitutional outside’, allows for the minimal separation of identities and insists on an embodied continuity with the body of the self/socius. Unfinished and ambiguous, Bird’s animal-human co-implication points to abjection’s performative renewal as well as its productive possibility for a relational politics of inclusive exclusion. In Bird, the ambiguity of the ‘subject-in-process/on trial’ and ‘the constitutive outside’ renders the sacrificial limit of an absolute dividing line between inside and outside, native and foreign, human and animal, self and other, impossible, finally, to maintain, secure and police. It is because the threshold of differences remains porous and in process, and hence ambiguous, that abjection sustains a relation to an animal alterity that cannot be divorced from human subjectivity and sociality. This is Kristeva’s Bataillean moment, precisely the work of a prohibition weakened by the incipient possibility of otherness that is at once of the self/ or always already within the social body.64 And it is also this contaminative and relational ethico-politics of otherness from which she ultimately retreats through her adherence to the precepts of the Lacanian Symbolic. However, to think abjection as the productive ground of an original heterogeneity that does not anchor human exceptionalism is not to deny its violence. Kristevan abjection retains its threat of dissolution, of death, but such a threat, as Security demonstrates, is necessary for the generative process of differentiation to occur: a process, not a fixed border between self and other, pure and dirty, native and foreign. Indeed, as the life-decaydeath cycle of the patch of wheat grass on which Bird stands shows, an impervious border is not only undesirable but death-bearing. Trying to sustain life while forcing total and totalitarian exclusion produces only the death of possibility, the foreclosure of the future, of life itself. Both the political mechanism for the fictionalised purity of the Human and the point at which that logic unravels, the animal-abject betrays the ‘clean and proper’ as always already impure and, of necessity, forged in an unfinished relation to the otherness that is foundational to itself.

The Question of the Animal The status of animality sets the border between ‘man’ and ‘his’ others. As this chapter has shown, abjection makes available a psycho-political discourse on the limit of the Human in which the abject is designated unliveable and killable and ontologised as Animal. But abjection also announces that in the formation of human subjectivity,

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any final break with animality is not only illusory and impossible, but also detrimental to the maintenance of the health of the organism. To think through the question of the animal in abjection puts the violent abstraction of ‘the Animal’ into question, and makes possible non-anthropocentric conceptualisations of subjectivity and ethics, both of which haunt Kristevan abjection as its founding repression. It is a question that must remain open, and not just because what is called ‘animal’ or ‘animality’ within the relational and always already contaminated logic of the ‘subject-in-process/ on trial’ and the ‘constitutive outside’ remains radically unfixed. But because as long as ‘the Animal’ sustains a notion of a Human self that can return to itself in a fullness which enforces the pretence of an absolute exclusion of difference, it remains mired in what Derrida calls ‘the worst’: the deathly and death-giving total violence of the Same.65 As abjection’s troubling and undisclosed origin, the unfinished question of the animal is also the performative site of abjection’s ambiguity. It is a site where the figure of the animal foregrounds an uncanny querying of the limits of the ‘proper’ and the foreign, limits that it both founds and endangers. Abjection’s procedural doubling not only lays bare the socio-political reification of animal sacrifice across a politics of animalisation, but also makes available an other, non-anthropocentric thinking of the ‘necessity’ of its violence. This is a thinking that does not determine alterity through an ontological relation to death (Human or Animal, lives that matter and ones that are killable), but turns on a more foundational notion of violence that initiates, through abjection, the very possibility of relation only as always already contaminated by an otherness that exceeds and structures it. Thus, it is not that there is a pure formation called Human or a community of the Same that the process of abjection then compromises, but rather that the idea of a self or of a social body is only possible through abjection’s relational opening to an alterity that is originary, irreducible, and heterogeneous to itself, essentially corrupted by the deathliness that stalks all mortal life.66 Thinking abjection across and through the foreign body made animal, and the animal as foreign body, thus locates abjection within an ethico-politics in which animal life, and hospitality to an animal other that is also the self, is central to the question of the living in general.

Notes 1. Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, trans. Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), p. 9. 2. Imogen Tyler, ‘Against Abjection’, Feminist Theory 10:1 (2009), pp. 77–98, (accessed 28 August 2017). 3. My sincere thanks to the editors, and to Benita de Robillard, for their astute and insightful comments on this chapter. 4. Kelly Oliver, Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009). 5. Tyler, ‘Against Abjection’, p. 90. 6. On Afrophobia, see Andile Mngxitama, ‘We Are Not All Like That: Race, Class and Nation after Apartheid’, in Shireen Hassim, Tawana Kupe and Eric Worby (eds), Go Home Or Die Here: Violence, Xenophobia and the Reinvention of Difference in South Africa (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2008), pp. 198–205; Clive Ndou, ‘Foreigners Must Go Home – King Zwelethini’, The Citizen, 23 March 2015, (accessed 28 August 2017).

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7. See ‘South Africa Is Not a Xenophobic Nation: A Letter from Jacob Zuma’, The Guardian, 28 April 2015, (accessed 28 August 2017). 8. Ibid. 9. See also Christopher Peterson’s chapter on ‘Races’ in this volume. His Bestial Traces: Race, Sexuality, Animality (London: Fordham University Press, 2012) makes a similar point. 10. See Kelly Oliver, ‘Introduction: Julia Kristeva’s Outlaw Ethics’, in Kelly Oliver (ed.), Ethics, Politics and Difference in Julia Kristeva’s Writing (London: Routledge, 1993), pp. 1–22; Kelly Oliver, Reading Kristeva: Unraveling the Double-bind (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993). 11. Oliver, Animal Lessons, p. 278. 12. Ibid. p. 278. 13. King Goodwill Zwelithini reportedly said (in Zulu): ‘Let us pop our head lice. We must remove ticks and place them outside in the sun. We ask foreign nationals to pack their belongings and be sent back.’ Cited in Alexander O’Riordan, ‘Zwelithini’s Lice Comment Only Deflects Attention for Parasitic Royal Households’, The South African Civil Society Information Service, 5 May 2015, (accessed 28 August 2017). ‘King Denies Call to Attack Foreigners’, IOL, 15 April 2015, (accessed 28 August 2017). 14. Rosalind C. Morris, ‘Crowds and Powerlessness: Reading //kabbo and Canetti with Derrida in (South) Africa’, in Anne Emmanuelle Berger and Marta Segarra (eds), Demenageries: Thinking of Animals after Derrida (New York: Rodopi, 2011), p. 167. 15. ‘Foreigners Tell of Being “Hunted Like Dogs”’, AFP, Leadership, 21 April 2015, (accessed 16 June 2016). 16. Luis Bernardo Honwana, ‘We Killed Mangy-Dog’, in We Killed Mangy-Dog and Other Mozambique Stories (London: Heinemann, 1967), pp. 75–117; Njabulo Ndebele, ‘The Year of the Dog: A Journey of the Imagination’, in Fine Lines from the Box: Further Thoughts about Our Country (Cape Town: Umozi, 2007), p. 251. 17. Ndebele, p. 255. 18. See Trevor Ncube, ‘I Fear for the Future Here in South Africa’, Mail and Guardian, 8 May 2015, (accessed 28 August 2017). 19. Lynn Turner, ‘Animal and Sexual Differences: Kelly Oliver’s Continental Bestiary’, Body & Society 19:4 (2013), p. 122, (accessed 28 August 2017). 20. Oliver, Animal Lessons, p. 15: ‘animal flesh becomes the nourishing substitute on which human kinship ripens’. 21. Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex’ (London: Routledge, 1993). 22. Ibid. p. 8. 23. James Stanescu, ‘Species Trouble: Judith Butler, Mourning, and the Precarious Lives of Animals’, Hypatia 27:3 (2012), pp. 267–82. 24. Jacques Derrida, Of Spirit, trans. Rachel Bowlby (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), pp. 107–8, cited in Leonard Lawlor, ‘Jacques Derrida’, in Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), (accessed 28 August 2017). 25. Oliver, Animal Lessons, pp. 277–302. On ‘abject criticism’ see Tyler, ‘Against Abjection’, pp. 78–87. Tyler discusses Barbara Creed, The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism and Psychoanalysis (London: Routledge, 1993); Mary Russo, The Female Grotesque: Risk,

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26. 27. 28.

29. 30. 31. 32.

33.

34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

52.

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ruth lipschitz Modernity, Excess (New York: Routledge, 1994); Deborah Caslav Covino, Amending the Abject Body: Aesthetic Makeovers in Medicine and Culture (New York: State University of New York Press, 2004); Deborah Caslav Covino, ‘Abject Criticism’, Genders 32 (Fall 2000), (accessed 12 May 2016); Joanna Frueh, Monster/Beauty: Building the Body of Love (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001). Kristeva, Powers of Horror, p. 9, my emphasis. Tyler, ‘Against Abjection’, pp. 78–87. Achille Mbembe, ‘Democracy as a Community of Life’, The Johannesburg Salon (Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism) 4 (2011), pp. 1–6. Available at (accessed 28 August 2017). See also Derek Hook, ‘Racism as Abjection: A Psychoanalytic Conceptualisation for a Post-Apartheid South Africa’, South African Journal of Psychology 34:4 (2014), pp. 672–703. Available at (accessed 28 August 2017). See Pep Subirós (ed.), Jane Alexander: Surveys (from the Cape of Good Hope) (New York and Barcelona: Museum of African Art and Actar, 2011), p. 120. Ibid. Ibid. It is an example of what Subiròs calls Alexander’s ‘humanimals’; see Pep Subirós, ‘In Africa and Beyond: Reflections on Jane Alexander’s Mutant Universe’, in Subirós, Jane Alexander: Surveys, pp. 10–25. Lize van Robbroek, ‘Harbinger of Night: Jane Alexander’s Posthumanism’, in Subirós, Jane Alexander: Surveys, pp. 36–45; Tenley Bick, ‘Horror Histories: Apartheid and the Abject Body in the Work of Jane Alexander’, African Arts 43:4 (2010), pp. 30–41. van Robbroek, ‘Harbinger of Night’, p. 38. Ibid. p. 44. Timothy Campbell and Adam Sitze (eds), Biopolitics: A Reader (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013). Bick, ‘Horror Histories’, p. 34. Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am, ed. Marie-Louise Mallet, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), p. 29. Kristeva, Powers of Horror, p. 102. Ibid. p. 1. See Oliver, Animal Lessons, p. 248. Rina Arya, Abjection and Representation: An Exploration of Abjection in Visual Arts, Film and Literature (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), p. 19. See Kristeva, Powers of Horror, pp. 32–41. Ibid. p. 12. Ibid. p. 4. Ibid. p. 64. Ibid. pp. 64–5. Ibid. p. 2; Steve Baker, The Postmodern Animal (London: Reaktion, 2000), p. 90. Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo: Some Correspondences on the Mental life of Savages and Neurotics, trans. A. A. Brill (Mineola: Dover Publications, 1998 [1918]), pp. 120–3. Sigmund Freud, Civilisation and Its Discontents, trans. James Strachey (New York: Norton, 1961 [1930]), p. 59. Donna Haraway, ‘Ecce Homo, Ain’t (Ar’n’t) I a Woman, and Inappropriate/d Others: The Human in a Post-Humanist Landscape’, in Judith Butler and Joan W. Smith (eds), Feminists Theorize the Political (London: Routledge, 1992), p. 86. Jacques Derrida, ‘“Eating Well” or the Calculation of the Subject (Interview with JeanLuc Nancy)’, trans. Peter Connor and Avital Ronell, in Elizabeth Weber (ed.), Points . . . Interviews 1974–1994 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), p. 278.

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53. Kristeva, Powers of Horror, p. 79. 54. Julia Kristeva, Melanie Klein, trans. Ross Guberman (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), p. 62. 55. See Noëlle McAfee, Julia Kristeva (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 33. 56. Ibid. pp. 78–9. 57. See Emily Zakin, ‘Psychoanalytic Feminism’, in Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, (accessed 24 June 2015). 58. Derrida, ‘“Eating Well”’, p. 278. 59. Cary Wolfe, Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species and Posthumanist Theory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), p. 7. 60. Butler, Bodies that Matter, p. 3. 61. Ibid. 62. Ibid. 63. See Jennifer Greenburg, ‘The Spatial Politics of Xenophobia: The Everyday Practices of Congolese Migrants in Johannesburg’, Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa 74 (2010), pp. 66–86, (accessed 28 August 2017). See also Michael Neocosmos, ‘From “Foreign Natives” to “Native Foreigners”: Explaining Xenophobia in Post-Apartheid South Africa’, CODESRIA (2010), (accessed 28 August 2017); Rapula Moatshe, ‘Hunger Strikers: They Shot Us in the Head at Lindela’, Mail and Guardian, 10 October 2014, (accessed 28 August 2017). 64. Kristeva, Powers of Horror, p. 64. 65. See Jacques Derrida, Rogues: Two Essays on Reason, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), p. 15; Leonard Lawlor, This is Not Sufficient: An Essay on Animality and Human Nature in Derrida (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), p. 23. 66. For a non-psychoanalytic reading of ‘constitutive violence’ and alterity, see Martin Hägglund, ‘The Necessity of Discrimination: Disjoining Derrida and Levinas’, Diacritics 34:1 (2004), pp. 40–71, especially p. 49.

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ew things can affect us so deeply as the plight of an animal. There is something viscerally disturbing about seeing a ‘poor creature’ at the mercy of nature itself (‘red in tooth and claw’); or – perhaps more likely – witnessing an animal become victim of our own treacherous, technically enhanced ways.1 Weeping at the death of Bambi’s mother (or Balthazar, or Old Yeller), has been a rite of passage for generations: a sadness felt even more deeply when our own pet or animal companion passes away. The fact that we can mourn the death of an animal, while happily eating steak or pork for dinner that same night, says much about the human capacity to compartmentalise. We tend to identify with only a small subset of animals while feeling indifference, contempt or even fear of the others. (The same, of course, could be said of our feelings towards other humans.) Zoos, wildlife parks and the mainstream media understand the power of ‘charismatic megafauna’ to command attention, empathy and interest. A lion killed by a tourist playing safari hunter2, for instance, when widely reported, can elicit more collective sympathy than an African American killed in custody by a police officer – a situation which underscores the complexities and hypocrisies of humanism, or being ‘humane’ (even as the former contains the seed of a more global compassion towards all forms of life). There are profound historical currents which led us to such murky emotional territory, including ancient debates over the intelligence of animals and their kinship (or not) to ourselves, through reincarnation; scholastic debates about our dominion over animals (or not), and the place of animals in the Great Chain of Being; early modern debates about the soul – or lack of – in animals (and indeed in newly ‘discovered’ humans encountered in the so-called New World); and more recent debates around the possible ‘personhood’ of certain animals, especially those deemed ‘higher’ than the others. Western thought has consistently grappled with the animal as a resource, convenience, nuisance, slave, threat, foe, friend, symbol and/or uncanny neighbor. And the recent explosion in animal studies in the academy has been a concerted effort to inventory and interpret all the various ways in which our fellow fauna have influenced our own self-conception, as well as the ways that we have imposed our mental and cultural categories onto animals (usually at their existential expense). The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss famously stated that ‘animals are good to think with’.3 He may well have also said that animals are good to feel with. The sympathy we contemporary folk feel for (certain) animals is both historically recent (in the sense that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (UK) and the American equivalent (ASPCA) had to fight against the cultural current of the nineteenth century in order to secure recognition for the protection and welfare of animals) and deeply traditional (in the sense that pre-modern Westerners have always exhibited

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an ambivalence between using animals as mere tools, or sensing a connection to them as kindred spirits – part of the cosmic extended family).4 The recent explosion in ‘cute animal videos’ online has at once amplified and complicated this ambivalence: so that we can receive a quick dose of affirming sentiment (‘awwwww’), while also receiving the added benefit of feeling ontologically superior to the ‘silly kitten’ or ‘dumb dog’ on the screen. The effect is to briefly bridge two beings – the viewer and the animal in the video – through a sympathetic circuit involving identification and/or anthropomorphism. But this bridge is just as quickly dismantled (or at least structurally compromised) by the sentiment itself, since we would not dare to be so patronising to a being that we hold in the same regard as ourselves. (Witness the way we can coo at a baby, then be somewhat condescending to children and young teenagers, but soon adjust to addressing a young adult as we would ourselves: a distinction that suggests we do not consider children as yet fully human.) ‘Animal affection’ can thus designate three essential overlapping elements: the affection an animal provokes in our own mind and sensorium, the affection we may provoke in the nervous system of an animal, and the affection shared between us and an animal.5 Were someone to ask us how a particular animal feels, we might respond with an answer such as ‘scaly’, ‘slimy’, ‘furry’, ‘fuzzy’, and so on. We are more likely to initially consider the other creature in the physical form of how they appear to us, as opposed to how they might experience the world on their own terms.6 This bias is a result of the dominant tendency in Western thought concerning the animal qua the human, most famously detailed by Martin Heidegger, who claimed that the animal is ‘poor in world’ when compared to our own kind (albeit richer in world than a stone).7 This poverty is still widely assumed to be the animal’s natural state, given our deeply held belief that self-consciousness, abstract thought, symbolism, reason and complex language are the measure of existential wealth (the long legacy of Aristotle’s ‘natural philosophy’).8 This has not, however, prevented the poets – most notably Rilke – from claiming that humans are in fact the ones trapped in their own mental fabulations, while animals are the ones ‘open’ enough to be rich in experience.9 Animals, according to this perspective, mentally interface with the world free of the conceptual lenses which blind us from being fully in the here and now, since they live outside the prisonhouse of language. The essential inaccessibility, or unknowability, of the animal other’s world and experience is the premise of Thomas Nagel’s famous essay, ‘What is it Like to Be a Bat?’ The short, paraphrased answer to the philosopher’s question is, ‘as non-bats, we cannot know’.10 And yet, as sensitive and imaginative beings, obliged to put ourselves in the place of others in order to relate to our fellow men and women, there are degrees to which we humans can empathise with animals (rather than merely sympathise with or feel pity for them). For instance, we know Temple Grandin’s name because she felt she understood how animals feel, by virtue of her autistic nature. The slaughterhouse industry listened to Grandin, at least in part, to lessen the distress of animals as they head towards the killing machine. (Meat is more tender if the animal is less stressed at the time of execution.) Grandin argued, in a book of the same name, that ‘animals make us human’, since compassion, extended beyond the species barrier, allows us to better connect with our own emotionally enriching capacities.11 On a more critically sophisticated register, Donna Haraway has also insisted that the intimate, affective circuit created between proximate beings is a crucial part of ethical co-existence.

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‘I am convinced that actual encounters are what make beings,’12 Haraway writes in her book When Species Meet; preferring to focus on the middle of the ‘dance of relating’ – rather than on the individual dancers themselves. Haraway discusses her own dog, Cayenne, in intimate detail, in order to emphasise the transductive aspect, or ‘lively knottings’, of cross-critter communication: ‘The partners do not precede the meeting; species of all kinds, living and not, are consequent on a subject- and object-shaping dance of encounters.’13 One wonders, however, how many people really consider their family pet to be a ‘companion species’ in such nuanced terms, or whether they are in fact treating their domesticated animal as a simple but reliable ‘affection machine’. (I’m thinking of dogs especially, of course. The fascination with cats, in contrast, is their very refusal to provide love on cue, which inspires a kind of vexed admiration, or respectful resignation, in the cat’s so-called owner. . . . ‘Dogs are people too,’ says popular wisdom. And cats remind us of aloof narcissists.)14 Pets are thus a special category: a liminal creature between the wild beast, docile livestock, and the civilised, domesticated human. It is this very in-between status that elicits such affection, since we can lavish love on something which is enough like us to share our home, and yet not of the same ilk as ourselves, thus mercifully free of the obligations and complications which come with such.15 ‘Loving animals’, however – both in the active and passive sense – has often occurred beyond the world of pets, extending to those critters who exist beyond the often limiting and jealous perimeter of the domus. Films such as Born Free, Storm Boy, Black Beauty, Free Willy, and Fly Away Home document such passions in a sentimental mode. Less family-friendly is the story of Dian Fossey, who adored ‘her’ chimps to the extent where she assaulted some poachers who killed them, only to be murdered herself in revenge.16 The troubled nature-lover Timothy Treadwell came to a grisly end, as explored in Werner Herzog’s film Grizzly Man, after trying once too often to demonstrate his intense affection for the wild animals of Alaska.17 Less tragically, albeit on a melancholy note, Nikola Tesla, in his later years, confessed to being passionately in love with a white pigeon, to the extent where he felt his life was over after she ‘abandoned’ him.18 In the literary archive we are less likely to find quasi-romantic relationships between humans and animals19 – given the taboo existential levelling that would suggest – and instead encounter a prevalence of figural or allegorical passions; including, perhaps most famously, Captain Ahab’s single-minded pursuit of the great white whale in Moby-Dick (a relationship so easily adapted to the human plane that Melville’s publisher first suggested replacing the eponymous character with a comely maiden!).20 Much earlier, in Plato’s Phaedrus – poised as it is between literature and philosophy – Socrates observes, ‘As wolves love lambs so lovers love their loves.’ Greek and Roman myths were replete with gods and goddesses who rendered such analogies literal, transforming into animals in order to seduce or ravish mortals; many catalogued with great poetic force in Ovid. To delve into the Metamorphoses is thus to inhabit an ontologically unstable world, in which one may passionately enjoy another creature not simply like a beast but as a beast. Here analogies are made not only through conceptual parallels, but forged through the shared flesh of the animal kingdom – a cross-species continuity which was perhaps felt more intimately by his contemporary readers (or auditors) than those of today. Two millennia later,

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and Lautréamont would scandalise the literary world by depicting a frenzied erotic encounter between a man and a shark in his book Maldoror. In creatively summoning a perverse version of what Eugene Thacker calls an ‘affective animal kingdom’, this avant-garde author was challenging the high-humanism of the late nineteenth century as well as the detailed firewalls constructed since the Enlightenment between ourselves and other creatures. (Just as, in the early modern era, John Donne played with such presumptuous boundary policing; designating a flea, in his famous poem of the same name, as a creaturely mediator between the desirous flesh of human lovers.)21 Indeed, the examples of amorous animality are endless – all meditations on the shifting line between human and not. We might even posit animals as playing a totemic role throughout Western history, up to the present, with its own secular and Occidental symbolic functionality and conceptual expedience. (Even as we risk offending the sensibilities of contemporary anthropologists, who tend to harbour a deep suspicion of the term as too monolithic, abstract and inconsistent.) In the philosophic register, Nietzsche assembled an allegorical bestiary to question our self-appointed exceptionalism, and to lament the limits of being ‘human, all too human.’22 Dionysus – the centaur god – became the totem of transcending our sheepish continence in Nietzsche’s Zarathustran system. (In his letters to Lou-Andreas Salomé, Nietzsche would use different animals as figures of his romantic esteem for her, just as he would populate his more public writings with neo-Aesopian avatars.) Of course, where there are totems, there are taboos. The actual practice of ‘loving an animal’ is something beyond the pale for all but the tiniest fraction of the population (even as many women swoon at the very premise of Beauty and the Beast). Clearly there is an erotic frisson introduced by the animal, acknowledged in the popular vernacular (‘He’s a fox’, ‘She’s a tiger’, etc.). But this equivalence draws its power from its metaphoric distance. Any attempt to collapse this gap into the realm of the literal is met with revulsion. (Although I have written elsewhere about Haraway’s provocative wager to bring bestiality into the realm of political and personal possibility.)23 Given the immediate and visceral disgust around any invocation of bestiality, we are remarkably comfortable with calling our human beloved a ‘pet name’ or describing them in terms of animalistic traits. Sexual description is thick and musky with animal analogies, which in turn remind us that we are ourselves animals. Sex is thus a highly charged site, in which we are revealed to be either sub-human (‘the beast with two backs’), or super-human (the angelic couple, mingling in grace) – in any case, not as human as we like to think. (The very term ‘human’ serving as a largely empty and suspended category, produced by negative distinctions processed through a discursive apparatus that Giorgio Agamben calls ‘the anthropological machine’ – that is, the ideological work performed by culture to reinforce the notion that we are the exceptional creature: the animal which is not, or more than.)24 Victorian codes were based on earlier crude distinctions between the noble human soul and the dirty ‘animal’ body. We still live within the inhibiting legacy of these codes today, whenever we consider our real self as somehow transcendental, and trapped in a less-than-human body. (Foucault: ‘The soul is the prison of the body.’) To be treated ‘like an animal’ is a terrible indignity. And yet, rather than treat animals with more compassion and respect, we try to convince others to treat us more ‘like people’, a habit which leaves our anthropocentric instincts intact.

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dominic pettman The psychoanalytic philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle explains that: Sexuality, to the extent that it signified excess . . . brought back into view, in the characteristics of animals, that which escapes all sociality. Animality has thus become, par excellence, that which casts us out of bounds, outside the civilised sphere, the human compact, the polis. Sex was not originally interpreted as an evil, then, but as one of the appetites through which our always latent inhumanity comes to be engulfed. . . . [Thus, shame] comes from our radical doubt about the body, which may betray us at any moment, may tilt us once again toward the inhumanity that is – that is said to be – our common origin. Sex is there to remind us we are inhuman, that any measure taken with respect to desire is a secondary measure susceptible to being forgotten, suspended, eradicated, annihilated.25

Indeed, psychoanalysis provides an especially (one might say) obsessive archive on the ways in which ‘human sexuality’ is either an oxymoron or a tautology, depending on one’s framing or understanding of the phrase. Eric Santner, for instance, reminds us of ‘Freud’s crucial distinction between animal and human sexuality, between instinct and drive’.26 And that, One of Freud’s great insights was that human sexuality, precisely that dimension of human life where we seem to be utterly reduced to animality, is actually the point at which our difference from animals is in some ways most radical.27 From this perspective, ‘what Freud discovers is that human sexuality conforms neither to animal behaviour nor to intentional comportment in the world. Human sexuality is, for Freud, a natural historical phenomenon.’28 This is a very prevalent and seductive idea: that human sexuality is, in fact, inhuman; temporarily dismantling our hardwon psychic structures, but without merely rendering us biological beings. There is thus a kind of alien remainder in the human, which makes us (potentially at least) more abject than the animal – the latter retaining a type of rude dignity, even in its instinctual automaticity.29 Humans, so the logic goes, are the only species which can be captivated by our own fantasies: a captivation which can lead us beyond the ego and into hitherto uncharted existential territory – neither human nor animal.30 This is why Jonathan Lear can say: ‘We can imagine a bird happening to make a nest out of a lady’s shoe; we cannot imagine her getting excited about it.’31 This is also why Octavio Paz can write, ‘The erotic act is a ceremony that is performed behind the back of society and in front of a nature that never contemplates representation. Eroticism is both a fusion with the animal world and a rupture, a separation from that world, an irremediable solitude.’32 One wonders, however, if the psychoanalysts are protesting too much, in painting abject portraits of the sexual subject as somehow ‘lower’ than the animal. (Thus preserving our exceptionalism, albeit in the ‘wrong’ direction.) Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari fashioned a philosophical system designed explicitly to negate what they considered the humanistic and egocentric presumptions of psychoanalysis, tracing affective intensities and networks between different scales and entities: all having their own value, force and import, beyond human utility, intention and interpretation. Such assemblages create dynamic desiring machines, which themselves create alliances

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and valences for reasons which have nothing to do with the Oedipal family unit, and everything to do with capturing and channelling the molecular flows of the universe. (This abstract language was necessary to create a parallel vocabulary at the time of writing, independent of Freudian frames; however, it has since led to something of a cultish jargonscape.) Thus, for Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, ‘animal affection’ is not at all the sentimental love of a pet-owner for her dog, but the kind of ontological resonance afforded by their famous (and often misunderstood) concept of ‘becominganimal’. To become animal, from this position, is not simply to imitate an animal in order to have a brief holiday from being human, but to test – and potentially escape – one’s psychic and existential boundaries via a sympathetic circuit with another creature. (Sympathetic in the pre-modern sense of ‘vibrating with’, not in terms of ‘feeling sorry for.’) ‘[T]here is a circulation of impersonal affects’, they write, ‘an alternate current that disrupts signifying projects as well as subjective feelings, and constitutes a non-human sexuality.’33 Animal affection is, accordingly, the virtual charge created by the potential sharing of traits between beings; rearranging both human and animal within a ‘zone of proximity’. In an oft-cited section, Deleuze and Guattari write: We know nothing about a body until we know what it can do, in other words, what its affects are, how they can or cannot enter into composition with other affects, with the affects of another body, either to destroy that body or to be destroyed by it, either to exchange actions and passions with it or to join with it in composing a more powerful body.34 Deleuze and Guattari have been criticised by some feminist theorists, including Haraway, for valorising wild packs and swarms over the banal pet or quotidian creature. They accuse these two Frenchmen of spinning a macho romance in which wolves are privileged over lapdogs, according to a misguided diagram in which a vague fluxing cosmic multitude has more value than humble and contingent identities or agencies. Certainly there is no shortage of material in the two collaborative books by Deleuze and Guattari to sustain such a charge. Other thinkers, such as Elizabeth Grosz and Rosi Braidotti, however, have shown that certain types of feminist thought and practice can benefit from Deleuzian influence.35 Moreover, some literary texts, retroactively claimed as part of a feminist canon – and which predate the concept of ‘becoming animal’ – already exhibit an understanding of the poetic force of this particular type of interspecies affection.36 Take, for instance, the under-read modernist Djuna Barnes, who writes in Nightwood: Sometimes one meets a woman who is beast turning human. Such a person’s every movement will reduce to an image of a forgotten experience; a mirage of an eternal wedding cast on the racial memory; as insupportable a joy as would be the vision of an eland coming down an aisle of trees, chapleted with orange blossoms and bridal veil, a hoof raised in the economy of fear, stepping in the trepidation of flesh that will become myth; as the unicorn is neither man nor beast deprived, but human hunger pressing its breast to its prey. Such a woman is the infected carrier of the past: before her the structure of our head and jaws ache – we feel that we could eat her, she who is eaten death returning, for only then do we put our face close to the blood on the lips of our forefathers.37

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In this tale of erotic loss and mourning, the key character of Robin Vote – who fascinates and frustrates her various lovers through her uncanny ability to find ‘lines of flight’ away from domestic captivity – ends the novel with a spontaneous process of ‘becoming animal’ (the significance of which is, in typical modernist fashion, elusive yet highly suggestive): Then she [Robin] began to bark also, crawling after him [the dog] – barking in a fit of laughter, obscene and touching. The dog began to cry, running with her, head-on with her head, as if to circumvent her; soft and slow his feet went. He ran this way and that, low down in his throat crying, and she grinning and crying with him; crying in shorter and shorter spaces, moving head to head, until she gave up, lying out, her hands beside her, her face turned and weeping; and the dog too gave up then, and lay down, his eyes bloodshot, his head flat along her knees.38 We might then propose a phenomenon called ‘creaturely love’39 to describe the various ways in which we humans enlist animals as both symbolic and actual mediators.40 Such creatures are not merely allegorical figures or didactic props, but something closer to neo-totemic reminders of our animal heritage, as well as our shared creaturely fate. What we love in our beloved, I argue, precedes and exceeds that abstract element we call the human. Love thus makes us both more and less than human. As I put it in my book on this topic: Whether it is the texture of the beloved’s skin or hair, their singular scent, the way they drool in their sleep, the way they eat with their mouth open, or the way they are trapped within their own Umwelt of semiotic disinhibitors: we love the creaturely in the other, as much as their humanity. In fact, we could go so far as to insist that love is not a human phenomenon at all, but an attempt to make the other admit, under a type of passionate interrogation, that they are not human; never were human; were trying to fool us with their distracting, sophisticated ways. Love would thus be the litmus test which we all fail; and in doing so, ironically succeed. For we all suspect, at various levels of consciousness, that we are not really human. Or not only human. And it is in that twilight between love and lust known as desire that we unmask the pretension of species-being. Which is to say, all human sex is, in fact, bestiality, in the sense that two humans making love are (always already) animals engaged in sexual intercourse.41 It is this latent ‘pagan’ perspective of our own place in the universe that has been lost over the centuries: a loss prompted by the relentless human exceptionalism represented by Christianity and the other main monotheisms (humanity is God’s special child) as well as the latent humanistic readings of Darwin that inform much positivistic science of our own time (humanity is evolution’s special child). Lucretius, the great materialist philosopher-poet, influenced by Epicurean thinking, begins his account of The Nature of Things with an ode to Venus, ‘the life giver’ – which is to say, cosmic affection. The entire animal kingdom is thus depicted as in a passionate thrall, cleaving to life itself, as much as each other: ‘wild beasts and cattle bound over the fat pastures, and swim the racing rivers; so surely enchained by delight

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(capta lepore) each follows thee in hot desire (cupide) whither thou dost hasten to lead him on (inducere pergis)’.42 It is important, then, when considering the notion of ‘animal affection’, to heed the French philosopher Gilbert Simondon, who reminds us that, ‘It is a relatively recent idea to contrast animal and human life, and to see human functions as fundamentally different from animal functions.’43 Returning to the works and example of our first philosophical naturalist, Aristotle, Simondon discusses the distinctive vital faculties shared by all living things. In addition to treptikon, the faculty of growth, ‘there exists to aisthètikon, the faculty of feeling. . . . [which] combines two functions: first aisthèsis, the faculty of experiencing, of feeling, and orexis, the faculty of desire, which is the consequence of aisthèsis, characteristic of the animal’.44 In other words, all animals feel. Which is to say, all animals experience desire, in some form or another. And perhaps we have overstated the case concerning the singularity of our own appetites, as they relate to categories such as experience, imagination, anticipation and so on. (Itself the powerful centralising legacy of Kant.) No doubt the way those feelings feel differs from creature to creature, even within the same species. The desire of the other remains an alien mystery, whether that other be a man, a woman, a cat or a bat. But from the perspective of what we might call an emerging ‘libidinal ecology’, Simondon is uncompromising in insisting that ‘life is the same everywhere’. That is to say, ‘In an oyster, in a tree, in an animal, or in man, life has the same demands.’45 Interesting, then, that even high-humanists such as Lévi-Strauss, who helped engineer the great hermeneutic system of structuralism in order to explain the Archimedean exceptionalism of our own species, could experience moments in which the world is shared, in its naked intimacy, with other creatures, via the open channel of animal affection. As when he finishes his famous anthropological travel book, Tristes Tropiques, with a meditation on: . . . the possibility, vital for life, of unhitching, which consists . . . in grasping, during the brief intervals in which our species can bring itself to interrupt its hive-like activity, the essence of what it was and continues to be, below the threshold of thought and over and above society: in the contemplation of a mineral more beautiful than all our creations; in the scent that can be smelt at the heart of a lily and is more imbued with learning than all our books; or in the brief glance, heavy with patience, serenity and mutual forgiveness, that, through some involuntary understanding, one can sometimes exchange with a cat.46

Notes 1. From ‘In Memoriam A.H.H.’, by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1849). 2. In July 2015, American dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil, a lion in a safari in Zimbabwe. Social media picked up the story, and great outrage was expressed against the hunter (at least until the next scandal arrived in our newsfeeds the following day). 3. Claude Lévi-Strauss, Totemism, trans. Rodney Needham (Merlin Press: London, 1964), p. 89.

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4. The Old Testament is clear that humanity, beginning with Adam, is created in God’s image, so that animals fall under the dominion of men. Noah builds an Ark to save the animals from the great flood, exhibiting a combination of care for the creatures themselves, and a self-interested foresight for salvaging animal resources for a new world. In his excellent book Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status of Animals in the History of Western Philosophy (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), Gary Steiner explains that for ancient figures such as Homer and Hesiod there was no firm dividing line between humans and (other) animals, but rather a continuum (p. 38). Moreover, Pythagoras, in the sixth century bce, ‘espoused an ethic of kinship with animals based on the doctrine of metempsychosis or transmigration of souls’ (p. 45) – a pre-Socratic conception still found, for instance, much later in Ovid. It was Aristotle who really put an end to such ontological affinities, declaring that we cannot have friendship with animals because ‘there is nothing common to the two parties’ (p. 62). 5. For Spinoza, our primary philosophical source for thinking about the meta-emotional force of affection, affect itself denotes the various ways in which bodies influence each other – beyond physics. The forms of such influence, whether enabling or diminishing, all fall under three general types or modes: pleasure, pain, desire. Spinoza’s monist system thus describes how affect articulates different bodies, all emerging from the same ontological substance; so that affect is dispersed and distributed among connected entities, entangled together via (largely) animal affection. See Spinoza’s Ethics in The Collected Writings of Spinoza, vol. 1, trans. Edwin Curley (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985). 6. See Ron Broglio’s rich and suggestive Surface Encounters: Thinking With Animals and Art (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), which works towards a projective or speculative ‘animal phenomenology’. An earlier attempt at picturing or imagining the perception (and by extension, affective state) of an animal – increasingly influential in animal studies – was made by the Estonian biologist Jakob von Uexküll (1864–1944). 7. See Chapter 3 of Martin Heidegger’s The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, trans. Willian McNeil and Nicholas Walker (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995). 8. See especially the Nicomachean Ethics I, and De anima III. 9. See Number 8 of The Duino Elegies. 10. Wittgenstein famously insists that even if a lion were able to speak, we would not understand what he or she was trying to express about their own leonine experience. 11. Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson, Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2010). 12. Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), p. 67. 13. Ibid. p. 4. 14. See Freud’s famous essay ‘On Narcissism’. One of the most famous instances of interanimal affection in the recent critical literature comes courtesy of Jacques Derrida, who confesses to blushing while ‘his’ cat observes the philosopher naked in the bathroom after taking a shower. See Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am, ed. Marie-Louise Mallet, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008). This blush is a physiological index of the capacity for minded bodies to be powerfully affected by the presence of the animal other, especially through the vector of the gaze. The importance of the eye cannot be over-estimated when it comes to inter-subjective affection between species, even as blind people and their service dogs can attest to other ways of intimate cohabitation and communication.

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15. In his provocative article ‘The Family Pet’ (Representations 15 (1986), pp. 121–53), Marc Shell argues that the love of pets in the modern American home is at least partly a displacement mechanism to disavow incestuous urges (relying on a kind of desexualised mode of bestiality, or at least zoophilia). For Shell, The family pet stands both at the borderline between family and nonfamily (i.e., at the borderline between those beings with whom it would be incest to have sexual intercourse and those with whom it would not be incest) and at the borderline between animal and nonanimal or between man and non-man (i.e., at the borderline between those beings which may be eaten and those which may not). Pets stand at the intersection of kin and kind. (p. 137)

16.

17. 18. 19. 20.

21. 22.

23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

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As a consequence, Shell believes that the ideology of pethood ‘helps to conceal even from would-be kindly human beings the brutally inhumane reality of the doctrine of universal (human) brotherhood’ (p. 141); which is shown to be less about absolute, beneficent sympathies, but a method of quarantining different modes of life according to self-interested principles of relative alterity. Born Free, film, dir. James Hill (UK/USA: Open Road Films, 1996); Storm Boy, film, dir. Henri Safran (Australia: South Australian Film Corporation, 1976); Black Beauty, film, dir. Caroline Thompson (USA/UK: Warner Bros, 1994); Free Willy, film, dir. Simon Wincer (USA/France: Warner Bros, 1993); Fly Away Home, film, dir. Carroll Ballard (USA: Columbia Pictures, 1996); Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey, film, dir. Michael Apted (USA: Universal Pictures, 1988). Grizzly Man, film, dir. Werner Herzog (USA: Lions Gate, 2005). For more on this story, and other animal affections, see my Creaturely Love: How Desire Makes Us More and Less than Human (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017). Ron Broglio reminds us that affection towards animals in literature is a minor but consistent theme (for instance, Odysseus’s dog Argos, to give only one example). See Alice Vincent, ‘The Rejection Letters: How Publishers Snubbed 11 Great Authors’, The Telegraph, 5 June 2014, (accessed 28 August 2017). John Donne, ‘The Flea’ (1633). For an excellent discussion of specifics here, see Vanessa Lemm’s Nietzsche’s Animal Philosophy: Culture, Politics, and the Animality of the Human Being (New York: Fordham University Press, 2009). See Chapter 2 of my Human Error: Species Being and Media Machines (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011). See Giorgio Agamben, The Open: Man and Animal, trans. Kevin Attell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004). Anne Dufourmantelle, Blind Date: Sex and Philosophy, trans. Catherine Porter (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007), pp. 29–30 (emphasis added). Eric L. Santner, On Creaturely Life: Rilke, Benjamin, Sebald (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), pp. 30–1. Ibid. Ibid. As Rousseau notes in ‘Last Reply’ in Victor Gourevitch (ed.), ‘The Discourses’ and Other Early Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997): ‘We should not be made to feel so frightened of a purely animal life, nor to regard it as the worst state we might lapse into; for it is still better to resemble a sheep than an evil Angel’ (p. 69).

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30. In The Open, Agamben looks forward to a time when the human and the animal are reconciled, enigmatically under the sign of Eros. In his cryptic account, the species divide will be transcended through ‘sexual fulfilment’ – ‘an element which seems to belong totally to nature but instead everywhere surpasses it’ (p. 83); and which, as such, points the way towards ‘the hieroglyph of a new in-humanity’. Those who work with the notion of animal affect outside continental philosophy, however, usually have little time for such speculative neo-theological poetics. 31. Quoted in Santner, On Creaturely Love, p. 31. Roland Barthes, however, in the Lover’s Discourse: Fragments (London: Penguin, 1990), points to an origin and possible continuity of such fetishistic focus, while also making the traditional distinction between human and others: ‘In the animal world, the release switch of the sexual mechanism is not a specific individual but only a form, a bright-coloured fetish (which is how the Image-repertoire starts up)’ (pp. 90–1). In other words, animals are not yet in the position to sexually admire a single instance of their species, being ‘triggered’ by natural disinhibitors. But Lacanians are fond of saying the same thing about the addict or fetishist. 32. Octavia Paz, An Erotic Beyond: Sade (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1998), p. 17. In Death and Sensuality: A Study of Eroticism and the Taboo (New York: Walker and Company, 1962), Georges Bataille writes: ‘The physical urge is curiously foreign to human life, loosed without reference to it so long as it remains silent and keeps away. The being yielding to that urge is human no longer’ (p. 105). 33. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism & Schizophrenia, trans. and foreword Brian Massumi (London: Athlone Press, 1999), p. 233. 34. Ibid. p. 257. 35. See Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), and Rosi Braidotti, Nomadic Theory: The Portable Rosi Braidotti (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012). 36. See Derek Ryan’s Virginia Woolf and the Materiality of Theory: Sex, Animal, Life (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2013). 37. Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (New York: New Directions, 2006), p. 41. 38. Ibid. p. 180. 39. Anat Pick’s recent work on the animal-human relation has begun to engage with a notion of ‘creaturely love’ manifested, for instance, in the entangled practice of veganism (see ‘Turning to Animals between Love and Law’, New Formations 76 (2012), pp. 68–85). My own version of this concept takes a different approach than hers, however. Pick’s creature is the protagonist of a possible ‘“rehabilitation” of religious discourse’ and ancillary notions of framing (bare) life as post-secular or even saintly; thanks to her interest in the ethico-religious project of Simone Weil, in particular. My understanding of the creature owes more to genealogies and trajectories of immanence, unfolding as far as (in)humanly possible from the whiff of the thurible. 40. The key critical reference here is Santner’s Creaturely Life (see n. 25), a compelling and influential text that tracks specific vectors and sites of power, exposure, jouissance, and infra-humanity in literature and modern(ist) life. For Santner, ‘creaturely life’ essentially designates the type of vitality marked, incited, excited and crippled by exposure to the capricious sovereignty of the Big Other. It takes a different path to my own work, however, in terms of the exceptionalism or location of the key category. Where Santner reserves the creaturely as an agonistic space only for the compromised human to fall into, as it were (since it is created by the law and the symbolic), I would prefer to consider it as a place in which all creatures might find themselves, no matter how fleetingly, or how differently – for better or for worse. In other words, Santner’s ‘creaturely life’ is a form of life suffered (and perversely enjoyed) only by ‘artists formerly known as human’. In contrast, I see ‘creaturely love’ as a mode of existence that cannot be used to ontologically privilege ourselves, even

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41.

42.

43. 44. 45.

46.

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in a negative light. My concept refuses to reinforce an assumed gulf between us and other beings; even as it seeks to avoid collapsing all creatures into some kind of fantastic cosmopolitan multitude. Rather, it invites all manner of singular and situated entanglements and confusions, hopefully avoiding any (ultimately reassuring) pathos of a latent and abject humanism. (For more on this distinction, see Chapter 3 of my Human Error.) The lyrical anthropologist Alphonso Lingis pushes this further in his poetic piece ‘Animal Body, Inhuman Face’, in Cary Wolfe (ed.), Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003). Here he argues that all sex is bestiality, since ‘when we make love with someone of our own species, we also make love with the horse and the calf, the kitten and the cockatoo, the powdery moths and the lustful crickets’ (171). Quoted in James I. Porter, ‘Love of Life: Lucretius to Freud’, Erotikon: Essays on Eros, Ancient and Modern (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), p. 117. In a different register, Uexküll would call this shared creaturely passion ‘the love tone’. See Jakob von Uexküll, A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans: With A Theory of Meaning, trans. Joseph D. O’Neil. Introduction by Dorion Sagan (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010). Gilbert Simondon, Two Lessons on Animal and Man, trans. Drew S. Burk (Minneapolis: Univocal, 2011), p. 32. Ibid. pp. 44–5. Ibid. p. 51. In medieval times, this democratic ontological position – or ‘flat ontology’ – was known as ‘univocity’ (referring to the single ‘voice’ of being), and was considered a heresy, since it did not place God at the pinnacle nor necessarily credit a single divine source. Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques, trans. John and Doreen Weightman (London and New York: Penguin, 1992), pp. 414–15.

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3 Animation Timothy Morton

I think Crab, my dog, be the sourest-natured dog that lives: my mother weeping, my father wailing, my sister crying, our maid howling, our cat wringing her hands, and all our house in a great perplexity, yet did not this cruel-hearted cur shed one tear: he is a stone, a very pebble stone, and has no more pity in him than a dog. (William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2.3. 4–10)

A

dog is a stone. The tautology in Shakespeare’s passage itself has the opacity of a stone: a dog has the meagre pity of . . . a dog. A way to insult someone is to call them inanimate (‘Ye are men of stone’, King Lear). So perhaps Shakespeare is half implying that the dog is a someone, a person, at any rate, despite his lack of pity. But this depends upon a pre-established hierarchy in which dogs might not be people – a sign of which might be this dog’s incapacity for pity. Furthermore, people could be stones, without animation at all. And this might have real consequences. ‘[W]hen Dickens’s favourite cat died in 1862, the son of Williamina (named after Shakespeare until she had kittens), Dickens preserved only his paw and had it turned into a letter opener.’1 None of this is saying anything great about what we think about the beings we awkwardly call animals. The philosophical approach known as object-oriented ontology (OOO) agrees, OOO being a new development in philosophy that allows any entity whatsoever to have capacities and qualities generally associated only with humans in the long history of Western anthropocentric thought. This is why, moreover, OOO also asserts that none of this is saying anything great about what we think of the beings we perhaps even more awkwardly call inanimate or, indeed, objects. The ‘object’ in the phrase ‘object-oriented ontology’ is a provocation. OOO is not about reducing things to (our preformatted idea of) objects. Quite the opposite. If we are going to talk about animals, we need to talk about the notion of animacy. Materialist reductionism puts the notion of the animate under pressure – it’s notoriously difficult to get to life from some conception of inanimate matter, hence the currently intractable debate between cybernetic and metabolic explanations for the origins of the first single-celled organism. The passage from non-life to life is the one thing that materialist thought cannot explain without resorting to vaguely religious language about emergence or wholes being greater than their parts. And with greater justification, contemporary science blurs and in some instances erases the teleological categories of animal, vegetable and mineral. In this essay, I seek to revive it, perhaps in a less vitalist form, but still in a way that is better than avoiding the problem

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altogether. Because the question of being ‘alive’ is truly problematic, as much recent philosophy has shown. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that animacy doesn’t exist. That would also be too simplistic, for reasons I shall show. The chapter will follow a stepwise procedure in which we slowly walk ‘downwards’ towards the most fundamental ontological level. It is now very difficult to draw a thin rigid boundary between categories such as conscious and non-conscious. From this we proceed to sentient and non-sentient, and then to life versus non-life. We shall see that in each case, the region between each category is neither thin nor rigid. What we are dealing with is an uncanny zone of spectral beings whose status is radically ambiguous. This is because below the level of life and non-life is the region between existing and not-existing. As we shall see, this region defies the logical law of the excluded middle in such a way that all entities ‘shimmer’ in an ambiguous play between being and appearing. This shimmering is what we can call animation, since there is no mechanism pushing objects; they are shimmering all by themselves. In this sense, all entities whatsoever are ‘alive’, and we now have a minimal, lowkey definition of that life that satisfies the scientific stringencies of modernity. The procedure we have used to get here is object-oriented ontology (OOO).

Conscious and Non-Conscious Plenty of social policy and some animal rights theories depend on a distinction between being conscious and not being conscious. For instance, Marx distinguishes between humans and non-humans insofar as humans have imagination, while non-humans don’t. Thus ‘the best of bees’ will always be worse than ‘the worst of architects’.2 The architect plans and imagines, while the bee simply executes an algorithm. Sensing that the time for unquestioned anthropocentrism is over, some Marxists nervously gloss the passage to mean something about workers (the bees) and the bourgeoisie (the architect).3 But this is hardly pleasant for the worker: how are they supposed to foment a revolution if they are blind pre-programmed robots? And it isn’t any better for the bee. There are many ways in which we could prove or disprove Marx’s assertion. We could begin with science. We could, for instance, set up an experiment that would prove that bees have something like imagination. Perhaps we could find out whether or not they did things that seem to us to be indexical signs of consciousness, such as hesitating, planning, circumspecting and so on. It turns out that all these experiments have been tried, and that bees and other insects have passed them.4 We could choose a far more efficient route, a route that didn’t depend on preformatted notions of consciousness. This would be the philosophical route. What we might do is to wonder, am I myself conscious? How can I go about proving that decisively? If I can’t prove it decisively, we can’t distinguish between an architect and a bee this way, because the difference between being conscious and being non-conscious is either thick and populated with anomalies, or completely nonexistent. On the latter view, there is no difference between a human and a bee, because both architects and bees are executing algorithms, behaviours that appear to others (or indeed to themselves) to be like consciousness. But this might require that we prove that everything can be explained by reducing things to organised matter, or something like that. This isn’t so great for the bee either, nor indeed for the architect. So we should be disappointed if

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this is true. Luckily, however, it’s not as easy as it looks in our scientistic age. Consider the belief called psychologism, which holds that logical sentences are symptoms of healthy brains. In order for this to be true, we have to know what a healthy brain is, and presumably our accurate descriptions of this healthy brain will be logically sound – in which case we have an infinite regress.5 What we need to show requires no beliefs. We simply need to show that we can’t decisively prove that humans are conscious. Perhaps the idea that we are conscious, even the supposed sensation of being conscious, is the kind of software that we humans are programmed to execute. We can never check in advance, because we are using our consciousness to check our consciousness. So we end up with something like paranoia, which is the default Cartesian mode of (human) existing: I might be a puppet.6 I might be an android, but I can’t ever be sure. Descartes gets out of the paranoia by asserting that a good god would never do something as mean as that. But this is just a belief. The default state of being a person is being paranoid as to whether one is a person or not. There is a deep reason for this. Unless we consider consciousness to be something like the medieval Christian soul, a nonmaterial being somehow residing in a material one like a vapour in a bottle, it becomes impossible to sustain a difference between a sentence such as My mind has settled on the cup and one such as The cup is resting on the table. But considering consciousness to be like the medieval soul is just a belief: there is no way to prove it or disprove it.

Sentient and Non-Sentient The traditional modern assertion is that humans ‘act’ while animals only ‘behave’. But this isn’t sustainable. There appears to be no easy way to make sure that humans are different from non-humans insofar as they are conscious. But what about sentience? Surely we can distinguish between lifeforms that are sentient and lifeforms that aren’t? Again, such a distinction depends upon a whole set of beliefs. Science goes to work on the basis of some preformatted concept (that is to say, a belief insofar as it isn’t and can’t be questioned within science. Since this is the case, we need to figure out whether the belief that some lifeforms are sentient and some aren’t holds up. We might for instance draw the line between ‘animals’ and ‘plants’, holding that ‘animals’ are sentient while ‘plants’ are not. I put these terms in quotation marks because they are becoming less and less tenable the more we know about lifeforms. Is the concept of animal, which gives us the terms animacy and animation, strictly true in any sense? Sentience and movement would be good phenomena with which to observe animacy. We might define both as depending on having a nervous system. But as we are now beginning to see, you don’t need a nervous system made of axons and ganglia (and so on) to be sentient. Science is showing that ‘plants’ can also sense and move.7 We can then move to something less empirical. It turns out that it’s very hard to define sentience without some supervening notion of consciousness, and we have already ruled that out as a thin bright criterion. We can’t define sentience ‘upwards’, in other words, so we might try to define it ‘downwards’ as, perhaps, the capacity to be affected by phenomena and to transmit those affects in some sense. But this only begs the question. A transducer is affected by energy and transmits that affect in the form of another kind of energy. For instance, pressure waves are converted by a certain group

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of cells in the inner ear into electrochemical signals that can be interpreted as sound by the brain. Strangely, these cells are in fact evolved from plant cells, the only plant cells in one’s body. They are found in the roots of trees and they sense changes in pressure, which might be very useful for trees. So, on this view, trees are sentient. This isn’t because of some scientific factoid (although for now the factoid about one’s inner ear definitely helps), but because we can’t distinguish thoroughly between sentience and being affected by . . . and transmitting that affect. In the same way, movement might be defined ‘upwards’ as deliberate motion, but we have already ruled consciousness out as an arbiter of these things. Trees move in the wind; I move to techno. We both grow. ‘Plants’ avoid obstacles by moving so slowly we need stop-motion technology to see them in ‘normal’ human time. I move quite obviously (to myself). Which one of us is being deliberate? Remember you can’t defer to consciousness in your explanation. So non-human ‘animals’ might be conscious, and non-‘animal’ non-humans might be sentient. Proving that they are definitely sentient or definitely non-sentient would require starting from some belief about sentience that involved us in a bad circularity. So it’s better to say that there is a thick, weird region between sentience and nonsentience in which we see all kinds of phenomena that are like sentience. What we are doing as we multiply differences and expand thin rigid boundaries into thick ambiguous regions is very much akin to deconstruction, whose mission has been to multiply differences by working away at metaphysical concepts. We can’t point directly to consciousness or to sentience, which is different from saying that those things don’t exist. What it means is that whatever they are, they are not constantly present: otherwise we would be able to point to them. When biology and speculative philosophy about lifeforms go to work, what we find is that we can’t hold on to a metaphysics of presence.

Alive or Dead But surely we can tell which beings are lifeforms as such? Even if we can’t say that some are conscious or sentient while some are not, or that some move and some don’t, surely we can say that they are alive? But this is just what we can’t do. Defining life in a thin and rigid way is exactly what biology rules out. Biology, the search for an underlying logos of life, is precisely the discipline that undermines the very idea of life. We find that lifeforms come from other lifeforms (evolution) and we find that life comes from nonlife: chemicals such as polymers, which is to say amino acids, proteins and so on. We find that ‘come from’ means that the region between life and non-life is neither thin nor rigid. Consider a virus. A virus is a protein-encapsulated string of RNA or DNA. It sits around waiting for a host, then it sends the host a message that causes the host to reproduce the virus. Is a virus alive? On this definition, a computer virus is also alive. A computer virus sits around waiting for some user to download it, whereupon it sends instructions to the user’s machinery to malfunction in some way, for instance by making many copies of itself. I am happier with the idea that a computer virus is alive in some less-than-metaphysical sense than I would be with the idea that nothing is alive, that everything is made of ‘dead matter’.8 Such a phrase does seem to beg the question again that we know what ‘dead’ means, and thus what ‘alive’ means, in advance. It seems cognitively and logically more energy-efficient to suppose

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that things are ‘alive’ in some less glamorous sense than we normally suppose. Perhaps we could say that things are equally undead. By the time we are saying things like that, we are not only talking about humans and bees. We are not only talking about humans and bees versus kelp and pine trees (or indeed oyster mushrooms). We are now talking about spoons, quasars and paintings of oyster mushrooms. We are even talking about thoughts and sentences. Return to what was said about cups and tables and consciousness and souls. To recap: the sentence My mind has settled on the dust isn’t that different from The dust has settled on the shelf. It is only different if we cleave to an unsustainable metaphysical belief in a medieval soul, an idea that cannot be proved or disproved. Unfortunately, this idea is retweeted in Descartes’ cogito and ideas of self and consciousness after Descartes, despite that philosopher’s insistence that he is not relying on belief at all. It shouldn’t be too difficult to ascertain how this line of thinking has already ruled out a rigid distinction between being alive and being not-alive.9 This in turn gives rise to the Cartesian paranoia that is the default condition of being a person, without metaphysical constructs: I suspect that I might be a puppet, in other words, an ‘undead’ zombie whose status as ‘alive’ as opposed to ‘not-alive’ is precisely in question. The problem with the notion of animation is that it gathers within itself a long history of Christian thought on the anima, the soul. But it is precisely this soul that is denied to non-humans, sentient or not. An animal is a being that is alive, yet without a soul, and an animal thus reveals an unsustainable fissure within the very concept of animation.

Stillness and Movement, Moving Still Are these ambiguities to do with the fact that we don’t, or can’t, know everything? Or are they because of some deep fact about reality that is true no matter how much we know? I think it is the latter, and I think it has to do with a more simple sense of anima, in other words a sense of movement. We distinguish metaphysically between movement and stillness. But is this really the case? We can probe this thought without extra beliefs or scientistic factoids, simply by examining the deep hesitation I presented in the paragraph that concludes the previous section. Martin Heidegger’s project in Being and Time was precisely to study what being human might mean without supervening concepts of animacy. Heidegger ascribes the term Dasein to human beings precisely because he can’t say that they are ‘souls’ or otherwise ‘animated’ with a straight face. What he doesn’t consider is that by thinking this way, the notion of the human is drastically attenuated – indeed the notion of the human is eliminated if ‘human’ means ‘rigidly different from a non-human’. This is precisely what cannot be sustained, and Heidegger knows this in other places. After all, he is the one who gives us the idea that ‘language speaks man’ and so on, the fodder for a thousand theory classes.10 Dasein cannot be confined to humans without suppressing a huge amount of contemporary knowledge, and without blocking many of the more fruitful implications of Heidegger’s own thought, implications that he was notoriously loath to pursue. It would be easier, cognitively more energy-efficient, requiring less metaphysical constructs, to allow everything to have Dasein, without regard to animacy, that is to say, consciousness, sentience or ‘life’. Hammers can have it. Frogs can have it. Quasars

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can have it. Gamma ray bursts emitted by quasars can have it. Just as the Aristotelian anima is for Thomas Aquinas what can ‘come together’ with other beings, so a hammer can come together with a nail.11 A quasar can come together with a gamma ray burst. And what is this Dasein? Precisely an ambiguity to do with stillness and movement. A vibrating-in-place, a vibration that is place, a smeared-out-ness that doesn’t happen ‘in’ time but rather that is time, that structures time. Dasein is not metaphysically present, and we have just seen that nothing else is, either. Heidegger is well aware of this at one level, which is why he argues that there is a difference between being ‘present at hand’ and just happening, this happening being withdrawn (Entzug) from presence.12 This difference affects hammers as much as it affects Donald Trump, and so it must also affect chimpanzees and microbes. Dasein, ‘being-there’, doesn’t mean being somewhere I can point to directly, but quite the opposite – a floating, hesitant flickering that constitutes time as such. Being-there is what I can’t point to. But Heidegger still mindlessly adheres to an anthropocentric copyright control on the notion of Dasein. (And in particular, a certain kind of German human is supposed to have the best Dasein of all, which is the most absurd contradiction of his very own argument that one could ever have come up with.) Humans make things real by involving them in their projects. But so does dust. The dust makes the table real, in dust mode. The table makes the dust real, in a table-ish kind of way. In turn this means that dust and tables (and chickens and sponges) are always already existent in some sense ‘before’ they are ‘realised’ by some other entity. This is the part of the argument that Heidegger implies, but skips over, the part that now calls itself object-oriented ontology. And what existence is this? Why, it must be Dasein – because we have ruled out the possibility that existing means being capable of being pointed to directly. Hammers and octopuses are also smeared out, they also structure time, they ‘have’ temporality. Everything has Dasein, which is to say in a way that everything is ‘alive’ in a strange, non-animist sense, a way that doesn’t rely on an unsustainable metaphysics of animation. Dasein isn’t special at all, but rather the condition of possibility for being a thing in the first place. Another way of saying this is that I am advocating a ‘weak’ realism. An OOO object is ‘sort of’ what it is. There is an intrinsic gap between being and appearing, such that existing means that you are a little bit different from yourself. To exist is to have such a gap: a thing is an irreducible crack in the fabric of reality. Moreover, this gap cannot be located anywhere in ontically given spacetime. Deconstruction ruthlessly showed how introducing some kind of dotted line that I could cut to separate being and appearing is strictly impossible, such that trying to do so is inherently violent. Plato himself uses a telling image of butchery. One has to be like a skilful butcher to separate the eidos from its appearances.13 But this presupposes that to be a thing is to be a dead animal, in some sense. Who or what killed it? What killed it, other than the metaphysics of presence, for which to exist is to be some kind of purely extensional lump – this long, that dense, this duration – decorated with accidents? What killed it, other than the more sophisticated upgrade of the metaphysics of presence, in which to exist is to be an effect of some other entity, such as perception, or the (inevitably human) subject, or (inevitably human) history, or human economic relations, Will, will to power, Dasein and so forth? (The upgrade,

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otherwise known as correlationism, tends also to rely on a lump ontology, though it usually obscures this fact.)14 Being something is more like being an abyss than being a cathedral. The UK seaside town of Brighton is famous for its Brighton rock, a peppermint tube about a foot long and about an inch in diameter. The word ‘Brighton’ (or some variant) is inscribed in pink all the way down the tube, so that when you suck it, you constantly see ‘Brighton’. This is exactly how things aren’t. To be Timothy Morton means precisely not to have ‘Timothy Morton’ inscribed throughout my entire structure. I am a vector for all kinds of thoughts and fantasies that are independent of ‘my’ mind. I contain a microbiome without which I would cease to exist. This microbiome has far more cells than there are Timothy Morton cells in a strict sense. Mitochondria, our energy cells, are bacterial symbionts with their own DNA. And so on. All these empirical examples are symptoms of a fundamental ontological imbalance in my being, without which I couldn’t possibly exist. What OOO advocates is a weird essentialism in which Timothy Morton is not Justin Bieber, a strawberry is not an octopus; but the strawberry is not your granddaddy’s strawberry, constantly present beneath its appearances. Deconstruction and OOO both assert, in their different ways, that things are haunted by a strange, spectral double as a condition of possibility for existing at all. There is forgiveness, but only because there is the impossible possibility of forgiving the unforgivable. There is hospitality, but only because there is the impossible possibility of welcoming an absolutely hostile guest. There is an octopus, but only because it squirts out a dissembling ontological ink that causes the octopus to be unspeakably withdrawn. To welcome so-called ‘animals’ (like Derrida I have a very strong aversion to this term) on the inside of social space, which is where they already are, is to have welcomed, always already, the spectrality that haunts a thing as a possibility condition for its existence. Such a spectrality uncannily prevents us from drawing rigid and thin distinctions between human and non-human, conscious and non-conscious, sentient and nonsentient, life and nonlife – because we are prevented from drawing a thin rigid distinction between existing and not-existing. Such a spectrality also prevents us from blurring these categories together entirely. Such a blurring would only create another metaphysically present entity, some kind of fudge that reduces our anxiety about the spectral by eliminating the duality that generates the spectrality in the first place. To welcome ecological beings is to welcome the undead, the paranormal, the poltergeist. If Marxism, for instance, is going to welcome non-humans into its revolutionary projects, it will need to welcome the spectral dancing table.15 A spectre haunts the spectre of anthropocentric communism: the spectre of non-humans. The spectral essentialism of OOO is now capable of being formalised, in some ways, by physical science. When an object is isolated from other objects and cooled down so that it is as still as possible, we observe it still moving. This phenomenon is now observable in entities massively larger than the traditional quantum objects such as electrons. A tiny mirror, for instance, tiny but visible to the naked eye, can be cooled down towards absolute zero – where in classical physics none of its parts is moving at all – and isolated in a vacuum – where in classical physics no motion is possible because the object is not being pushed (that is, it isn’t subject to mechanical causality). Nevertheless, in these very conditions, the tiny mirror emits infrared light.16 Classical physics requires an object to be pushed in some way in order for such a thing to happen. Electricity heats up the water

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in my kettle, causing the electrons to jump to higher orbits, giving rise to what we call boiling: according to classical physics, the electromagnetic waves are pushing the atoms in the water. Boiling water emits energy. But nothing is pushing the mirror in order for it to emit energy. It vibrates all by itself. Objects shimmer without mechanical input. This sounds very strange, but without this spectral motion, movement would be very difficult to explain: how do things begin to move at all? Without the shimmering, an object’s movement becomes suspiciously subject to Zeno’s paradoxes, because a constantly present thing can be infinitesimally subdivided, as can the constantly present space through which it is supposed to be moving. If, however, space and time are results of an intrinsic shimmering, we have all the ontological gasoline we need for movement to happen. Some philosophers want to get rid of movement precisely because the default metaphysics of presence under which we labour makes movement an unsustainable paradox. But it seems intuitively true that things are moving. Stillness and quietness are – as Heidegger and Sigmund Freud remind us in different ways – kinds of movement. Shimmering consists of being ever so slightly different from yourself: appearing and disappearing, hiding and revealing, vibrating and not-vibrating, at the very same time. A tiny tuning fork in a vacuum close to absolute zero is vibrating and not vibrating simultaneously.17 Either this cannot be happening, because it defies the logical ‘law’ of noncontradiction, or there is something wrong with this law: it might be possible to bend or break it under certain circumstances. Branches of logic have evolved (paraconsistent logics, for instance) that can cope with such phenomena.18 Either we can cope with them logically, or they are outside logic – and reason belongs to the mechanists. This latter option seems vanishingly unlikely, given the inconsistencies and paradoxes that haunt mechanistic causality theories. Consider the black body radiation problem that required quantum theory to solve it. Calculations of a sealed oven’s energy state will reach infinity above a certain temperature if the energy is assumed to consist of waves acting mechanically rather than being quantised into little wave packets, as Max Planck advised. Quantum ‘mechanics’ is badly named; some theoretical physicists insist that it is a ‘non-mechanics’ for the reasons given here.19 Claude Lévi-Strauss distinguishes between axes and horses. He argues that horses can make more of themselves, while axes can’t. This seems to favour beings such as horses. But on closer inspection, Lévi-Strauss isn’t being generous to non-humans at all. The rigid distinction he makes between animate and inanimate beings clears the way for readily reproducing the anthropocentric distinction between human and nonhuman beings. If we are going to allow porpoises and nematode worms the ecological and political significance that would restrain human violence towards non-humans, we need to allow things such as axes to have some kind of agency. And in turn this means that such an agency cannot simply be mechanical, the result of being pushed: such a world eliminates the paradox of movement by asserting that everything is dead, when it comes down to it. Unfortunately for those of us who think that we have achieved escape velocity from a first peoples ontology (idealised and demonised as ‘animism’), agency must be thought in a non-mechanical sense, so that even when a thing is all alone, it is shimmering without mechanical input. How thought thinks about entities such as axes (and software and traffic systems) is an index of how it really feels about entities such as humpback whales. Accommodating such entities, in the end, means accommodating the phenomena that modernity

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has unleashed and policed and denied since its inception: the phenomena we call paranormal. Because to exist is to para-exist. This means that we require a modal logic to think non-humans in a nonviolent way, a logic of sort of true and perhaps: a logic in which you can be kind of right, just as in quantum theory (and in the practical case of a special switch called a qubit) you can be on and off at the same time, as well as regular old on and off. Otherwise we are simply retweeting the metaphysics of presence and its stiff logic, even when we deny such things, for instance when we assert that thinking the animal means operating outside of logic altogether. It is perfectly reasonable – more reasonable, in fact – to allow tiny mirrors to shimmer and axes to move without human hands. Bring on the dancing tables.

Notes 1. Jenny Pyke, ‘Charles Dickens and the Cat Paw Letter Opener’, 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 6 (2008), p. 1. 2. Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1, trans. Ben Fowkes (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990), pp. 283–4. 3. Timothy Morton, interview with Douglas Lain, ‘Hyperobjects and the New Neurotic Ecology’, The North Star, (accessed 28 August 2017). 4. Jessica Morrison, ‘Bees Build Mental Maps to Get Home’, Nature News, 2 June 2014, (accessed 28 August 2017). See also T. Sasaki and S. C. Pratt, ‘Ants Learn to Rely on More Informative Attributes during Decision-Making’, Biology Letters 9:6 (2013); DOI: 10.1098/ rsbl.2013.0667; David McNamee, ‘Rats “Experience Regret, Too”’, Medical News Today, 9 June 2014, (accessed 28 August 2017). 5. Edmund Husserl, ‘Prolegomena to Pure Logic’, in Logical Investigations, ed. Dermot Moran, trans. J. N. Findlay (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 1–161. 6. René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, trans. Donald A. Cress (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993), pp. 16–17. 7. Daniel Chamovitz, What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013). 8. This is Quentin Meillassoux’s phrase: ‘Iteration, Reiteration, Repetition: A Speculative Analysis of the Sign Devoid of Meaning’, in Armen Avanessian and Suhail Malik (eds), Genealogies of Speculation (London: Bloomsbury, 2016). 9. Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. Joan Stambaugh (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996), pp. 21–2, pp. 85–8. 10. Martin Heidegger, ‘Language’, in Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), pp. 187–210. 11. Heidegger, Being and Time, p.12. 12. Ibid. p. 65. 13. Plato, Phaedrus, 55; 265e, (accessed 28 August 2017). 14. Martin Heidegger, What Is a Thing?, trans. W. B. Barton and Vera Deutsch, analysis by Eugene T. Gendlin (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1967). On correlationism, see Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency, trans. Ray Brassier (New York: Continuum, 2009), p. 5. 15. Timothy Morton, ‘Specters of Ecology’, in Erich Hörl (ed.), General Ecology (New York: Fordham University Press, 2016).

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16. Amir H. Safavi-Naeini, Jasper Chan, Jeff T. Hill, T. P. Mayer Alegre, Alex Krause and Oskar Painter, ‘Observation of Quantum Motion of a Nanomechanical Resonator’, Physical Review Letters, art. 033602, 17 January 2012. 17. Aaron D. O’Connell, M. Hofheinz, M. Ansmann, Radoslaw C. Bialczak, M. Lenander, Erik Lucero, M. Neeley, D. Sank, H. Wang, M. Weides, J. Wenner, John M. Martinis and A. N. Cleland, ‘Quantum Ground State and Single Phonon Control of a Mechanical Ground Resonator’, Nature 464 (17 March 2010), pp. 697–703. 18. Graham Priest, In Contradiction: A Study of the Transconsistent (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). 19. For instance, David Bohm and Basil Hiley. See The Undivided Universe: An Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Theory (London: Routledge, 1995).

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4 The Anthropocene Kathryn Yusoff and Mary Thomas

The human is but a momentary blip in a history and cosmology that remains fundamentally indifferent to this temporary eruption. What kind of new understanding of the humanities would it take to adequately map this decentering that places man back within the animal, within nature, and within a space and time that man does not regulate, understand, or control? (Elizabeth Grosz)1

The Ends of Man and the Beginnings of the Cosmos

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he scientific proposal of a new epoch of Earth history – the Anthropocene – puts the ‘Anthropos’ or Man firmly at the centre of dynamic earth systems, and once again brings the concept of the human and its modes of differentiation to the fore. Non-human (animal) and inhuman (geology and cosmology) forces constitute the construction site of the human as both a material and conceptual being. Within the context of evolution and the pragmatics of earthly cohabitation on a busy and volatile planet, animal boundaries and inhuman indifference maintain and organise the borders of the human differentiation. The material and conceptual differences (from the perceptual range of sense organs to the size of organisms) are used to marshal the forms of human social reproduction as a distinctive, if not exceptional, mode of production within animal and plant life, even as there is the recognition that these broader planetary forces of non-human and inhuman life underpin the very plane on which such reproductions take place (socially, sexually, chemically, biologically, geologically and psychically). Narratives about the ‘place’ of the human in taxonomic, philosophic, cognitive, sensory and evolutionary orders are all constructed within this contested terrain of non-human and inhuman forces, and the understanding of their relational forms and constitutive materialities. The pull of non-human forces is a provocation for life even as the push of their disordering qualities (from volcanic eruptions and viral infections to blips and strikes in cosmic history) generates an ongoing question of convergence in the human; a question of belonging that rumbles through every aspect of social and scientific knowledge, and is precisely made in the Anthropocene diagnosis of planetary precarity. Each new knowledge act (or ‘discovery’) in the Life and Earth Sciences continues to complicate the distinctions between inhuman, non-human and human entities, even as these are often the disciplines shoring up the notion of incontestable natural entities

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through descriptive and spatial acts; acts that often foreclose the decentring of Man through the rationality of epistemic orderings. Whether ordering the world around the human as planetary ‘type’ specimen in a geologic epoch or structuring taxonomic impulses from a particular (human) point in time and space, these epistemic acts often seek to confer human exceptionalism on this human-animal. Science and its popular representations are both arbiter and organiser of the field in which these boundarycrossing questions take place. In a refusal of this power of arbitration, the philosopher Quentin Meillassoux asks us to imagine, in Science Fiction and Extro-Science Fiction, what are the consequences of thinking through the concrete possibilities and consequences of cosmological chaos if human beings could no longer resort to science to ground their knowledge and existence (a world where human beings survive but science does not).2 While science organises the human as the centre and counter point of knowledge, the place and materiality of the human, as Elizabeth Grosz argues, is not limited by the frame of human experience or knowledge and reaches far into understandings of the temporality of the cosmos and through the minutiae of the desired forms of reproduction. Thereby social and scientific questions are conjoined in ways that far exceed scientific knowledge and analysis. As Grosz argues, a new modality of the humanities is required which dislodges and shakes this historical, material and patriarchal authority that keeps Man firmly at the centre of the scene. What, for example, would this decentring of Man allow in terms of a mode of thought that did not immediately consider the question of its own survival as the conceptual frame for posing the problem of critical ecologies in the Anthropocene? That would be to imagine all social processes and biological conceptions through their geophysical contexts, and all its chemical, chaotic and cosmic residues rather than through those of the human. Attending to the changed place of the human in both non-human and inhuman contexts, Grosz argues: A new humanities becomes possible once the human is placed in its properly inhuman context. And a humanities that remains connected not only to the open varieties of human life (open in terms of gender, sex, class, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and so on) but also to the open varieties of life (its animal and plant forms) is needed, one that opens itself to ethologies and generates critical ecologies.3 Thus, the formation of critical ecologies can only emerge once the openness of nonhuman and inhuman contexts within ethology displaces the centrality of Man in favour of a more materially and conceptually expansive account of planetary relations. While Grosz calls for a new humanities that unshackles its attachment to the importance of the human as an exceptional being in the universe, the discourse of the Anthropocene both anticipates her call in the consideration of planetary scope, and simultaneously reinserts the Man as the auteur of planetary agency (without shaking the authority of that position). Yet, if Earth History teaches us anything, it is that extinction is without end (teleologically or otherwise). The proponents of the Anthropocene in the sciences proudly announce the new age of the ‘Geology of Mankind’ as one that can be objectively substantiated by the impact of humans on key stratigraphic markers, from earth flows such as nitrogen and carbon to fossil deposits and radioactive markers in the soil to mining scars left in stone. Of course, we should be wary of restricting the Anthropocene to a scientific neologism,

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as it makes broad claims to the human ‘capture’ of geologic force and time; thereby signifying a field of human meaning within the extinction events of evolution and the indifference of cosmic time. Indeed, in these strange times of the Anthropocene and the shabby global exhibits of radioactive traces, plastic oceans, nitrogen disruptions and climate combustions, the earth itself is being declared a new museum of humanity, defined through the impacts of social life on geologic strata. The possession of a planetary geomorphic force raises implicit questions of human agency within inhuman forces, in concert with the violent impacts of human activities on other biotic subjects. But in ‘The Age of Mammals’ questions are often presupposed, not themselves interrogated, about biologic forms of collective survival and modes of extinction. Not only does the Anthropocene install the ‘Anthropos’ as a central figure of narration in this self-designated epoch, it also presumes that life does indeed need to be preserved in its current forms, and that species-thinking is a means by which to achieve this. To reformulate Grosz’s question, what would the Anthropocene look like considered not from the point of view of one species and its survival, or even from a concern with life, but instead understood through its inhuman forces; inhuman forces that subtend life and all possible configurations, from the geophysics of the planet to the wide array of contemporaneous animals and biota? Unlike Michel Foucault’s figuration of Man as a recent historical invention drawn in the sand who will be wiped away by the coming tide, the Anthropocene seeks a reversal in that flow to establish Man as universal planetary ground. Disregarding Foucault’s claim that ‘one thing in any case is certain: man is neither the oldest nor the most constant problem posed for knowledge’, the discourse of the Anthropocene both reignites a latent humanism and reinstates a linear historical narrative based on casual determination. Humans or Homo sapiens, in this, their last epoch, have laid down their stratigraphic trace with wild abandon and across a wide array of biotic subjects, stamping insistent marks of presence on organism development and initiating prodigious extinction rates directly in regimes of killing and letting die, or indirectly through the bonds of shared exposures to environmental conditions and toxicity. The naming of the Anthropocene in turn represents how Man has inscribed these marks, such as toxicity, extraction, extinction and pollution, as permanent monuments through planetary relations. In the recognition of the ‘achievement’ of this reach through the bio-, atmo-, hydro- and litho- sphere, the excess of human activities increasingly becomes scripted and purposeful, and the undoing of humanity can be branded into a lasting marker of Man’s eternal achievements in time in the real-time geological project of the Anthropocene. Coming at the tail end of a century and a half of the conceptual frameworks that carry forward a biological conception of life as the agential power on earth, the Anthropocene raises several important challenges for the reconceptualisation of both hominid and animal life within the context of inorganic ‘life’ or dead matter. What once seemed like a deeply naturalised conversation about how to preserve and generate life’s flourishing seems now to be wilfully neglectful of the material conditions that subtend life’s possibilities in the first instance, and demonstrates an inattentiveness to how those conditions propel its continuance in the future. The presumption of life’s priority and its sphere of control establish the epistemic hierarchies of life and nonlife, as well as the material boundaries of the categorisation that separates these forces out. This partition in the agency and exceptionalism of life has generated ‘dead’ categories

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of inhuman life that are taken as incidental to the narrative of life itself. Whether conceptualised as mere standing stock to be extracted without consequence or as conceptual outside to social relations that is unknown and unknowable, the geophysical context of life has been under-theorised and materially overlooked. Furthermore, Anthropocene narratives propagate understandings of species life, a ‘Geologic Age of Mankind’ (in the words of Paul Crutzen) that comprehends a human species-based universal actor, unifying agency across human difference to establish the human as the planetary agent of the earth. This concept of geologic agency and the recalcitrant sites of its subjectivity, in turn challenge the long issue of what the human is, in terms of its historicism: a human that is constituted by human history or natural history, by human time or deep time, by nature or culture. If social forces are now modes of planetary expression in the Anthropocene, then it would follow that planetary modes of expression constitute modes of sociality (and its organisation in terms of gender, sex, class, race, and so on). The human that is presented in the Anthropocene is seemingly part of and outside of planetary nature; both author of stratigraphic traces and the idealised subject of its end. This notion of a single species as planetary governor (as in planetary governance theory) establishes the search for ends, or morality, as the defining question of Anthropocene engagement, rather than concentrating on the possibilities of more critically expansive ecological thought. A geologically-constituted Anthropocene human subject that is both world-shaping and shaped by the constitute minerals of the world poses a whole set of questions about the kinds of narratives, genealogies and modes of reproduction we still hold on to in order to give the human a coherent unity of identity. While Jacques Derrida’s question of The Animal That Therefore I Am gave a certain valiancy to navigating the divisions of animality within the idea of the human that never was, and Donna Haraway’s notion of the one becoming with many secured a notion of the human as a multispecies being, the narrative of the Anthropocene confidently sneaks the human back in as the unifying subject and agent of geology. The Anthropocene might seem to express a certain dissonance in long-held orderings of the human-animal, culture-nature divisions that were long made through the claim of the exceptionality of human logic and technical agency in order to overcome nature and seemly elide natural forces their evolutionary claims. The Anthropocene, and its ‘message’ about unintended consequences (the Oops! Manit’s-a-bad-scene) seem to express an epic reversal of fortune, from planetary conquest to planetary failure, from God’s-eye view to life on the rubbish heap. While stark in its warnings about ecological disaster, gaining geologic powers is an ambiguous achievement alongside its accompanying warnings of the terminal subjectivity of humanity. It is like attending your own funeral. Established in the ideological mud of nature, narratives of natural history are caught in the context of making sense, experience and use of human-animal-planet relations in a way that takes on new significance now that human history has supposedly crossed the threshold into natural history in the geologic age of the Anthropocene. In the rest of this chapter we turn to the American Museum of Natural History to examine one of the last grand fossil halls of Man and its narratives of the distinctions and orderings that both inform and orientate what it means to be a subject of the earth and a creature of the planet. The museum energises and disciplines the categories of meaning and structures of thinking that are most at stake in the Anthropocene in terms of the unity of a distinct human identity and its material and conceptual composition.

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Thus, we argue, the museum is the siting of epic origin stories, not their exhibition as such: of the earth, the preferred and essentialised human subject and its narrow habituated trajectories, nature (as a plural subject and resource), animality, organic and inorganic life (the organisation of space and time), and most importantly, of the future secured through preferred forms of social and sexual reproduction of ‘life’. We can see in the museum a set of logics at work that produce a sensible map of the organisation of human-animal, human-planetary relations through both visual and racial technologies and their affectual narratives.

Hominid Heyday: Human Origins and One Species Triumphant So, nature is not a physical place to which one can go, nor a treasure to fence in or bank, nor an essence to be saved or violated. Nature is not hidden and so does not need to be unveiled. Nature is not a text to be read in the codes of mathematics and biomedicine. It is not the ‘other’ who offers origin, replenishment, and service. Neither mother, nurse, nor slave, nature is not matrix, resource, or tool for the reproduction of man. (Donna Haraway)4 In ‘Teddy Bear Patriarchy’, Haraway charts an origin story about the American Museum of Natural History through race and gender, by placing its genesis within its public activities: exhibition, eugenics and conservation. She writes, Exhibition was a practice to produce permanence, to arrest decay. Eugenics was a movement to preserve hereditary stock, to assure racial purity, to prevent race suicide. Conservation was a policy to preserve resources, not only for industry, but also for moral formation, for the achievement of manhood.5 Haraway continues by arguing that the Museum’s three activities ‘attempted to insure presentation without fixation and paralysis, in the face of extraordinary change in the relations of sex, race, and class’.6 The Anthropocene, as humanity’s last stand, comes into the newly designed (it reopened in 2007) Hall of Human Origins through uncanny similarity, though today the concern is not racial purity, but humanity’s survival. Figuring the human within the temporal context of the Anthropocene brings the investments of human origination into obvious view. The telling of human origins and speciesism has a purpose in advancing a hetero-gendered reproductive futurity, in perpetuity. Three examples from the Hall of Human Origins illustrate the point. First is a replica of human ancestors. Three and a half million years ago, two hominids’ footprints left in mud became preserved after a volcanic eruption layered them carefully in ash in what is now eastern Africa. Discovered in 1978 by Paul Abell with Mary Leakey’s team of paleontologists, the 27-metre footprint trail, called The Laetoli Footprints (for the Tanzania town of Laetoli) were likely left by members of the species Australopithecus afarensis, whose fossils remained at the same sediment layer as the footprints. One set of footprints was smaller than the other, but both indicate a shortlegged, upright bipedal hominid.

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In the Hall, this site is commemorated through a fantastical interpretation of the species that made the footprint, rather than through an analysis of the rocky evidence itself. The long trace of fossilised footprints has been reduced to a remarkably claustrophobic exhibit enshrined in glass walls and marked by a sign reading, ‘With grateful appreciation to Arnold and Arlene Goldstein for their wonderful generosity’ (see Figure 4.1). The large font ‘Arnold and Arlene Goldstein’ seem to name the couple of Au. afarensis hominids reproduced as the footprints’ strolling agents. We emphasise couple, since the casually strolling pair is intimately bound in proud human-heterosexual form. The exhibit interprets the size difference of the feet as a companion male and female (rather than as two nearby walkers, or sequential walkers, or an adult and child, though a plaque to the side notes this possibility). Arnold and Arlene walk together side by side in time, through time, their gaze to the horizon marking the future humanity that will reward their own species’ still-unknowable role in evolution. That intimate, in-sync, upright gait and the open mouths appear to show them capable of language and conversation, overcoming their hairy apelike bodies and faces. They are animals with the sure, triumphant expectation of becoming human. The human formations of love and care, and binary sex-gender, determine the exhibit’s messages about the Anthropocene. Arnold’s protective arm around the diminutive

Figure 4.1 Arnold and Arlene, Museum of Natural History, New York. Image credit: Kathryn Yusoff, 2016.

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Figure 4.2 Rear view of Arnold and Arlene, Museum of Natural History, New York. Image credit: Kathryn Yusoff, 2016. female precludes other speculative surrounds that might insinuate other social or reproductive formations than inevitable human ones, a more expansive contextual scene with other species in view, or even a grotesque gesture to a violent and scrappy existence (see Figure 4.2). After all, the species went extinct, as ours will eventually. The exhibit in effect bluntly masks both extinctions in time and nods instead to an evolutionary tale of marching onward: the accomplishment of a modern and universal human species. Not to mention that the directional evolutionary march to humanity negates the animal in Arnold and Arlene – a necessary precursor for the Anthropocene’s also-inevitable universal subject. Au. Afarensis exists in the Museum’s presentation merely as a message of human survival. The Museum’s human origin displays do consistent work to situate the planetary spread and uniformity of the species Homo sapiens. As such, the exhibits push aside any real grappling with or challenges to humanity’s universality, accomplished in large part through a tightly narrated presentation of gendered bodies. For the second example, in Bodies of Evidence (see Figure 4.3), the titling text reads, ‘Within each human body we can find traces of evolutionary history – evidence that our species has changed over time. Some of the differences between humans and other species can be found in DNA, while others are visible to the naked eye.’ The white forms of the gendered bodies are meant to be filled in as each/every human body (though

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Figure 4.3 Bodies of Evidence, Museum of Natural History, New York. Image credit: Kathryn Yusoff, 2016. the slim bodies and straight hair presume the idealised form those representational bodies prejudicially take). The two dominant forms, a female and male, are ridiculously stereotyped. Feminism seems to have had no effect on the Museum’s presentation of intellect (man’s brain) and reproduction (woman’s tail, the double entendre of which seems to have escaped Museum designers). The curve of the ‘base of the human spine’ maps nicely on the curve of the woman’s buttocks, her other curves also standing out against the stronger stance of the masculine, whose pelvis is literally leaning towards hers. The animality of the human is also depicted as remnant and ancestral, particularly in the case of the female form. The woman’s tailbone, according to the signage, ‘reminds us that humans have descended from ancestral animals with tails’, while the man’s ‘DNA “signatures” in the human brain show that its structure and inner circuitry changed rapidly during recent human evolution’. Women, it seems, are more tied to their animal pasts than men. While gender binarism holds the Hall’s evolutionary messaging together, race occupies an afterthought, albeit a necessary one, at the end of the gallery. In the final displays, to illustrate the third example, the challenge of racial difference to speciesthinking is diluted through the emphasis on majority genetic code. The viewer is asked to prioritise the shared 99.9 per cent of the genetic code and foreground the human, rather than highlight the minority code that individualises the human. This message is accomplished through multicultural discourse, that is, that ‘we’ are all

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Figure 4.4 Beneath the Surface, Museum of Natural History, New York. Image credit: Kathryn Yusoff, 2016. the same ‘beneath the surface’, save for the ‘tiny’ fraction of human DNA that distinguishes ‘individuals’ (see Figure 4.4). In essence the overarching idea in the Hall is that individuals are vastly more the same than different, resulting in one species sharing ‘99.9% of the same DNA’. Individuals of colour – again, the female in side profile! – represent the challenge to the ‘sameness’ of the species, lest we focus too much on the ‘inherited differences [that] stem from the one tenth of one percent of human DNA that varies from person to person’. The survival of the species requires the diminished impact of those ‘tiny’ amounts of three million differences. One of the starkest narratives in the museum in both animal and human halls is of the racialisation of survival and endurance told through the lens of speciesism, of what and who gets to persist and resist evolutionary narratives, naturalising some deaths and not others, not to mention who gets folded into an evolutionary past and is thereby erased from the possibility of being present, and who gets left out entirely because they fail to reproduce in socially significant ways. Fiona Probyn-Rapsey comments on the taxonomic synergies of race and species in discourses of dingo purity and the ‘race panic’ of hybridity, to talk about ‘how dingo hybridity shares a genealogy with miscegenation discourses and Australian twentieth-century plans for the biological assimilation of Aboriginal people; both sets of ideas featuring perceptions of mixed race people as living embodiments of extinction’.7 Arguing that speciesism is race by other means, she asks: do audiences hear only species talk or do they also hear race panic? And, how does speciesist racist talk contain ‘plausible deniability’,8 or the political talk of dog whistling, while propagating the category of racial purity? As well as providing allegorical ends for the contemplation of human extinction, non-human species are also a

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storehouse for racialising reasoning. Probyn-Rapsey questions how speciesism mobilises racist questions about subjects without proper categories of belonging, and that there exists a stickiness between domains whereby species mobilises racial logics to do taxonomic work (and vice versa). Alongside Claire Kim, she suggests that racialising logics move across human and animal borders to ‘sustain and energize one another’9 keeping racial thinking alive and in circulation ‘to become reattached anew to human and non-human bodies’.10 The theory of the synergistic kinship between species and race is exemplified in the museum in the aforementioned examples, but it is also evident in a growing number of disciplines that seek to engage with planetary politics. Recourse to speciesism in the Anthropocene arises in the most unlikely places, such as a new planetary genre of postcolonial studies. Drawing on the view of the Anthropocene as a biological end game for humanity and the desire to consolidate humanity’s fate in a less perilous future, Shital Pravinchandra examines the recent universalist aspirations of Dipesh Chakrabarty and Paul Gilroy, in their respective commitments to rethink the logics of incommensurability and difference through species thinking.11 In the context of climate change and what is perceived to be a common susceptibility to environmental risks, Pravinchandra suggests that both Chakrabarty and Gilroy put forward speciesist thinking as a reluctant means to prolong a shared concept of the future or version of sameness that might make a common cause of survival, rather than divergent appeals for cultural preservation. Ironically, the ‘common cause’ of an inclusive humanity falls into the universalist language that has long maintained violent exclusions in its presumptions of biological conformity. Critiquing the rhetoric of ‘life preservation’ that she sees as evident in both scholars’ attachment to species, she puts forward an alternative set of fictional texts that engage the postcolonial dynamic with more exuberant, less defensive modes of engaging with the precariousness of survival.12 Importantly, she emphasises modes of engagement that are not predicated on a presumed, shared instinct for survival that protects and reproduces an unproblematic self-same. She writes: ‘The ethical appeal of their respective arguments resides in their focus on vulnerability and finitude, and, accordingly, their interventions mobilize life as a concept linked to longevity, duration, regeneration, and reproduction’.13 What Pavinchandra identifies in Chakrabarty and Gilroy, albeit in different guises, is a ‘self-legitimating rhetoric of (human) life preservation’, the very same attempt to guard against vulnerability in the name of survival that has ‘led to our present planetary predicament in the first place’.14 She suggests that a far more ‘radical possibility – that we recognize, accept and embrace our vulnerability – is inevitably foreclosed’.15 In the recognition and embrace of vulnerability as vulnerability, rather than something to be overcome, alternative logics that do not build on the existing modes of exclusion and normative reproductions of the self-same might provide a more energised means with which to face the radical asymmetries of both inhuman nature and the uneven hand of justice.

Species Life, Animal Life, Geologic Life We wonder, however, if these speciesist arguments yet retain the disproportionate priorities of humanity, since an insistent doubt remains whether humans and the genus of hominids is even a stable category with any ability to render its vulnerability within categorisation whatsoever. Everything in the sciences of Human Origins Theory tells us that the story of hominids is more compellingly told through the divergence of evolutionary paths, chance encounters with bacterial and other entities, climate change,

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huge tectonic shifts, migrations and sometimes just chance. Hominid animality is both replaced by a purposeful geologic agency and resisted through the cauterised ends of species thinking in the Anthropocene. At the same time that there is an opening up of evolutionary contexts as part of the insertion of human life into earth histories, there is also the re-suturing of human life into the earth as a common entity with a combined fate (thereby enlarging the sphere of human agency to the planet without taking on the disparate ends of cosmological trajectories). This displays a spatial logic of enlargement without a concomitant temporal logic of the radical alterity of cosmic materialism. As Neil deGrasse Tyson narrates in the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History, the planet is unexceptional in the great vastness of the universe. In the field of cosmology no claim of exceptionalism is made on behalf of humans. While there is a cleaving apart – of rocks from animal in the Hall of Biodiversity and the Hall of Planet Earth, and between the human in the Hall of Human Origins and the animal in the Halls of Natural History – what connects these divisions is the contemplation of the extinction of humans within the context of other mass extinctions, both in and out of speciesism. Both in and out of speciesism positions Homo sapiens on the cusp of animal and non-animal life, both in and out of the binds of biological life, and with the possibility of transcendence of their material circumstances and drives. The easy binaries of life and nonlife that have guided the museum and the positive affirmation of much multispecies literature are radically unsettled through the acknowledgement of geologic affiliations to the planet, and the problematic asymmetries with inhuman nature that are brought to the fore in the non-reciprocity of geological events; events that are themselves the very basis, or ground, of all life on earth. Within the context of geologic life,16 rocks, minerals and geophysics take on agentic powers within a broader field of survival, as the very precondition of any kind of possibility; or, what might be called a proto-geopolitics of life. On the other hand, the opening to the rocky dimensions of life that the Anthropocene narrative enables are met with a form of species triumphalism that proclaims the unique and special powers of humans to harness the geologic forces of a planet (perhaps forgetting the awesome achievements of bacteria as the geomorphic force). In their argument for the recognition of an Anthropocene biosphere, Mark Williams, Jan Zalasiewicz, P. K. Haff et al. argue that the geological record shows two fundamental stages for the evolution of the Earth’s biosphere: a microbial stage from 3.5 to 0.65 Ga, and a metazoan stage evident by c. 650 Ma. The authors suggest that the modern era differs from these bacterial stages of the earth’s development to announce a third stage of the biosphere evolution characterised by 1) global homogenisation of flora and fauna; 2) a single species (Homo sapiens) ‘commandeering 20–40% of net primary production and also mining fossil net primary production (fossil fuels) to break through the photosynthetic energy barrier; 3) human-directed evolution of other species; and 4) increasing interaction of the biosphere with the technosphere’.17 The authors confidently conclude that this new biospheric moment heralds ‘a new era in the planet’s history’ named the Anthropocene biosphere, which differs markedly from microbial and metazoan stages. Yet this problematic notion of succession erases the collaborative work done between humans and microbes and assigns agency on the part of humans, rather than comprehending the ongoing agency of microbial life in modulating and sustaining human life.18 If we consider the Anthropocene as an opportunity to recognise new genealogies of existence that are embedded in geologic life, such as animal and plant origination in

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fossil fuels, not to mention ancient cosmic materials, then the forms of reproduction that secure survival are enlarged from the usual heteronormative models of human male and female to include a much more radically diffuse and diverse assortment of collaborations. Then we could ask, how does the human become enlivened within the context of the Anthropocene through its dependence on animal, plant and mineral life? While speciesism has been a means to ensure a survivalist narrative in the evolution of what brought us to this place, it is what happens to all the non-purposeful evolution that promises a future that differs from the present, and was always differentiating from it. If the historic division of animal and human was levelled on the basis of rationality and the philosophical framing of labour against the animal through that rationality, the Anthropocene reveals a non-rational actor, and rationality as a precursor to extinction rather than any nourishment of life. In this sense the human becomes lacking, self-destructive in itself rather than self-preserving in time, or overcoming of the evolutionary binds of time, instead focused on its own annihilation. Perhaps, in this context of unsure reproductions, vulnerability can be seen as a state that generates and provokes life, or even refuses its reproduction in service to other concerns and pleasures.19 Grosz argues that life is not consistent with itself, it is at variance with everything around it, and it precisely relies upon this disjunction to provoke its affiliations and forms of commitment to being (in a biological, political and sexual sense). According to Grosz, this is the very engine of being, and we might suppose, given the extraordinary openness of the biosphere to the cosmos, that this is the engine of being planetary. That is, the very inconsistencies that fracture rather than unite life are where life draws its strength, and potentially its resources for different kinds of futures. Co-joined with this disjunction is the exposure to the outside and the forms of vulnerability that allow life in all its variance to get what it needs.

Notes 1. Elizabeth Grosz, Becoming Undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics, and Art (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011), p. 25. 2. Quentin Meillassoux, Science Fiction and Extro-Science Fiction (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015). 3. Grosz, Becoming Undone, p. 21. 4. Donna J. Haraway, ‘The Promise of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others’, in Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson and Paula Treichler (eds), Cultural Studies (London and New York: Routledge, 1992), p. 296. 5. Donna J. Haraway, ‘Teddy Bear Patriarchy: Taxidermy in the Garden of Eden, New York City, 1908–36’, Social Text 11 (1984/85), p. 57. 6. Ibid. 7. Fiona Probyn-Rapsey, ‘Dingoes and Dog-Whistling: A Cultural Politics of Race and Species in Australia’, Animal Studies Journal 4:2 (2015), p. 57. 8. Ibid. p. 58. 9. Claire Jean Kim quoted in Probyn-Rapsey, ‘Dingoes’, p. 61. 10. Probyn-Rapsey, ‘Dingoes’, p. 62. 11. Shital Pravinchandra, ‘One Species, Same Difference?: Postcolonial Critique and the Concept of Life’, New Literary History 47 (2016), pp. 27–48. See also Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘The Climate of History: Four Theses’, Critical Inquiry 35:2 (2009), pp. 197–222; and Paul Gilroy, Postcolonial Melancholia (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005).

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12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Pravinchandra, ‘One Species’, p. 28. Ibid. p. 29. Ibid. p. 38. Ibid. pp. 38–9. Kathryn Yusoff, ‘Geologic Life: Prehistory, Climate, Futures in the Anthropocene’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31 (2014), pp. 779–95. 17. Mark Williams, Jan Zalasiewicz, P. K. Haff et al., ‘The Anthropocene Biosphere’, The Anthropocene Review (2015), pp. 1–24, p. 1. 18. See the ‘Microbes’ chapter in this volume. 19. Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005).

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nimals have a standing presence in the history of art, whether in domestic genre scenes, pastoral landscapes, romantic painting or natural history photography. However, since the 1960s artists have been reimagining the terms of representation and expression of non-human animals so that not only do animals become living actants that challenge the regimented spaces of art, but the domain of ethics itself has entered into the broader field of contemporary practice becoming integral to its aesthetics and subject matter. Since that time, art has provided an arena of activity between human and non-human animals that attempts to overcome the historical differentiation of species on the basis of language and symbolic life. It has become a medium of ethical negotiation across ontological divides, attempting to create passages between human worlds of meaning and animal Umwelten, the environments that animals inhabit and which set the parameters for interpreting their behaviours, sensibilities, communication and consciousness. While the concept of the Umwelt developed by ethologist Jakob von Uexküll originally referred to an animal’s biosemiotic niche, theorists and artists have thickened its implications to come to new understandings of the relationship between perception and self-reflection, interspecies relationships, and the contexts in which art generates meaning. While contemporary art presents non-human animals in politically charged environments and visual schemas, it nevertheless discloses the conflicts at stake in doing so. In the 1960s and 70s, Joseph Beuys’s early performances opened the way to a more expansive sociality that would include natural and animal beings. But while Beuys imagined alternative forms of communication and representation in which such inclusions might occur, his works also demonstrate a tendency to subsume animals into human social systems. His works therefore articulate ethical struggles with which subsequent generations of artists have continued to grapple. The unwitting process of absorbing animals so that they become a dormant presence that haunts visual culture is evident in the standing preoccupation with the preservation of animal bodies seen with the resurgence of taxidermy in recent decades, notably demonstrated in works by Damien Hirst and Polly Morgan. These works demonstrate the existential pathos of animal lives lived in and as an existential latency while their bodies signify the generality of their species designations and subordinated place in the natural world. Yet these artists also attempt to expose the particularity of those animal bodies and overturn the predominant aesthetic regime by which humans conceal animals in anthropocentric systems of signification. In a similar vein, Kathy High destabilises human-oriented visuality by scrutinising the terms of vision in scientific laboratories in which animals are used as test

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subjects. By emphasising practices of palliative care, High shows how animal lives come into visibility in and as particular valued beings. She therefore attempts to produce an ethical status for animals that restores them from their anonymity within scientific experiments. Pierre Huyghe drives this awareness of animal particularity into a speculative territory, positing the limits of animal worlds as a ground for reorienting anthropocentric perspectives, and thus calling into question the limits of human visuality. In this way, contemporary art charts an ethical terrain in which artists foreground the ontological difference between human and non-human animals, the metaphysical deadlock of a shared mortality, the emergence of modalities of care and companionship, and articulations of coexistence-in-difference. In this way, contemporary artists strive to generate a new form of Umwelt in which art becomes a passage between human and non-human animal meaning.

Social Sculpture and the Non-human Animal as Proposition Joseph Beuys’s three-hour performance How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare serves as a useful example by which to understand the emergence of an ethical turn towards the animal in art. In 1965 in a gallery in Düsseldorf, Beuys covered his head in honey and gold leaf, tied a piece of iron to his shoe, and then proceeded through the gallery space cradling a dead hare. Visitors to the event arrived at the gallery only to discover that they had been locked out and would have to observe the scene through the front window. They could see Beuys walking with the hare while repositioning it in relation to the hanging pictures as though to give it a good view. Beuys whispered to it, at times taking its paw and moving it up and down the vertical axis of a painting, or moving its ears up and down as though to simulate the hare’s attention and understanding. Beuys included the honey and gold leaf on his head to reinvigorate the sensual dimensions of the performance and to counteract overly cerebral interpretations of art, which he considered to be deadening. The hare itself was a folkloric symbol of the earth’s fertility. Beuys described the performance as a redistribution of energies that would radicalise the definition of art as a ‘social design for the future’, or what he eventually termed ‘social sculpture’. Ultimately, the performance laid out a set of relational junctures between the human, the animal and art, which Beuys aspired to reconfigure over the course of the event. From one perspective, then, Beuys shows the stultifying parameters of intellectualised art. The dead hare could not be less interested in pictures or Beuys’s words about them. The artist creates a parodic re-enactment of the postures of contemplation in the modernist tradition as he carries the hare, supports its body and manipulates its limbs like a puppet. The dead hare therefore embodies a schematic and deadened mode of experience in response to Beuys’s cerebral explanations of pictures. From another perspective, however, the performance attempts to reverse the circuitry of ‘explanation’ through the charged energies of the alchemical and animal agents which resituate art from its traditional discursive framing to the space of relation that would constitute a ‘social sculpture’, with a sociality that abuts the concept of an ecology. In a 1983 TV interview, Beuys explains, ‘One can see the hare as the external organ of the human being . . . ’ thus emphasising that humans and animal species share an earthly fabric, and that the purely cerebral understanding of art has lost touch with this corporeal reality.1 He insists that a true understanding of art is an incorporation of

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it, an absorption of the artwork into one’s own body. In this sense, to understand art is to ‘stand elsewhere’ (verstehen) by exchanging corporeal positions between himself and the hare, and thereby re-tuning his bodily sensorial system. Beuys avails himself of an ecological fabric to produce the performance, yet the work nevertheless gives rise to a more fundamental problem with regards to the presence of the animal in the gallery. On the one hand, the hare’s dead body provides a plastic morphology and an elemental substance with which to regenerate the social understanding of art; it is a prosthesis that allows humans to imagine ‘standing elsewhere’ and to understand themselves otherwise, from a perspective produced by an ecology. On the other hand, animals are easily subsumed into the human regime of sense, serving merely to extend the reach of human intention. Explaining pictures to the dead hare is an impossible task of bridging fundamentally distinct sensorial worlds. The tenderness of Beuys’s disposition towards the hare’s body cannot be denied, but the performance nevertheless exacerbates an ontological divide between human and non-human animals through the presentation of a maximally irreducible state – death. Paradoxically, while Beuys bridges otherwise radically separate arenas of exchange (the natural world and the art world), the exchange is in no way reciprocal. The hare only becomes agential within a broader system of meaning and materiality through the residual vitalism of its dead body, simulated by Beuys himself. It is therefore appropriate to suggest that while Beuys’s oeuvre is not emancipatory for non-human animals, they nevertheless become propositions in contemporary art – agential forces that require speculation and interpretation across the ontological divide between species, generating an understanding of artistic practice as embodied and behavioural, not just representational. In this sense, his work anticipates the theoretical transformations that Bruno Latour charts in his account of a political ecology which aspires to cross the disciplinary divisions between political and scientific forms of knowledge, and instead is directed towards the communication and representation of new ontic entities within a heterogeneous democratic organisation. Latour defines the proposition as: ‘an association of humans and non-humans before it becomes a full-fledged member of the collective’.2 In the same way, while animals remain latent in Beuys’s work, they anticipate and aspire towards a world in which the human-nonhuman animal exchange elaborates the expressive potential of animals, even if these expressions are not formed articulations per se and may even occur as disarticulations within the setup of the artwork. Such a disarticulation of human meaning is staged in an amusing play on Joseph Beuys’s How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. The Italian artist, Vettor Pisani, devised a performance called The Hare Does Not Like Joseph Beuys in 1976, for the 37th Venice Biennale (it was subsequently performed in a retrospective at the Madre Museum in Naples in 2014). Pisani redistributes the relationship between artwork, artist and animal in order to make these three components confront one another as ontologically distinct entities that stand in alignment, but nevertheless enact a broken circuitry. The performer, a blonde woman, heavily made up and wearing a black dress and collar, entered the room and stood before a red cross-shaped sculpture, and a dead hare (in the re-enactment, the hare is ceramic). Between the two stood an architectonic shape: a cross, parted in half to make a space of division illuminated by two red spotlights. After an introductory period in which Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries played, the performer solemnly held up her hand with fingers posed in a mudra (pointer and

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pinky finger extended like rabbit’s ears, with her two middle fingers folded in). She repeated the phrase in German, ‘The hare does not like Joseph Beuys’ her voice raising with each repetition, to culminate with her yelling the phrase, this time in Italian. She then issued a shot of hysterical laughter, abruptly followed by silence. The sequence repeated. Pisani’s performance animates and punctuates fundamental difference through voice, light, music and spacing. The divide between species is performed in a stylised and dramatised rejection of relationality between the hare and Beuys. Pisani drives the hare’s presence-as-absence in Beuys’s work (its conspicuous inclusion in the work as a dead body) towards a defined confrontation with and refusal of the artist. He shows that inasmuch as the hare’s body can be instrumentalised as energy, so also can it be deployed to negate the setup of the artwork. Pisani positions the hare as a disruption of the energetic circuitry that Beuys presumes to forge in his appropriation of natural substances and animal bodies. Indeed, he makes the artwork a means by which to formalise the co-implication of human and non-human animals as an irreducible deadlock: a broken circuit of exchange and communication that is constitutive of anthropocentric meaning. Yet this seemingly inevitable occlusion of non-human animals nevertheless presents itself with increasing vigour in art of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, as artists investigate the capacity of animal bodies to upset the formulation of human worlds by reviving the practice of taxidermy.

Challenging the ‘Poverty’ of the Non-human Animal Beuys’s How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare raises the dilemma that an awareness of the hare in particular, and the emerging discourse of the animal appears only by virtue of the hare’s death, so that an ethical acknowledgement is an effect of its loss and the affective charge of its corpse, rather than a responsiveness to its presence as an existential other. Yet the persistent appearance of dead animal bodies in contemporary art’s revival of taxidermy nevertheless signals a disruption of the way in which humans imagine animals in a fundamental state of quiescence. Artists re-enact the visual tactics of the traditional natural history museum, which preserves animal bodies as specimens that stand in for a species, and then maps these species in hierarchies that reinforce the supremacy and centrality of human life. The recent preoccupation with preserving animal bodies therefore lays bare the historical distinction between human and non-human animals on the basis of a belief in the human capacity to generate complex meanings (world-making) as opposed to non-human animals’ capacity to remain bound and integrated in a closed environmental niche. What is denied in this distinction is not merely the shared anatomical foundations that generate perceptual capabilities, but also the sites at which non-human animals adapt to global environmental change and how they register complex meanings. Contemporary art exposes the disavowal of human animality as well as the lively symbiotic networks through which animals sense, experience and communicate their worlds. The re-emergence of taxidermy confronts the contemporary viewer with the temptation to refuse the animal an interiority, instead presenting the radical exteriority of animals hypostatised as pelts. Yet contemporary artists also attempt to leverage this troubled history out of its basic metaphysical assumptions by honing attention to the particular specimens and the possibility that each one was a life lost.

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Consider British artist Damien Hirst’s notorious installation The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which exhibited at the ‘Sensation’ exhibition of the Young British Artists at the Saatchi Gallery in London in 1991. Hirst suspended a dead tiger shark in a glass tank filled with a low-concentration formaldehyde solution. The tank is framed in three even sections and harks back to natural history vitrines. In accordance with the name of the exhibition, the installation is compelling precisely because of its manifest sensuality; the rich turquoise colour of the solution, the abundant reflections off the glass and the satisfying geometry of the vitrine render the exposed shark body visually alluring. The impressive presence of the tiger shark is a catalyst for a panicked and failing attempt to grasp an imagined state of non-consciousness (the impossible thought of one’s own death) from a highly stimulated state of self-consciousness. This movement of the mind is carried out through the spectator’s attempt to visually fathom the shark’s body through its spectacular framing as art. The shark is both indisputably there, yet obscured and deferred from clear sight. In other words, Hirst positions the shark’s body to occasion a confrontation with the limits of human consciousness. The installation’s staging of the human-animal relationship undertakes a number of reversals: first, the animal is both solid and obtrusive, yet nevertheless elusive. For all its disruptive presence, it remains visually resistant, shrouded within the spectacle of the display. Second, and directly related, spectators restlessly circle the tank to capture a clear view, thus reversing the relationship between predator and prey. The dangerous shark has been pathetically neutralised and transformed into a curiosity for visual consumption. And finally, the shark’s body is positioned as both plastic and rigid. It has been moulded and contorted into a threatening pose, with mouth wide open and tail fin slightly angled in mid-sweep as though it is still swimming. But for all the threat of its vital pose, its flesh is stiff and wrinkled, its eye sockets empty, and its body registers only the facticity of the shark’s deadness. In short, the installation provokes a specifically human experience of existential dread through the suspension of the animal in a perpetual rigor mortis. This vexing state of affairs recalls the philosopher Martin Heidegger’s nuanced exposition on human consciousness in The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. His insights regarding human consciousness or Dasein are predicated on a threefold categorisation: the stone is worldless; the animal is poor-in-world; the human is world-forming.3 To remain at the level of this brief schema would be to overlook Heidegger’s subtle approach to animal life, however. Indeed, the text generated fulsome critical elaborations by Jacques Derrida in his seminars on animality and freedom, published in the two-volume The Beast and the Sovereign, and his address at the 1997 Cerisy conference ‘The Autobiographical Animal’, published posthumously as The Animal That Therefore I Am.4 Derrida calls into question how Heidegger and other philosophers rely on a singular notion of ‘the animal’ that prevents a thinking of animals in any particularity, and how this designation subjects animals to human law yet also leaves them conspicuously unaccounted for within it. This occlusion also pertains to the linguistic and visual codes of representation in which animals remain generic entities and thus escape metaphysical consideration. Indeed, Heidegger poses the question of the meaning of human Being (Dasein) precisely by way of the contradistinction between the animal’s poverty and the human’s capacity to form a world. Following this trajectory, Giorgio Agamben

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attends to the terms by which Heidegger understands animal sensation and representation in The Open: Man and Animal.5 In this vein, he shows that Heidegger is compelled by the deep sensorial immersion by which animals give themselves over to their environmental niche.6 He recovers these sensorial capabilities as a form of freedom and an availability to humans. Heidegger’s statement that the animal is ‘poor-in-world’ is therefore by no means reductive. His approach to human consciousness maintains that humans pass through an animal condition, whereas non-human animals remain bound up in a perceptual field from which they cannot imagine a beyond or world outside. In this regard, Heidegger was influenced by the biologist Jakob von Uexküll’s concept of the Umwelt.7 He elaborates, however, that while the animal is wholly compelled by the world, it is incapable of perceiving the world as a world. Heidegger gives the example of a worker bee that is simply ‘given over’ to the sun and to the period of its own flight without being able to grasp them as such. The bee is so entirely driven that it is captivated in its behaviour, without being able to reflect on or recognise it. He describes the animal’s predicament of being both wholly open to its environment and its state of non-reflection as a way of surrounding itself in a ‘disinhibiting ring’. As Giorgio Agamben elaborates, ‘ . . . the animal is open to a closedness . . . totally delivered over to something that obstinately refuses itself’.8 The condition of obstinate refusal, the paradox of the animal’s openness to the closedness of a world, compels Agamben’s axiological questioning of animal life. The animal is ‘outside in an exteriority more external than any open, and inside in an intimacy more internal than any closedness.’9 Animal being is both radically exterior and fundamentally withdrawn. Where for Heidegger, the animal is encircled by a disinhibiting ring that prescribes the possibilities of its behaviour while it is given over to sense, this same condition prompts Agamben to wonder how one can know the animal as such, and following that, how one can come to know ones’ own animality. This questing for the site of consciousness in conjunction with a wondering about the animal resonates with British artist Polly Morgan’s series Still Birth (Figure 5.1). Known for her use of taxidermy, Morgan places animals in scenarios that recall vanitas themes, evoking both earthly wealth and inevitable mortality. For Still Birth, a title that plays on the still-life genre, Morgan suspends a pheasant chick by a brightly coloured balloon contained by a bell jar. This suspension relays a state of non-consciousness; it is neither the end nor the loss of consciousness associated with death, for as the title implies, the chick has never lived. Instead, its non-consciousness is a liminal zone: its body was formed, but rather than living and then dying, Morgan locates it in a condition before life and after death, a ‘poverty’ that precedes and postcedes consciousness. The tension between the floating balloon (perhaps a figure of lofty transcendental thought) and its literal encirclement by the bell jar painfully evokes the animal condition as one of captivation, but more strongly, it does so in such a way that this captivation produces an awareness of consciousness as an embodied entrenchment between the events of birth and death. The pheasant chick’s positioning in a state of perpetual latency is intertwined with, and even an expression of, the spectator’s awakening to her or his captivation between birth and death.

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Figure 5.1 Polly Morgan, Still Birth, Red. © Polly Morgan/SODRAC, 2016. Heidegger writes that animal life ‘ . . . is a domain which possesses a wealth of being-open of which the human world may know nothing at all.’10 He subtly raises the possibility that the animal’s poverty in world is also a human poverty of sensation. Agamben therefore argues for a reclamation of the state of animal openness – its surrender to focused sensations by which it navigates the environment. Yet he does so by repitching human consciousness. He suggests that the human distinguishes itself from the animal only in that the human being is ‘an animal that has awakened from its own captivation to its own captivation’.11 That is to say, consciousness itself is defined in and through animality. But if this is so, the question arises, how can we make claims about whether or not an animal is capable of a conscious life? Where Agamben stresses the fact that for Heidegger, the animal’s poverty is also a kind of sensorial wealth, what he calls ‘the open’, it is also important to remark that the possibilities of the animal’s perception and behaviour are fundamental to its innermost organisation and morphology. Its perceptual field is not fixed but rather supple, in perpetual communication and feedback with the environment. In this light, the seemingly artificial process of taxidermy preservation – the transformation of the animal body into a plastic form – enables a re-envisioning of the interpenetration of consciousness and perception in animal bodies. It is therefore striking how Morgan invests animal bodies with the capacity to be deprived of consciousness, not simply to have perished, but to be animated as though suspended on the cusp of life and yet

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having already lost their lives. This liminal condition is corroborated by the elaborate settings she creates for the bodies, often situating them in scenes of baroque luxury: a fox tightly wound in a circle resting in a large champagne glass under a crystal chandelier; a squirrel in a martini flute; a swallow cradled in a spoon. Harking back to vanitas-themed paintings in the Dutch still-life tradition, the ornamented surroundings interweave the bodies with connotations of excess and wealth. Yet each animal is positioned as one would a body at a funerary wake. Rather than standing as supplementary ornamentation, the animals are the focus of mourning. Each one is given an abundant environs that frames its death, appearing elegiac. It therefore recapitulates the dialectical oscillation between captivating sensations and the animal’s closedness to the world, while nevertheless acknowledging the animal as a life to be mourned and a death to be attended. In her reframing of animal bodies as the subject of the scene, Morgan redirects the implicit theme of human mortality to the possibility of an animal mortality; to animals as capable of a death as such. She therefore overturns Heidegger’s assertion that only man dies; the animal perishes.12 Within the tradition of taxidermy, it is standard practice to situate animals within constructed versions of their natural habitats. Thus, as Rikke Hansen points out, traditional taxidermy discloses a deep-seated belief that animals simply are their skins; acts of displaying animal skins reveal that the animal has no interiority, nor any particularity.13 To appropriate animal skins is to absorb animals into a symbolic distinction between the animal pelt (which amounts to being merely flayed meat) and the human skin, which gives contour to and is inextricable from the subject. Taxidermy produces a generic animal. Yet, as Hansen argues, contemporary art troubles this ‘animalising’ of the skin-border.14 Morgan, however uses the artifice of baroque environments to interrupt the anthropocentric contextualisation of the animal body and yield new associations. Thus, the critical potential of contemporary art lies in its deft negotiation of central questions about the limits of being (human or non-human animal being) at the very site of the bodily envelope (the skin) of particular animals.

Ethical Concern for Animal Suffering Contemporary art resituates animals’ corporealities, so that rather than reiterating preconceptions of their poverty, animal bodies are illuminated by a new visibility. Another way to say this is that art brings a consciousness of animals through their corporeal precarity. It is with regard to the coextensive physical and political vulnerability of animals that artworks focusing on care and companionship become relevant to the rise of animal studies. When artists bring an animal’s vulnerability into view, spectators feel a frisson of their own corporeality. Artists such as Kathy High thereby cultivate an ethical feeling for animals through a sense of an analogical bodily condition. This bodily condition, however, is not pure and transhistorical; it is illuminated through the lens of the biological sciences. The relationship between witnessing animals in their corporeal breakdown and the emergence of an ethics of care and compassion is explicit in High’s Embracing Animal, an installation which took place over ten months in a 2006 exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Figure 5.2). The installation was a habitat for former lab rats, which the artist purchased from a laboratory that genetically prepares rats and mice to sell to researchers. All the rats were albino transgenic specimens,

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Figure 5.2 Kathy High, Embracing Animal, 2004–6. © Kathy High, 2016. Image courtesy of Kathy High. model HLA-B27, which had been injected with human DNA as embryos to predispose them to a family of autoimmune disorders such as arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease. With an average life span of two years, the ten-month exhibition saw the rats through the emergence and progression of the diseases that they had been designed to live out. High initially took interest in the rats after discovering that rats, mice and birds are not considered ‘animals’ under the US Animal Welfare Act. Under the law, they are synthetic products and thus exist in a state of exception, excluded from the legal and political protections granted to large mammals. But the installation does not simply exhibit transgenic specimens. Rather, it is an extended laboratory for the continued observation of the rats, as they are administered different forms of palliative care – a special diet, homeopathic remedies for their seizures, comforting bedding and toys for stimulation. The artwork is therefore set up as a quasi-empirical study of alternative care for the animal body, in accordance with which the artist displays and records the rats’ daily activity via video cameras set up in the tunnels, keeping a diary of the progression of their diseases, arranging regular veterinary check-ups, documenting reports from the curators, and narrativising the rats on a blog. From this initial description, it might appear that Embracing Animal risks an overstated empathy for the rats by transposing a level of consciousness on them that they would otherwise be denied when they are studied under the lens of scientific research.

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However, it proposes a more subtle possibility, which is that the rats provide insight into human life: not of the essential value of ‘humanity’ or even ‘consciousness’, but rather the prospect that consciousness is not sited in a being (or in a philosophical concept such as Dasein) but is deduced through relational behaviours. Moreover, rat behaviours disclose their capacity for complex relationships and sophisticated levels of cognitive activity. In short, the artwork exposes the uncertainty of how to define and locate consciousness as such. Where contemporary taxidermy art demands a rethinking of the question of the animal’s life and death at the site of the skin, Embracing Animal demonstrates the commonality of the condition of suffering shared by human and non-human animals alike. In both cases, animal bodies occasion reflection on human limitations: the failure to transcend animality and the captivation of the embodied condition in its restricted capacities to adapt, heal and regenerate. Significantly, the rats were designed to express disorders of rigidity (like arthritis) and weakened immunity; thus their bodies cope with the failure of human and non-human corporeality. Indeed, the rats’ dysfunctions were forcibly imposed on them through the insertion of human DNA. They literally incorporate the frailties of human bodies. The rats’ impoverished condition throws into focus shared mechanisms of coping and adapting, be they the behaviours that compensate for states of fatigue and pain – limping, stiffness, favouring aches – or those spontaneous expressions of joy and pleasure from receiving care, satiation and attention. The consciousness visitors see is uncannily familiar, yet it is problematised because it is routed through a chimerical, suffering animal body. The artwork thus answers Donna Haraway’s call for an understanding of the laboratory situation not as one in which humans possess animals, but rather as one in which people and animals are both subjects and objects to one another in a materialsemiotic intra-action whereby a state of ‘shared suffering’ would inspire a sense of coresponsibility.15 Embracing Animal alters the terms of the laboratory so that rather than simply using the rats to extract salient information to humans, spectators observe the way in which the rats flourish and respond to care. The artist insists on this kind of care as instrumental in producing scientific knowledge through an ethic towards human and animal suffering alike.

Miscommunications and Zoodramas – Being Indifferent The rise of animal studies has brought to attention ever more evidence of animals’ sophisticated levels of responsiveness and communication with one another and with humans. The philosopher Vinciane Despret demonstrates how animal sociality is negotiated through broader ecological and political assemblages. Her studies of ethological practices show how animals both exceed and disrupt the discursive parameters by which humans define consciousness, culture and social exchange. In her analysis of the ethologist Bernd Heinrich’s study of ravens, for example, she crafts an understanding of the raven precisely through its recalcitrant behaviour.16 That is to say, the raven’s notoriously enigmatic activities expose blind spots in the methods of studying animals. Until Heinrich’s lifelong commitment to follow their behaviour, ravens were considered to be uncooperative test subjects because they explicitly dismantle the testing grounds and devices on which scientists rely to make claims about their behaviour. In short, ravens knowingly obfuscate the methods of human knowledge

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production. Despret examines how Heinrich’s study of ravens is entirely contingent on his becoming social with them (his becoming-raven), but equally how this becoming social meant to redefine the terms and expectations of social relations entirely. Not only did his study shift the dispositif of ethology to a process of co-communication between humans and ravens, it also opened a way for theorising an interspecies sociality. This sociality cannot be reduced to an ecological or evolutionary symbiosis (though it is that as well), but is born of a process of idiosyncratic adaptations between collectivities of ravens, humans, wolves and other animal species. In this sense, Despret expounds a new orientation for the scientific study of animals that is grounded in a Latourian political ecology, an alternative model of democracy that relies on an expansive and speculative inclusivity. The question of how to acknowledge and respond to other species across the divides of radical difference – indeed, the very question of the terms by which such differences might be understood – is the ethical crux of contemporary art that centres on animal life (and particular lives). Not only do animals complicate our claims to knowledge, as do the ravens in Despret’s narration; they do so through insistent assertions and revelations of their Umwelten, as well as their surprising adaptations to human intervention. Thus, the speculative nature of animal ethics is integral to the aesthetic dimensions of such artworks. The assertion of fundamental difference was central to feminist ethics in the late decades of the twentieth century. French feminist Luce Irigaray challenged and elaborated the tradition of phenomenology that poses questions about how we encounter the other from within a common flesh, shared spaces of bodily interaction and linguistic exchange. The questions that run through her feminist and elemental philosophy are: how do we receive the other from within solipsistic perceptual and symbolic fields? How is it possible to dwell in and through difference; in-differently? In a similar vein, artists have become concerned with the experience of the animal as both a familiar creature and an entirely other being, at the point of fundamental discontinuity or misrecognition from within human schemas of perception, communication and interpretation. For French artist Pierre Huyghe, indifference is precisely the disposition by which one may speculate about the radically different lifeworlds occupied across species divides. A series of works in the early 2000s makes the artwork a terrain on which the Umwelten of species confront one another, often in ways that provoke a sense of alienation or even threat. In this regard, Huyghe brings the respective biosemiosis of animal and insect species to bear on a new contextuality that forges the meaning of the artwork. Indifference, then, is the experience of non-relationality that occurs between radically separate frames of reference. For example, his Zoodram series undoes the primacy of any one species’ perspective and produces an uncanny view of both art environments and the limited perceptual territories of species. In Recollection: Zoodram 4 after Sleeping Muse by Constantin Brancusi (2011; Figure 5.3), Huyghe constructed a habitat for a hermit crab and included a resin replica of Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse, a sculpture of a serene and abstracted female face. Predictably, the hermit crab occupied the replica, turned it into its home, carrying it on its back and animating it with its movements. In a sense, Huyghe reverses Beuys’s intervention of bringing the animal into the art institution; instead he drops art into an ecosystem so that it is merely one object among others that is engaged in a variety of indifferent exchanges. He gives the artwork a biological life, a renewed existence

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Figure 5.3 Pierre Huyghe, Zoodram 4, 2011. Live marine ecosystem, glass tank, filtration system, resin mask/hermit crab, arrow crabs. 60 x 53 x 40 in. (152.4 x 134.6 x 101.6 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, Esther Schipper, Berlin and Hauser & Wirth. © Pierre Huyghe/SODRAC, 2016. in an ecology instead of a life as an object overlarded with modernist significance. Conversely, the crab mobilises a place as the retroactive muse of modern art, the force that moves behind the face that turns it into a mask, and instantiates itself as the object of its recollection inferred by the title of the artwork. The crab makes its home in the mask, and the mask of Sleeping Muse resolves its activity into a dreamy, abstract expression. This resetting of the terrain of both art and the animal’s Umwelt occurs in a place of indifference. The crab still knows nothing of art, and art faces the opposite direction of the crab. One might say that where Brancusi argued that ‘Simplicity is Complexity Resolved’, Huyghe changes the terms of art to become, ‘Indifference is Complexity Revealed’. He conceptualises the artwork as a compost heap; a jumble of unrelated things that have no prior intention towards one another. ‘The compost is the place where you throw things that you don’t need or that are dead.’ ‘You don’t display things. You don’t make a mise-en-scène, you don’t design things, you just drop them. Things are in themselves, they don’t have a dependence on the person. They are indifferent to the public. You are in a place of indifference.’17 Huyghe’s oeuvre repositions spectatorship by propelling the viewer’s perspective towards numerous discrete and possibly competing orientations. His assemblies of Umwelten fragment any unified representation of the world and instead rupture viewers from relational entanglement, while at the same time cultivating the viewer’s

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awareness of the very borders that adjoin them to other worlds. This awareness is borne out through temporal and affective disruptions: be they anxious confrontations with an unseen threat, or the boredom of a protracted encounter that does not culminate in any synthesis of experience, only in the recurrent awareness of an infinitude of worlds beyond one’s own. Rather than feeling in closer touch with the ecosystem, Huyghe fabricates artificial systems, or one might say even institutional systems, in which the boundaries of beings become palpable. Huyghe explains, ‘The aquarium is a place of separation, normally a collection of different species of different places around the world that are gathered together in a system supposed to be in nature, similar to a museum. . . . I am interested in the moment of suspension, in boredom or hypnosis in which you can find the equivalence between the encounter and the thing that is in front of you.’18 The indifferent space between Umwelten is the condition for which the speculation and interpretation of other species occurs. In this sense, the discourse of the animal in contemporary art has started to attend to what is fundamentally unknown about nonhuman animals, in spite of deep intertwinement and cohabitation. Huyghe shows that indifference can profoundly change our understanding of the spaces and parameters of the aesthetic experience. For example, his 2011 exhibition at the Esther Schipper Gallery in Berlin convened four artworks: first, an attendant that stood in the doorway of the main room and demanded the name of each visitor, and then loudly announced it as each person entered (Name Announcer); second, an attendant with a contagious flu (Influenced); third, a group of fifty spiders that moved to the corners of the ceiling and were filmed with security cameras (C.C. Spider); and finally a colony of 10,000 ants that nested in small holes made in the gallery walls and created lines of occupation between the nests (Umwelt, Environment). The exhibition put multiple disjoined lifeworlds into a common space. Each component posed an alienating if not potentially antagonistic relationship to other animal species. The name announcer publicly signals the particularity of each individual to the other beings in the room. It is also a reminder to visitors that there are others to whom they are making an appearance, an assertion of an unknown perspective. The influenza virus introduces a sense of paranoia even though the object of that paranoia is invisible. The ants colonise the expanse of the wall, where art might normally have been hanging. The space therefore becomes primarily their territory, rather than a neutral space of aesthetic experience. But the ants also risk finding themselves in the trap of the spiders in the corners. Each species is absorbed in its own primary orientation, while at the same time each particular being becomes bound up in a broader arena of interaction. The gallery is not so much an organic ecology as what Huyghe calls, following von Uexküll, a biosemiosis: a concatenation of biological terms installed in adjacency to one another, though stripped of the assumptions of symbiotic relations. Huyghe maximised the range of the biosemiotic encounter for his outdoor installation Untilled at dOCUMENTA 13 in 2011. Once again, placing disparate ecologies into adjacency, Huyghe built his installation in the section of the property that was used for composting. He made trails out of the compost heap and sowed particular plants in the fertile soil, many of them with pharmaceutical applications, such as foxglove (which contains digitalis), and some of them potentially toxic or mind-altering, such as cannabis, deadly nightshade, and a fungus from which LSD can be extracted. In the midst of this unusual botanical collection was a sculpture of a reclining nude,

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the head of which was covered with a living beehive (Liegender Frauenakt [Reclining Nude]). Thus the canonical sculptural form, a nude, was distorted and rendered acephalic by the disconcerting colonisation of the head by the hive. The bees flew around the installation pollinating the plants as their hive developed in size. Another component of Untilled was the inclusion of a thin white dog named Human, who lived on site and interacted with visitors. Human’s front leg and paw were painted pink in an animalian reconfiguration of the hand of a painter, standing as both the agent that colours the artwork (historically, a human role) and the object of the artwork itself (a vital and brightly coloured part of the installation). The components were situated in such a way that they would catalyse one another, while nevertheless producing a curious antinomy in visitors. Human is a friendly and communicative dog, whereas the bees occupied the space in a way that challenged the privilege of human visitors and their interaction with the dog. The beehive produced a sense of anxiety since it appeared on the head of the reclining nude, as though to suffocate it. Yet the bees flew through the area, pollinating the plants, with no particular intention towards any other animal species. For all the disconcertion that the beehive produces in the viewer, the bees themselves are indifferent. The fluctuating valences of interest, from dog to bees to sculpture to plants, level into an alienated assessment of irreducibly different worlds. In this way, Huyghe puts the animal Umwelt into a deconstructive relation with the world that an artwork gathers. Art loses its affordance as a privileged locus and practice of consciousness (Being). Yet it invites speculation about animal worlds on aesthetic terms that point to their withdrawn complexity.

Conclusion: The Art World as Umwelt Since the late sixties, contemporary art has seen a wellspring of artistic practices that reconfigure the lines between human consciousness and animal behaviour. This reconfiguration attempts to intervene on the performative actions, existential speculation, scientific schemas and ontological divisions that determine the ethical and aesthetic ground of the human world. From these new perspectives, the art world itself becomes an Umwelt, a territory of sensible engagement that shapes the human capability for considering other species within its orbit. Yet the art world has also directed a speculation about its own animalian beyonds: the proliferation of Umwelten about which humans can only wonder and imagine. Such a task, though, is ethically primed from a humbled position in which humans are foreclosed from their historical anthropocentrism and opened to new perceptual capacities. Thus contemporary art initiates a new horizon of being with (and as) animals. In the same way that Donna Haraway analyses primary scenes of human-animal interaction (the laboratory, the domestic home, animal training schools, in situ ethological studies and beyond) in order to demonstrate the profound intra-action, co-responseabilities, and shared material-semiotic structure, it is worthwhile to probe the art world to understand the new visibility of animals. Where historically, artistic representation has subsumed animals into an anthropocentric symbolic, contemporary art has generated tactics by which to expose these processes of occlusion. It exposes seams of difference, be they the philosophical distinction between perishing and dying; between skin and pelt; or between generic and particular. More than this, contemporary art has become a living arena of relational activity even if it is anti-social (in the sense that

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it offers indifference, incomprehensible output, unknown intentions) in the name of an ethical acknowledgement of fundamental difference. Insofar as the art world has become the site of zoodramas, it has become a crucial site at which to explore alternative sensorial capabilities. Indeed, art drives the fundamental ethical question regarding how to develop a complex sensibility of and for non-human animals.

Notes 1. ‘Joseph Beuys im “Club 2”’ (1983), (accessed 28 August 2017). 2. Bruno Latour, Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), p. 247. 3. Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concept of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, trans. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995). 4. Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign, vol. 1, trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011); The Beast and the Sovereign, vol. 2, trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008); and The Animal That Therefore I Am, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008). For a discussion of Derrida’s critique of Heidegger’s claim that only man dies but the animal perishes, see Dawne McCance’s chapter on ‘Death’ in this volume. 5. Giorgio Agamben, The Open: Man and Animal, trans. Kevin Attell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002). 6. Ibid. p. 43. 7. Jakob von Uexküll, A Stroll Through the Worlds of Animals and Men: A Picture Book of Invisible Worlds, in Claire H. Schiller (ed. and trans.), Instinctive Behavior: The Development of a Modern Concept (New York: International Universities Press Inc., 1957), pp. 5–80. 8. Agamben, The Open, p. 65. 9. Ibid. p. 91. 10. Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, trans. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), p. 255. 11. Agamben, The Open, p. 65. 12. Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1971), p. 178. 13. Rikke Hansen, ‘Animal Skins in Contemporary Art’, Visual Art Practice 9:1 (2010), pp. 9–16. 14. Ibid. p. 15. 15. Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), p. 72. 16. Vinciane Despret, Quand le loup habitera avec l’agneau (Paris: Les empecheurs de penser en rond, 2002). Sections of this book have been translated into English and published in the journal Angelaki 20:2 (2015). 17. Christopher Mooney, ‘Pierre Huyghe’, Art Review, October 2013. 18. Allard van Hoorn, ‘Pierre Huyghe: The Moment of Suspension. Interview with Allard van Hoorn’, Domus, October 2011.

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6 Biopolitics Rick Elmore

B

iopolitics, particularly as developed by Michel Foucault and his Italian interpreters, has had little to say about animals or animal studies.1 Even the work of Giorgio Agamben, which most directly addresses animal life, presents a humanoriented and ultimately anthropocentric account of such life.2 Yet there has been a growing body of work that brings together the discourses of biopolitics and animal studies, most specifically in the analysis of biotechnology and the critique of capitalism’s role in the exploitation of animals and the natural world.3 In addition, there has been a recent attempt to cull from the diverse array of biopolitical discourses what one might call a general account of biopolitics, an account that, as I show, identifies at the heart of biopolitics a concern for the way in which the constituting of the categories of ‘life’ and ‘politics’ necessarily involves the exclusion of some ‘other’ life. On the basis of these developments, and particularly this concern for the exclusion of life, I chart a common ground between biopolitics, critical animal studies (CAS) and the work of Jacques Derrida, whose thinking provides the theoretical basis for much recent work in CAS. In particular I contend that, read through the lens of this common concern for exclusion, one sees that Derrida’s concept of sovereignty is fundamentally biopolitical, not just in the sense that it involves life and politics, but more specifically because it exemplifies the logic of exclusion at stake in biopolitics. Hence, this paper charts current developments in biopolitics by putting them into conversation with animal studies, mapping the deep affinity between the discourses of biopolitics, CAS and the work of Derrida.

Biopolitics, Foucault, and the Exclusion of ‘Life’ Biopolitics is a difficult notion to define, in part because it has come to mark both the general question of how to ‘make sense of the encounter between the concept of “life” and “politics”’, and a specific series of changes, mutations and developments within modernity and the history of liberalism detailed in the work of Michel Foucault.4 Given these divergent uses, it should come as no surprise that biopolitics has found wide, often contradictory use in fields across the humanities and social sciences from philosophy and sociology to anthropology, political science, biotechnology, postcolonial studies, critical race theory, queer theory, disability studies, critical prison studies and beyond.5 Hence, the notion of biopolitics remains very much a concept in flux. This difficulty in defining biopolitics is not, however, the result of a failure to clearly trace its uses and determinations; rather, this difficulty is an aspect of the concept itself,

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as the attempt to give an account of the encounter between life and politics is necessarily embroiled in the very encounter it wishes to detail. Consequently, ‘[e]ach answer to the question of what processes and structures, what rationalities and technologies, what epochs and historical eras could be called “biopolitics” is always and inevitably the result of a selective perspective’, the result precisely of a biopolitical decision.6 At the heart of biopolitics is a recognition that the determination of life and politics is always already at work, a fact that undermines in advance the possibility of settling, once and for all, the limits of biopolitical discourse. Yet despite these difficulties there have been recent attempts to draw out the common elements of biopolitical discourses, tracing their various uses in order to identify a shared set of concerns, questions and techniques.7 Nearly all of these commentators give special place to the work of Foucault and particularly his essay, ‘Right of Death and Power Over Life’, which appeared at the end of the first volume of The History of Sexuality and outlines perhaps the most influential reading of biopolitics to date.8 Following Foucault, these recent, systematically-oriented commentators present biopolitics as marking a certain constitutive logic of exclusion at the heart of political life, showing that the determining of ‘life’ and ‘politics’ is made possible only through an exclusion of some ‘other’ life. In ‘Right of Death and Power Over Life’ Foucault argues that, starting in the seventeenth century, the relationship between ‘life’ and ‘politics’ began to change, coming increasingly to be governed not by a traditional notion of sovereign power but by what he calls ‘biopolitical power’. This transition is heralded by a series of shifts in the concepts life and politics, in particular a shift in the exercise of power from individuals to populations.9 The exercise of sovereign power, as the right to put to death violators of the law, is increasingly superseded by the exercise of powers as the ‘right of the social body to ensure, maintain, or develop its life.’10 This is not to suggest that death becomes less frequent or less terrifying during this period, or that sovereign power goes away; rather, Foucault charts the changing orientation of political power towards life rather than death: ‘the ancient right to take life or let live’ coming to be replaced by the ‘power to foster life or disallow it to the point of death’.11 The concrete manifestation of this shift appears in the evolving character of power’s relationship to the body and in its dual focus on what Foucault calls the ‘body as machine’ and ‘the species body.’12 With the rise of the biological and medical sciences, the individual and their life increasingly come to be understood as a collection of more or less mechanical processes, processes that may be influenced, augmented, harnessed and controlled in order to maintain and increase an individual’s efficiency and survival.13 This understanding of the body as machine allows access to bodies and the micro-processes of life on a level never dreamed of within the traditional framework of sovereign power. As Campbell and Sitze put it in the introduction to their recent biopolitics reader: ‘[s] overeignty with all its laws didn’t fundamentally “seize” life. The knowledge-power of life, however, does – and it does so in the precise degree that scientific knowledge “grasps” the processes internal to the body.’14 While sovereign power controls the life of individuals through the threat of death and power to pardon, the notion of the body as a machine allows a far more subtle and unprecedented control of an individual’s life via the manipulation of the processes that make up and determine that life. This aspect of biopolitics is at the heart of recent debates over biotechnology, genetics, GMOs

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and cloning, as well as questions of genetic and biological property rights, medical surveillance, etc.15 This work indicates the degree to which the lives of individuals are no longer controlled primarily through the threat of death, but through the character, quality, duration, and manifestations of ‘life’. Yet while this conception of the body as machine changes power’s hold over life and the interior of individual bodies, Foucault also marks a shift towards the exercise of power at the level of populations. Following the rise of the ‘anatomo-politics’ of the body as machine, Foucault sees a transposition in the exercise of power from individual biological processes to the processes of biological populations marked by an increasing interest and exercise of power over reproduction, mortality rates, health standards, life expectancy, longevity, etc.16 The developments in the social sciences of ‘demography, the evaluation of the relationship between resources and inhabitants, the constructing of tables analyzing wealth and its circulation’ are all sites of this interest.17 Despite the anterior development of this exercise of power over populations, these two forms of power over bodies are not opposed; instead, they represent ‘two poles’ in the ‘explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugation of bodies and the control of populations, marking the beginning of the era of “biopower”’.18 Hence at root, Foucault’s articulation of biopower concerns the way in which political power comes increasingly to be exercised not only or primarily on the bodies of individual subjects as subjects, that is, as bearers of rights, freedoms, political desires, etc., but on the processes of life both anterior to and over and above these traditional sites of political subjectivity. One of the primary stakes of this shift is the expanding of political power beyond the sphere of traditional political institutions and practices, a shift Foucault sees in the growing exercise of power through norms rather than laws. Following the increasing focus on the processes of life, control in the era of biopolitics comes not primarily through explicit force but through ‘regulatory and corrective mechanisms’ that ‘qualify, measure, appraise, and hierarchize’ individuals around a ‘norm.’19 The logic of norms is one of ‘distribution’, a separating, categorising and circumscribing of bodies in the name of increasing their ‘value and utility’.20 This is why Foucault argues that biopower was an ‘indispensable element in the development of capitalism.’21 It is only through biopolitical control that productive forces of populations could be mobilised on the scale demanded by capitalism and industrialisation: Capitalism ‘would not have been possible without the controlled insertion of bodies into the machinery of production and the adjustment of the phenomenon of population to economic processes’, as well as the forms of ‘docility’ and ‘methods of power capable of optimising forces, aptitudes, and life’.22 There has been much work on this connection between biopower and capitalism and, particularly, on the transition from liberalism to neoliberalism that Foucault develops in his lectures on biopolitics.23 In addition, the influence of this reading is particularly evident in the work of major Italian thinkers of biopolitics, who, by and large, develop their analyses via readings of Foucault.24 However, the lesson of this shift from law to norms is the way in which biopower institutes forms of control that exceed the spheres of traditional politics and, consequently, seem to require new forms of political theory and analysis. This is not to suggest that there has not been significant debate about Foucault’s account, nor is it meant to minimise the fissures and gaps within his account.25 However, Foucault is generally read as having identified key elements in the development of biopower: the shift from individuals to populations, the unprecedented access of power to the interiority of the body and reproduction of populations, the eclipsing of law by norms, and

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the profound role of capitalism and neoliberalism in defining political and social life. It is on the basis of these elements that recent commentators develop a general account of biopolitics, one in which the constitution of the categories of ‘life’ and ‘politics’ arises only with the exclusion of some ‘other’ life. In his groundbreaking introduction to biopolitics, Thomas Lemke argues that Foucault’s account, outlined above, shows ‘the apparently stable boundary between the natural and the political . . . is less an origin than an effect of political action’.26 For Lemke, the lesson of Foucault’s account is that the categories of ‘life’ and ‘politics’ are necessarily co-constituting, the institutions and practices of ‘politics’ arising alongside a certain conception (knowledge-power) of subjects, bodies and species that transform, augment and contest one another in ways that fundamentally resist any naturalisation. The problem with many accounts of biopolitics, for Lemke, is that they naturalise these categories, using one side of the biopolitical dyad, either ‘life’ or ‘politics’, to stabilise the other, showing, for example, that the political sphere is just a mirror of biology, or that political regulations such as environmental protections can redefine our relationship to the natural world.27 Yet all such accounts ‘fail to explain the instability and fragility of the border between “life” and “politics”’, failing to see that biopolitics names ‘not a new ancillary field of politics, but rather a problem space at the heart of politics itself’.28 The problem to which biopolitics points is, for Lemke, the way in which the delimiting of the political (whether in terms of space, content, principles or institutions, etc.) necessarily involves the marking of some entities or forms of life as ‘political’ in opposition to those that are not. This is the genius of Foucault’s account, showing that biopolitics names a co-constituting and exclusionary logic at the heart of politics. One sees this logic clearly in Foucault’s biopolitical account of racism, where ‘the living of a certain self-identified “race” of human beings becomes identical with the goal of excluding another “race” from life itself, as if the death internal to life could be avoided . . . by creating a stark new caesura internal to species-being’.29 This creation of a ‘caesura’ internal to life, the marking of some life as included and other life as excluded, is the biopolitical logic at work in all political founding. Hence, for theorists like Lemke, Campbell and Sitze, biopolitics is, at root, a logic of constitutive exclusion, the circumscribing of what form(s) of life will be politically viable and visible and what forms will not.30 Now all of these theorists insist that Foucault’s account and their reading of it are far from exhaustive, and therefore this definition is one among others, always contestable and limited. However, this emphasis on the logic of constitutive exclusion in Foucault’s account fosters a connection between the discourses of biopolitics, critical animal studies (CAS) and the work of Derrida, insofar as it is precisely a logic of constitutive exclusion that not only grounds Derrida’s engagement with ‘the question of the animal’ but also inspires much recent work in critical animal studies (CAS). Hence the following section develops this affinity between CAS, Derrida’s work and the discourses of biopolitics. I begin by clarifying what I mean by CAS.

Critical Animal Studies as a Biopolitics Like biopolitics, CAS is a contested field. Since the founding of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies (ICAS) in 2001, there has been a huge increase in work in animal studies. Yet scholars often mark a distinction between CAS and animal studies, insisting that they are not synonymous terms.31 The heart of this difference circles around

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the question of political engagement and the insistence in CAS of a ‘direct focus on the circumstances and treatment of animals’.32 In general, CAS is characterised by scholars within its ranks as more explicitly political than other forms of animal studies, an emphasis that creates tensions around issues such as conference catering, and fosters the conception (even if somewhat of a caricature) of CAS as militantly ideological and other forms of animal studies as slavishly academic.33 In this regard, many CAS scholars see parallels between the development of CAS and that of feminism (and also critical race theory and disability studies), not only because of the explicit connections between the exploitation and domination of ‘nature’ and that of ‘women’, but also because both these fields arise at the intersection of activism and the academy, sharing worries over the conservative and repressive forces at play in the logic of institutionalisation.34 Hence, given the interdisciplinary, intersectional, and social and political embeddedness of human-animal relations, one of the defining aspects of CAS is its insistence that animal studies remain attentive to the ways in which its discourses are enmeshed (sometimes in destructive and counterproductive ways) in the forces, relations and institutions they critique. One can see here a fundamental affinity between CAS and biopolitics, insofar as both these discourses recognise and attempt to address their own situatedness. Moreover, this insistence on self-critical political engagement orients CAS, like biopolitics, towards a concern for the role played by capitalism and political economy in the oppression of animals and the exploitation of the natural world. Many CAS scholars worry that other forms of animal studies underestimate, ignore or downplay the role of capitalism and capitalist political economy in ‘shaping humananimal relations and the exploitation of other animals’.35 CAS scholars take it as selfevident that any serious critique of human-animal relations and exploitation requires a critique of capitalism.36 In particular, there is an interest in charting the intersection between the mistreatment of human workers and the exploitation of animals through, for example, attention to the ‘animalisation’ of the poor and working class.37 In addition, CAS scholars insist on recognising the unbelievable scale of violence done to non-human animals in the economically motivated processes of agriculture and food production, as well as research and experimentation. Hence, as in biopolitical discourses, the role of capitalism and neoliberalism is central. However, even more than biopolitics, CAS is guided by arguably one of the most far-reaching critiques of human exceptionalism in the academy today. One might take it for granted that animal studies necessarily involves a critique of human exceptionalism, insofar as challenging and redefining the relationship between humans and animals must necessarily confront the longstanding Western chauvinism towards animals and the animality of the human. Yet many scholars across animal studies argue that traditional animal rights remain problematically humanist.38 In particular, as Dawne McCance argues, the utilitarian and rights-based discourses that have dominated animal rights and environmental ethics since the 1970s retain a profoundly humanist ‘like us’ standard of moral inclusion.39 In these models, moral consideration of non-human life is granted on the basis of its similarity, through biological structure, cognitive capacities or other abilities or traits, to human life (and often only a certain conception of human life at that). The result of this implicit humanism is that animal liberation discourses retain many of the ‘speciesist, anthropocentric, subjectoriented, and dualist’ categories of Western humanist discourse.40 McCance represents

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only one voice within CAS, but this critique is, as Taylor and Twine argue, ‘highly cognate to CAS’ generally.41 In particular, following the work of Derrida, theorists like McCance argue that the humanism of animal studies results in large part from a failure to address the deeply metaphysical nature of the division between ‘the human’ and ‘the animal.’42 On this argument, traditional animal rights discourses fail not only to see the way in which the categories of ‘the human’ and ‘the animal’ are constructed and co-constituting, ‘the animal’ coming to define the antithesis of ‘the human’, but, more profoundly, they fail to account for the way in which the power to distinguish rigorously between ‘the human’ and ‘the animal’ is itself already at play in this very distinction. Hence, like the biopolitical concern for the way in which the categories of ‘life’ and ‘politics’ are themselves products of a biopolitical decision, CAS’s critique of human exceptionalism suggests a radical rethinking of the always co-constituting limits of ‘the human’ and ‘the animal’, a rethinking nowhere more rigorously advanced than in the work of Derrida. In both the The Beast and the Sovereign and The Animal That Therefore I Am, Derrida explores ‘the question of the animal’: the logic by which humans have substantiated and justified their difference from and supposed superiority to all other animals.43 In particular, Derrida questions the confidence with which the Western philosophical tradition marks an indivisible and singular limit between humans and animals. It is on the basis of this supposedly rigorous differentiation that most of the history of philosophy (and much of Western culture) will deny animals access to an entire list of attributes (language, logos, history, mourning, lying, death, etc.), a denial that, for Derrida, grounds the profoundest and most violent ‘war’ against animals of ‘genocidal’ proportions.44 Derrida’s rethinking of the limit of the human and the animal emerges in resistance to this confident, singular division, questioning on what basis ‘the human’ can be separated from ‘the animal’. However, in a move that will mark the uniqueness of Derrida’s approach and his profound influence on CAS, he contests this division by insisting on multiplying rather than reducing the recognition of the differences between living creatures. One of the most obvious ways of contesting the subjugation of non-human animals is to argue that, in fact, they share in various capacities that ought to exempt them from such subjugation. This is, for example, the basis of traditional animal rights discourses and particularly the work of thinkers such as Peter Singer and Tom Regan.45 Derrida certainly acknowledges that there are good reasons to doubt, on the basis of the biological and zoological sciences, the denial of various supposedly unique human attributes to non-human animals. Yet his argument proceeds quite differently. As he writes in The Animal That Therefore I Am, ‘[e]verything I’ll say will consist, certainly not in effacing the limit [between humans and non-humans], but in multiplying its figures, in complicating, thickening, delinearising, folding, and dividing the line precisely by making it increase and multiply.’46 While animal rights often works to minimise the differences between humans and animals by showing how animals share some traits with humans, Derrida’s thinking works to increase and multiply the recognition of differences. This is because, for Derrida, one cannot but affirm that there are real differences between human life and all other life. It is only on the basis of these differences, in fact, that one can identify something like ‘the human’ at all, since without some differentiation there would be no way to distinguish between a human and any other creature. Derrida certainly recognises that there are many similarities between human

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and non-human life, and he emphasises the ‘incontestability’ of these similarities several times. However, he insists on the multiplication of differences in order to expose the necessary and constitutive role the marking of difference plays in the establishing of the distinction between ‘the human’ and ‘the animal’: no human or human world without the marking of difference, a fact that exposes the always ideological nature of the attempt to overcome this marking of difference. Derrida’s argument thus points to the inherently ideological nature of the attempt to totally abandon or overcome the divide between ‘the human’ and ‘the animal’, showing that such attempts risk re-establishing the very human exceptionalism they claim to critique. There is thus a resonance between Derrida’s argument and Lemke’s concern for those biopolitical discourses that deny the co-constituting nature of ‘life’ and ‘politics’, since all such accounts ignore their own ideological embeddedness and risk, therefore, replicating the logic they wish to contest. Yet the affirmation of the difference between human and non-human life is, for Derrida, only the beginning of the story, since once one affirms this difference, one immediately opens up an entire set of more or less ‘abyssal’ or absolute differences not only between humans and animals, but between different species of animals, and between all individual living creatures. Having argued for the impossibility of totally abandoning some differentiation between human and non-human life, Derrida goes on to extend radically this logic of differentiation: In spite of this identity and this difference [between human and non-human life], neither animals of different species, nor humans of different cultures, nor any animal or human individual inhabit the same world as another, however close and similar these living individuals may be . . . the difference between one world and another will remain always unbridgeable.47 For Derrida, the principle of difference by which one marks a limit between what is human and what is animal logically extends to every species and individual, since, for example, the differences between a jellyfish and a grizzly bear are surely as abyssal or radical as the differences between a human and a grizzly bear or even between one human and any other. Every creature, no matter how seemingly similar to another, never inhabits exactly the same world as another, since in order to recognise any creature at all requires that we mark a difference, no matter how minimal, between it and the rest of the world. What this minimal but necessary logic of difference shows is that ‘the community of the world’, the principle on which one grounds the possibility of a shared world or any commonality between entities, is ‘always deconstructable, nowhere and never given in nature’.48 Any principle of similarity by which one would group together living entities, be it language, geographic location, knowledge, traits, capacities, or attributes, is always ‘constructed’, always determined by a decisionary ‘apparatus’ and therefore always contestable. No principle of gathering or similarity stands beyond question, no logic of grouping can overcome this deconstructability. Hence, for Derrida, the marking of the difference between humans and animals points to the inherent instability of all such markings. Here we see Derrida take the Western tradition’s commitment to an indivisible and singular difference between humans and animals and turn it on its head, showing

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it to be both an unstable assertion of similarity, an inherently contestable grouping together of humans by some supposedly shared attribute(s), and, simultaneously, an ideological erasure of the multiple and unbridgeable differences between every single living creature and any other. Derrida’s critique takes the concern for human exceptionalism in a radical direction, therefore, calling into question not just this or that standard of moral inclusion, not just this or that way of organising the relationships between living things, but the very logic of inclusion and exclusion as such, a calling into question that shakes to their very cores the categories of ‘the human’ and ‘the non-human’. Derrida’s critique of the question of the animal shows that the delimiting of ‘the human’, ‘the animal’, and all determinations of ‘life’, in fact, require a ‘decision’ to determine which characteristics, elements, entities and objects will be included in these categories and which will not. This ‘decision’ does not merely occur on the conscious level of, for example, deciding what capacities we believe justify inclusion in the sphere of moral consideration or whether one will consume the dead carcasses of certain animals; rather, it is a decisionary apparatus built into the very logic of differentiation as such, meaning that it is not something one can simply abandon or avoid. Hence Derrida’s critique raises an entire set of fundamentally different questions than those of traditional animal rights: Where does the human begin and end? What is the nature of the human world, if the category of the human is inherently unstable? What apparatuses have historically adjudicated and substantiated these differences, and for whose benefit and whose loss? How can one contest this logic without simply replicating it, given that the logic of critique itself is embroiled in this decisionary apparatus? CAS has been one of the primary sites at which these questions and the implications of Derrida’s critique have been taken up. However, one will also notice the undeniable similarity between Derrida’s critique and the biopolitical logic of constitutive exclusion outlined above. Derrida’s thinking on the animal shares with the discourses of biopolitics a concern for the way in which the establishing of the categories of ‘life’ always involves a certain inclusion and exclusion of life, a certain ‘decision’ on what life will be given consideration, intelligibility and attention and which will not. Interestingly, however, Derrida’s work is rarely read as explicitly biopolitical, a somewhat odd fact not just in the sense that his work constantly connects the question of the animal to politics but, as I have argued, in the much more technical sense that these discourses share a concern for the logic of exclusion they see at the core of politics and human exceptionalism. In this light the discourses of CAS provide a bridge, I would argue, between Derrida’s work and that of biopolitics, marking a site of potential and largely unexplored collaboration between deconstruction and Foucauldian biopolitics. However, it also indicates the growing and essential role animal studies plays in what Foucault called the ‘hyper and pessimistic activism’ implied by his work and, by extension, biopolitics generally.49 In an age of climate catastrophe, the discourses of CAS challenge us to rethink the role of theory, suggesting that there is something deeply ideological in theory that would appear implicitly or explicitly to have nothing to say about non-human life, or that would claim to be political but not biopolitical. Hence in the spirit of extending this site of potential collaboration between biopolitics, deconstruction and animal studies, my chapter closes by clarifying the biopolitical character of Derrida’s notion of ‘sovereignty’ and the deconstructive project generally.

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Biopolitical Sovereignty and the Biopolitics of Deconstruction In the first session of his lectures on the death penalty, Derrida begins with the question of whether, perhaps, ‘the death penalty is what is proper to man’.50 He says he would be ‘tempted’ to answer in the affirmative, suggesting that it is the power to put to death, the ‘sovereign decision’ on who lives and who dies, that humans have not only reserved for themselves but, more fundamentally, that defines the very essence of humanity. No human is without this power or ‘decision’ to end life, a decision that Derrida emphasises always comes from ‘the other’ and cannot therefore be grounded or legitimated absolutely.51 Derrida associates this power of decision here not with the question of the animal, as he will a few years later in his lectures on The Beast and the Sovereign, but with the question of capital punishment, such punishment being a site that exposes a certain metaphysics of ‘the human’. However, the concept that bridges these discourses, not only between animals and punishment but between animals and politics more generally, is sovereignty. In fact, Derrida argues across his later work that this power of sovereignty extends beyond the notion of putting to death outlined by Foucault’s notion of disciplinary power, encompassing an essential power to mark out boundaries and limits. In Rogues, Derrida describes sovereignty as ‘the act’ that ‘must and can, by force, put an end in a single, indivisible stroke to the endless discussion’.52 Sovereignty is the power to end discussion insofar as it is an act that proclaims the identity of a thing – an act that establishes that x is x, silencing the need for further debate. Sovereignty ‘is a circularity, indeed a sphericity. Sovereignty is round; it is a rounding off.’53 A sovereign act establishes the line that separates what is inside from what is outside by circling back, recoiling around its point of departure, tracing a circle around that point, a circle that makes possible the recognition of that origin as something distinct from what is outside it. In the case of the distinction between ‘the human’ and ‘the animal’, sovereignty names not just the power to decide what characteristics or traits are included in these concepts, but the power to establish the very borders that constitute and, simultaneously, separate them. It is this marking out, this circularity, that makes possible the recognition of ‘the human’ as something distinct from ‘the animal’. Hence sovereignty names not just every ‘decision’ on who lives or who dies but, more fundamentally, the originary structure that creates the possibility for such decisions at all. In this sense, sovereignty is Derrida’s name for the logic that Foucault sees in biopolitics, the logic of constitutive exclusion that makes possible the demarcation of the categories of ‘life’ and ‘politics’. This is not to suggest that there are not important differences between Derrida’s and Foucault’s accounts – most importantly, that the defining aspect of biopower for Foucault is the management of populations, a management that would be internal to a species, while for Derrida this power always comes from ‘the other’, suggesting a externalising/excluding logic rather than an internalising logic. At stake in this difference would be the degree to which a Derridean articulation of biopower would downplay its productive aspects, a concern that is central to Foucault’s account.54 In addition, insofar as sovereignty names, for Derrida, not just the marking out of the limits between ‘the human’ and ‘the animal’ or even between ‘the living’ and ‘the non-living’, one might be tempted to read sovereignty as only contingently concerned with questions of life or politics, and as, therefore, not essentially biopolitical. Yet Derrida will argue that insofar as sovereignty always comes from ‘the

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other’, the exclusionary logic of the sovereign decision also always risks not just this or that exclusion but a certain exclusion of ‘life’, and therefore an exclusion internal to the category of ‘life’. Derrida everywhere associates the logic of sovereignty with the risk of death, not just in the classical sense that sovereignty is the power to put to death violators of the law, but in the structural sense that insofar as the legitimacy of the sovereign decision always comes from the other, it always risks the other. In The Gift of Death, Derrida takes up this risk explicitly: As soon as I enter into a relation with the other, with the gaze, look, request, love, command, or call of the other, I know that I can respond only by sacrificing ethics, that is, by sacrificing whatever obliges me to also respond, in the same way, in the same instant, to all the others. I offer a gift of death, I betray, I don’t need to raise my knife over my son on Mount Moriah for that. Day and night, at every instant, on all the Mount Moriahs of this world, I am doing that, raising my knife over what I love and must love, over those to whom I owe absolute fidelity, incommensurably.55 Entering into a relationship with the other, which is the very condition of subjectivity and ipseity, requires recourse to a logic of decision. This sovereign decision will involved demarcating who or what one will honour, who or what one will give moral consideration, and, conversely, who or what will be excluded from such consideration. This is why response and decision must ‘sacrifice ethics’, the logic of sovereign decision demanding that one can give consideration to some only by excluding others. Every decision is at every instance as much a securing as a sacrificing, therefore a decision on the border that will separate the considered from the unconsidered. Hence, for Derrida, sovereignty, even when it does not decide directly on the ‘living’, necessarily involves ‘life’, bringing along with it a certain risk to ‘life’ insofar as it always brings with it the structures of self/other, reaction/response, ethics/sacrifice. It is this inseparability that suggests the fundamentally biopolitical nature of Derrida’s concept of sovereignty. However, it also highlights the orienting role biopolitical questions have generally for the deconstructive project. What if, as Derrida argues, every decision, every marking of a border, concept, and category is a marking of exclusion, a biopolitical decision? What does this say about the deconstructive project? To begin with, it shows the degree to which Derrida’s thinking is a relentless critique of the logic of sovereignty, a critique of the power to demarcate the inside from the outside, the included form the excluded. It shows that, for Derrida, the sovereign cut is more than a logical and quasi-transcendental demarcating of limits and conditions of possibility. It shows that deconstruction is, perhaps first and foremost, concerned with ‘life’ and ‘death’, concerned with whose death counts as an ethical issue and what life can be sacrificed with impunity. In short, it shows that sovereignty is a bio-decision and the deconstructive critique of sovereignty a biopolitical critique. In addition, it would also suggest, against some commentators, a certain call to activism within deconstruction.56 For example, in the case of Abraham cited above, the decision to honour God’s command at the expense of his duty to Isaac is certainly an example of the irreducibility of sovereign violence – the fact that the honouring of one relation demands the betrayal of another. Likewise, Abraham’s ultimate recourse

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to the sacrificing of a ram in the place of his son is also a moment of this logic of betrayal. However, these moments hardly have the same material consequences. Disobeying God, killing your son and killing a ram are not materially equivalent, even if they are all moments of decision, moments of exclusion and moments of violence. It makes a difference what Abraham does and how one understands his actions, even if his actions cannot be secured beyond violence. The biopolitical nature of deconstruction suggests that it always matters what one does because every decision is a decision on violence, a decision of who or what can be sacrificed. Hence, the aligning of deconstruction and biopolitics indicates a more concrete way to understand what deconstructive critiques, readings and engagements might offer discourses like CAS. Yet it also suggests several other possibilities. The aligning of biopolitics, CAS and deconstruction allows us to see a much greater potential for dialogue between Foucault’s and Derrida’s projects, something that, until recently, has remained relatively limited.57 In addition, it shows the greater role questions of the animal can and ought to have on the discourses of biopolitics. Derrida’s careful tracing of the fundamental entanglement of the categories of ‘the human’ and ‘the animal’ suggest that non-human life is not just something that biopolitical discourses ought to be able to speak to, but, more powerfully, that biopolitics necessarily arose alongside the domination and exploitation of animals. To take, for example, the notion of the body as a machine that plays such a decisive role in Foucault’s account of biopolitics, McCance shows that it was precisely animal vivisection – and particularly large-scale canine experimentation by physicians like William Harvey – that ‘contributed immensely to the seventeenth-century application of mechanics to anatomy and physiology, and eventually to solidifying the view of the body as but a machine’.58 This view of the body as machine arose only through a relationship to animal bodies, the ‘animal’ body coming to change radically our understanding of the ‘human’ body. Hence the connection between biopolitics, CAS and deconstruction challenges us to think more rigorously not only about the fundamental relationships between our concepts of ‘the human’ and ‘the non-human’, their co-constituting relations, fissures and implications, but also about the way in which the historical absence of ‘the animal’ in the discourses of biopolitics marks an ideological blind spot, one that appears all the worse given that the ‘death penalties’ that make possible our conception of ‘the human’ continue, at least numerically, to be exercised far more on non-human life than human life. Hence, this connection suggests that it is in the discourses of CAS and animal studies more generally that biopolitics and deconstruction come to see, perhaps more clearly, their limits, potentials and ways forward.

Notes 1. Donna J. Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, Women: The Reinvention of Nature (London: Free Association Press, 1991), particularly Chapter 10, ‘The Biopolitics of Postmodern Bodies: Constitution of Self in Immune System Discourse’, pp. 203–30; Paul Rutherford, ‘The Entry of Life into History’, in Eric Darier (ed.), Discourses of the Environment (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), pp. 37–62; and Thomas Lemke, Biopolitics: An Advanced Introduction (New York: State University of New York Press, 2011), pp. 93–6. 2. Matthew Calarco, Zoographies: The Question of the Animal From Heidegger to Derrida (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), p. 98.

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3. See for example Vandana Shiva and Ingunn Moser, Biopolitics: A Feminist and Ecological Reader on Biotechnology (London: Zed Books, 1985); Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Biocapital: The Constitution of Postgenomic Life (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006); Melinda Cooper, Life as Surplus: Biotechnology and Capitalism in the Neoliberal Era (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008); Richard Twine, Animals as Biotechnology: Ethics, Sustainability and Critical Animal Studies (London and Washington: Earthscan, 2010); Jonathan L. Clark, ‘Ecological Biopower, Environmental Violence against Animals, and the “Greening” of the Factory Farm’, Journal of Critical Animal Studies 10:4 (2012), pp. 109–29; Matthew Chrulew, ‘Animals in Biopolitical Theory: Between Agamben and Negri’, New Formations 1 (2012), pp. 53–67. 4. Timothy Campbell and Adam Sitze, Biopolitics: A Reader (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013), p. 2. See also Lemke, Biopolitics, pp. 1–8; and Vanessa Lemm and Miguel Vatter, The Government of Life: Foucault, Biopolitics, and Neoliberalism (New York: Fordham University Press, 2014), pp. 1–13. 5. Lemke’s Biopolitics gives the first systematic account of the term ‘biopolitics’, from its coining in the 1920s through its recent emergence in the discussion of biocapital and biotechnology. Although Lemke’s work is by no means exhaustive, it is the most systematic and complete account of biopolitics to date. 6. Lemke, Biopolitics, pp. 2–3. 7. See in particular Lemke (2011), Lemm and Vatter (2014) and Campbell and Sitze (2013). 8. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality Vol. I: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books, 1991), pp. 135–59. For an excellent, short account of Foucault’s notion of biopolitics see Andrew Dilts, Punishment and Inclusion: Race, Membership, and the Limits of American Liberalism (New York: Fordham University Press, 2014), pp. 60–7. 9. Foucault, History of Sexuality, p. 137. 10. Ibid. p. 136. 11. Ibid. p. 138. 12. Ibid. p. 139. 13. Ibid. 14. Campbell and Sitze, Biopolitics, p. 13. 15. See for example Michael J. Flower and Deborah Heath, ‘Micro-Anatomo Politics: Mapping the Human Genome Project’, Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 17 (1993), pp. 27–41; Deborah Heath, Rayna Rapp and Karen-Sue Taussig, ‘Genetic Citizenship’, in David Nugent and Joan Vincent (eds), Companion to the Handbook of Political Anthropology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), pp. 152–67; and Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (New York: Broadway Books, 2011). 16. Foucault, History of Sexuality, p. 139. 17. Ibid. p. 140. 18. Ibid. pp. 139–40. Foucault does not mark a clear difference between ‘biopower’ and ‘biopolitics’, and often uses these terms interchangeably. 19. Ibid. p. 144. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid. pp. 140–1. 22. Ibid. p. 141. 23. Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–1979, trans. Graham Burchell (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). See also Wendy Brown, ‘American Nightmare: Neoliberalism, Neoconservatism, and De-Democratization’, Political Theory 34:6 (2006), pp. 690–714; Jamie Peck and Adam Tickell, ‘Conceptualizing Neoliberalism, Thinking Thatcherism’, in Helga Leitner, Jamie Peck and Eric S. Sheppard (eds), Contesting Neoliberalism: Urban Frontiers (New York: Guilford, 2007), pp. 26–50; Jason

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24. 25.

26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

31.

32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38.

39. 40. 41. 42. 43.

44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50.

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rick elmore Read, ‘A Genealogy of Homo-Economicus: Neoliberalism and the Production of Subjectivity’, Foucault Studies 6 (2009), pp. 25–36; and Shannon Winnubst, ‘The Queer Thing about Neoliberal Pleasure: A Foucauldian Warning’, Foucault Studies 14 (2012), (accessed 28 August 2017). I am thinking here particularly of Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito and Antonio Negri. See for example Michael Dillon and Julian Reid, ‘Global Liberal Governance: Biopolitics, Security, and War’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies 30:1 (2012), pp. 41–66, and Roberto Esposito, Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life (New York: Polity, 2011), pp. 170–2. Lemke, Biopolitics, pp. 31–2. Ibid. pp. 3–4. Ibid. pp. 31–2. Campbell and Sitze, Biopolitics, pp. 18–19. I take this term ‘constitutive exclusion’ from the work of Sina Kramer. See Sina Kramer, ‘Derrida’s “Antigonanette”: On the Quasi-Transcendental’, Southern Journal of Philosophy 52:4 (2014), pp. 521–51. Nik Taylor and Richard Twine, The Rise of Critical Animal Studies: From the Margins to the Centre (London: Routledge, 2014), p. 1. See also S. Best, A. Nocella, R. Kahn, C. Gigliotti and L. Kemmerer, ‘Introducing Critical Animal Studies’, Journal of Critical Animal Studies, 5:1 (2007), pp. 4–5; Dawne McCance, Critical Animal Studies: An Introduction (New York: State University of New York Press, 2013) and John Sanbonmatsu, Critical Theory and Animal Liberation (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011). Taylor and Twine, The Rise, p. 1. Ibid. p. 3. Ibid. p. 5. Ibid. p. 9. Also see Best et al.. ‘Introducing’, pp. 4–5. Ibid. p. 9. Ibid. See for example Kelly Oliver, Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), p. 25; Matthew Calarco, Zoographies: The Question of the Animal from Heidegger to Derrida (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008); and Leonard Lawlor, This Is Not Sufficient: An Essay on Animality and Human Nature in Derrida (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007). McCance, Critical, p. 3. Ibid. p. 3. Taylor and Twine, The Rise, p. 6. McCance, Critical, p. 63. Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign, vol. 1, trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011); The Beast and the Sovereign, vol. 2, trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008); and The Animal That Therefore I Am, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008). Derrida, Animal, p. 235; Beast I, p. 130. Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (New York: Ecco Press, 2001); Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights (Oakland: University of California Press, 2004). Derrida, Animal, p. 29. Derrida, Beast II, pp. 8–9. Ibid. Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, 2nd edn (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), pp. 231–2. Jacques Derrida, The Death Penalty, vol. 1, trans. Peggy Kamuf (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), p. 1.

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51. Ibid. 52. Jacques Derrida, Rogues: Two Essays on Reason, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), p. 10. 53. Ibid. p. 13. 54. On this difference of productive power see Matthew Chrulew, ‘“An Art of Both Caring and Locking Up”: Biopolitical Thresholds in the Zoological Garden’, SubStance 43:2 (2014). 55. Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death, trans. David Wills (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), p. 68. 56. See, for example, the debate surrounding Martin Hägglund’s Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), and his claim that one cannot derive any normative ethics from deconstruction. For a crystal-clear summary of this argument see Samir Haddad, Derrida and The Inheritance of Democracy (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013), pp. 75–80. 57. Two new volumes return to the relationship between Derrida and Foucault: Vernon Cisney, Yubraj Aryal and Nicolae Morar (eds), Between Foucault and Derrida (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016) and Samir Haddad, Olivia Custer and Penelope Deutscher (eds), Foucault/Derrida 50 Years Later (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016). 58. McCance, Critical, p. 49.

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7 Capitalism Nicole Shukin

Animal Life and the Spirit(s) of Capitalism

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ritics of contemporary capitalism – variously referred to as the neoliberal bioeconomy, biocapitalism or even ‘the regime of Lively Capital’1 – have sought to discern anew what Max Weber identified over a century ago in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904), namely, the particular ‘faith form[s]’ that serve as accomplices to the system of capitalism at different historical moments.2 George Simmel, a contemporary of Weber’s, had already drawn attention to the ‘quasi-religious’ faith that infuses debt and credit relations in a market economy in his 1900 masterpiece The Philosophy of Money.3 And prior to both Simmel and Weber, in the first volume of Capital Marx famously likened the fetishism of commodities to the animistic beliefs of non-European cultures, an analogy designed to startle Europeans into noticing the ‘metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties’ shrouding commodity relations.4 In believing that a hard-headed historical materialism could dispel the ostensibly atavistic and animistic charms of capitalist production, however, Marx himself remained blind to his own secular faith in the superiority of enlightenment reason, as the new materialist thinker Jane Bennett contends in her theorisation of ‘vibrant matter’.5 In the early twenty-first century, Nikolas Rose, Kaushik Sunder Rajan and Melinda Cooper have separately reflected on the ethic or spirit of biocapitalism and the neoliberal bioeconomy, showing how the speculative markets excited by the life sciences and biotechnologies in the latter half of the twentieth century articulate anew with salvational promises, particularly those pronounced by evangelical Protestantism.6 Writes Sunder Rajan: ‘If the “spirit” of capitalism could persuasively be said to have been animated by a Protestant ethic, then the spirit of biocapitalism, certainly in the United States, could be said to be animated by a “born-again” ethic.’7 Few of the thinkers who search out the spirit of capitalism have ventured to ask, however, how it may historically concern or involve non-human animals at any given conjuncture. Donna Haraway, whose analysis of ‘Lively Capital’ is focalised through the passionate study of human-canine relationships, is a notable exception.8 Yet there are signs that a new spirit of capitalism is afoot today, one bound up with a growing company of animal souls whose vitality and sociality promise to give market economies a new lease on life. The salvational promises with which capitalism articulates at different moments in its history appear, more and more frequently, to be taking the form of an implicit faith in animals’ saving grace.9 The grace of animals is saving, as I’ll elaborate, in both the messianic and economic senses of the word. Human subjects

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of a system of global capitalism that is at risk of exhausting earth’s resources are turning to other animals – more accurately, to what I’ll call the ‘multispecies common’ – to minister to depleted life and redeem capitalism’s social and environmental ruins, both spiritually and materially. While the focus in what follows is on the saving grace of animals, Anna Tsing shows that other life-forms, specifically matsutake mushrooms, similarly come to carry a complex burden of hope that life is possible in the ‘capitalist ruins’.10 Springing up in deforested and damaged environments in a manner that might best be described as forgiving, matsutake mushrooms surprise by ‘manag[ing] to live despite capitalism’.11 The mushrooms not only grace the ruins with their forgiving resilience, by fetching extraordinary prices on the market they redeem economic value from damaged environments at the same time. The historical context for my exploration of the idea of animals’ saving grace is a neoliberal order of planetary capitalism or a ‘Capitalocene’12 in which earth’s life-support systems are at risk of being spent to an extent which now jeopardises the futurity of capitalism itself. The ecological Marxist James O’Connor has a term for the crisis which arises when environmental damages caused by capitalism’s productive forces become so deleterious that its own conditions of existence are paradoxically endangered; he calls this crisis around the reproduction of capitalism’s ecological conditions of production ‘the second contradiction of capitalism’.13 To understand how different actors and forces of capitalism respond to this crisis, we need to better account for the spiritual as well as material burden of hope placed on other animals to live. Given that non-human animals have historically suffered a heavy burden of dying rather than living for capitalism, the current conjuncture demands a significant rethinking of the shifting relationship between capitalism and animals. Under the Western Cartesian tradition, non-human creatures have routinely been consigned to the lower, mechanical order of the body as opposed to that of mind and spirit. Descartes’s ostensible proofs that animals are mere automata rather than thinking and feeling beings has supplied one of the key rationales for their merciless instrumentalisation and sacrifice under the past several centuries of capitalism. Yet persistent strains of vitalist belief in the ‘electric’ magnetism, hypnotic affect and healing power of non-human creatures have survived as subcurrents of capitalist modernity.14 Today, a case can be made that belief in the vitality and souls of animals no longer subsists as an occult belief at odds with dominant Cartesian sensibilities, but as an increasingly popular article of faith which functions, among other things, to mitigate the crisis posed by the second contradiction of capitalism. In the realm of critical theory, thinkers associated with new materialist philosophies (Jane Bennett, Anna Tsing, Karen Barad and Bruno Latour, among others) have played a prominent role in legitimising previously discredited animisms by viewing matter, technology and other species as agential, affective and charismatic, something that hints at the risk new materialisms may run of inadvertently colluding with a spirit of capitalism that seeks to absolve itself of its ruinous impacts by valorising the vitality of things that thrive despite the ruins, as Tsing puts it in her study of matsutake mushrooms. Despite the assumed dryness of economic discourse, the notion of ‘animal spirits’ was already a feature of Keynesian economics, a concept with which Keynes tried to account for the role that human emotion or vital optimism – we might say, human

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animality – plays in the vibrancy of the economy (bringing the human into view as an irrational investor who betrays the ideal of the rational Cartesian subject).15 And although various schools of neoliberal economics arise in reaction against Keynesianism, the idea of animal spirits isn’t necessarily dispelled; instead, the optimistic effect that the company of other animals can have upon the irrational ‘animal spirits’ of humans arguably begins to enter in new ways into the calculus of market health and ‘human capital’, while animals themselves inspire neoliberal discourses of market resiliency, biomimicry and futurity.16 No longer deemed mere bodies, machines or objects, animals are increasingly imagined as companion subjects of market life, potentially if not always actually recognised as value-adding creatures whose intelligence, affect and ingenuity promises to redeem a depredatory order of planetary capitalism in which many are losing faith. In the first few sections of this chapter, I establish a tentative framework for critically engaging the relationship between capitalism and non-human animals today. In the final sections, I present an eclectic series of scenes which attempt in various ways to illustrate what I’m calling the saving grace of animals. I accompany each scene with some ‘scattered speculations’ on what it may reveal about neoliberal cultures of capitalism which themselves speculate, imaginatively and financially, in animal life as remedy and redeemer of a sinful system whose unregulated growth has thrown planet Earth into profound ecological danger.17 While sin seldom figures explicitly within neoliberal discourses, Melinda Cooper suggests that neoliberalism emerged in the 1970s in response to ‘limits to growth’ studies that confronted capitalism with evidence that our planet could not support the pace of its earthly transgressions. As Cooper observes, a crisis was triggered by the Club of Rome’s world futures report in 1972, which pronounced that capitalism would soon bump up against the material limits of a finite earth. As with other crises in the history of capitalism, this one spurred a dramatic reorganisation of the system of capitalism to circumvent the possibility of growth being limited by natural barriers. ‘When capitalism confronts the geochemical limits of the earth, where does it move?’ asks Cooper.18 Her answer is that it births the bioeconomy, a delirious mix of neoliberal economics, commercialised biotechnology and evangelical Protestantism that promises to overcome material limits to growth by opening life to new intensities of speculation and manipulation. The bioeconomy relocates ‘economic production at the genetic, microbial, and cellular level, so that life becomes, literally, annexed within capitalist processes of accumulation’.19 However, as Cooper recognises, the neoliberal bioeconomy doesn’t solely treat life as a biological resource; it also excites mad belief in a coming capitalism capable of overcoming ‘all limits to growth – from the waste products of industrialism to the very finitude of the earth’.20 The notion of animals’ saving grace constitutes a somewhat different answer than the one given by Cooper in response to the question of where capitalism moves when confronted by earthly limits. Rather than engaging with the salvational promises which attach to the biotechnological mastery of life’s molecular material or genetic code, I examine alternate forms of faith aroused by ‘the animal’ as a figure of social and affective life: cooperative, caring and reparative. Far from reducible to cellular building blocks, the image of immanent life at stake here is one that is incarnated in animals’ soulful powers of bonding or companionship, their immaterial or affective labour, and their optimistic ability to live ‘despite’ the ruins. Along with the neoliberal

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bioeconomy that Cooper traces, other scholars speak more broadly of the ‘neoliberalisation of nature’ as capitalism’s retort to the limits to growth movements.21 Neoliberal natures carry with them heterogeneous and potentially contradictory economic and salvational promises by virtue of encompassing investments in life at different scales, including at the cellular level and that of the social animal, not to mention of entire ecosystems. These contradictory investments are evocative of a near manic-depressive condition in which the technological power to overcome limits through micro-control of the germ or code of life plunges into the spiritual lassitude of a capitalist humanity that looks to be uplifted by the buoyancy of other species.

Human Capital, Animal Capital While my scattered speculations on animals’ saving grace are meant as provocations and preliminary remarks on issues that are formidably complex, I’m cognizant that even preliminary gestures can slip into the habit of making too-sweeping references to capitalism as a global totality rather than an unevenly achieved and friction-filled universal.22 I’m also wary of the ways that neoliberalism becomes, as Wendy Brown puts it, a notoriously ‘loose and shifting signifier’.23 Often neoliberalism loosely refers to an intensification of laissez-faire capitalism into unrestrained forms of global trade free of government regulation, resulting in a capitalism ‘on steroids’. But Brown herself argues that neoliberalism constitutes more than an aggressive set of economic doctrines, and calls to be understood as ‘a widely and deeply disseminated governing rationality’, a type of ‘reasoning and governing that reaches from the state to the soul’.24 According to Brown, with neoliberalism market sensibilities are extended to every domain of life; ‘we may (and neoliberalism interpellates us as subjects who do) think and act like contemporary market subjects even where monetary wealth generation is not the immediate issue, for example, in approaching one’s education, health, fitness, family life, or neighborhood’.25 She worries that neoliberalism stealthily advances a wholesale remaking of humans in the image of Homo oeconomicus, with troubling ramifications for democracy. In her words, ‘the demos disintegrates into bits of human capital’.26 Following Foucault, Brown thus understands ‘human capital’ in terms of ‘entrepreneurs of the self’, individuals who treat every activity as an investment in their own present or future value.27 For Brown, along with the idea of human capital comes a dangerously reduced conception of liberty as simply the individual freedom to grow one’s embodied value in order to gain a competitive advantage in market life. After all, the ethics which many neoliberals insist follows from the competition of free individuals rests on the claim that people who are incented to advance their own self-interest ultimately advance a healthy economy, and by extension the greater good of all. In a nutshell, neoliberalism economically and ethically valorises the striving of individuals. The striving, or as Foucault puts it, ‘enterprising’ individual doesn’t pre-exist neoliberal governance, but is produced when market principles of competition and entrepreneurship become ‘the formative power of society’.28 Possibly because of Brown’s own counter-allegiance to an Aristotelian view of Homo politicus, however, she too neglects to ask how neoliberal reason governs the lives of other species who are materially and socially entangled in the spheres of existence that she sees becoming saturated by human capital. Nor does she ask how other

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species might be fashioned as enterprising subjects. Brown assumes that both Homo oeconomicus and Homo politicus are identical with Homo sapiens. By contrast, I contend that in our current era this assumed species identity is no longer obvious, requiring us to ask how the neoliberal spirit of enterprise incarnated in the idea of ‘economic man’ may affect and infect other animals, producing new kinds of animal capital in tandem with human capital. It is hard if not impossible to prove any claim that the spirit of capitalism today – inextricable from the idea of human capital enshrined within neoliberal reason – infects species beyond Homo sapiens. But such a claim can at least be rhetorically tested through a reading of some scenes from neoliberal life, to see whether a convincing case can be made. Several of the scenes presented in the final sections of this chapter feature the new kinds of work, often affective, that non-human animals now socially engage across a diverse range of capitalist contexts. Yet the same neoliberal reason that has, as Wendy Brown notes, displaced recognition of human labour by recodifying it as self-investment in human capital (in an attempt to convert us to belief in the possibility of an exploitation-free capitalism) arguably also shifts recognition away from animal labour and onto animal life, elevating the value of animals allowed to exist or ‘be themselves’ over the value extorted through labour or sacrifice.29 Rather than ontologically outside of the power relations of contemporary capitalism, animal lives and life-potentials have become synonymous with their capital in enterprising times, giving rise to what Elizabeth Johnson describes (in her study of the burgeoning field of biomimicry) as ‘entrepreneurial biologies’.30 There’s no question that other animals continue to be ‘devoured’ by a capitalist humanity that exercises forms of terrible sovereignty over them, including extinguishment of entire species.31 But some creatures are also invited into trans-species collaborations that have the appearance, at least, of being mutually beneficial to all involved, such as the joint effort of oil giant BP and thalassolituus oleivorans (a type of microbe that itself ‘wants’ to devour the hydrocarbons in oil) to clean up the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Novel forms of animal capital emerge in tandem with the neoliberal production of human capital, particularly when animal striving or desire appears to align with the goal of saving damaged environments of life for a future of capitalism. While I’m indebted to various biopolitical critiques of capitalism which develop related claims, along with Brown they tend to leave other species out of the picture. For instance, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri posit that a Marxian labour theory of value needs revising to better reflect the extent to which ‘living and producing tend to be indistinguishable’ in our current era.32 Cesare Casarino couches the problem in terms of the ontological indistinguishability of ‘the common’ and capital, claiming that ‘the common has no outside and is virtually indistinguishable from capital to the extent to which “living and producing tend to be indistinguishable”’ (15).33 While the importance of such analyses of capitalism’s subsumption of the constituent power of a human multitude or common cannot be underestimated, they risk either overtly reinvigorating Marxism as a humanist project or presuming that because the ‘life’ and ‘common’ in question are characterised by forms of social, communicative and affective interaction, they can automatically be qualified as human. Listen to how Casarino refers to medieval thinkers whose once ‘heretical’ intimations of the common as a vibrant potentiality has depressingly become, in the present, indistinguishable from the capitalist mode of production:

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What those thinkers had begun to sense as the driving force and operative principle of the common, namely, a common intellectual, linguistic, and affective capacity along with its appertaining forms of realisation, circulation, and communication – or, in short, thought, language, and affect, in both their potential and actual aspects – has become the prime motor of the capitalist mode of production in its current, fully global, and tendentially universal phase. If those past eras and their heretics are at all intelligible as well as urgently relevant for us today, that is so because that which they had envisaged as the condition of possibility for a common humanity has become the increasingly dominant and determining form of labour in the era of the real subsumption of all forms of life and of bios itself under capital . . .34 The idea of animals’ saving grace is, among other things, one way of beginning to historicise the indistinguishability of life and production marking today’s capitalism without absenting other species from the problem or the common; that is, without assuming that they exist outside of the potential and actual capacity for ‘thought, language, and affect’ that in Casarino’s view represents the social creativity of a ‘surplus common’ exceeding subsumption. Common life is a multispecies composition just as is, arguably, any possibility of a creative surplus from which alternatives to capitalism might be generated. The power to ensnare animals in the deadly or deadening production and reproduction of capital begins to be at odds, then, with a burgeoning appreciation of the spiritual, affective, and ‘encounter value’35 promised by unfettered creatures, or creatures that at least appear to be voluntary participants in capitalist life. A related historical shift can be traced in the rise of ‘ecosystems services’, a market which complicates older extractive regimes of capital by revalorising the natural resource of a forest, say, as an ecological service; the forest is newly framed as a living, respiratory ecosystem that, in simply being let alone, performs the service of capturing carbon (a service whose value is now calculated and traded within a global carbon economy). Similarly, in contradiction with modes of extractive capitalism which force or coerce nonhumans into obedient, exploitative or disposable service as labouring body, scientific specimen or dead meat, a new spirit of capitalism is afoot which appreciates other species as vital subjects who deserve a chance to flourish within social-economic relationships, and who are in fact more value-adding when they are flourishing. It is for this reason that Rosemary Collard and Jessica Dempsey (along with other scholars who see the rise of ecosystem services as symptomatic of the neoliberalisation of nature) define both exotic pets and ecosystem carbon as ‘life commodities whose capitalist value is derived from their status as living beings’.36 While it may sound fantastic, certain animals themselves appear to be getting into the spirit of a neoliberal order of things which grants them opportunities to flourish, in exchange for . . . their souls. I evoke a species of Faustian bargain to suggest the way that, in exchange for an opportunity to realise their own life-potentials or flourishing within the social bonds of capitalism, other animals’ vitality is stolen from the surplus common described by Casarino and added to the capitalist common. Is it possible to speak of a life lease that doesn’t so much hurt animals as represent a victory for a system that is able to ontologically convince even non-human subjects that capitalism serves their life-interests, in this way subsuming more and more of a multispecies

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common into its machinations? Some of the vignettes relayed in the second half of this chapter help to illustrate this sort of victory. Haraway gives us a glimpse of the animals that appear to benefit the most within the social compact of twenty-first-century capitalism, namely, those pets of the upper middle classes whose well-being is served by massive companion-animal industries. ‘In the United States alone in 2006’, writes Haraway, ‘pet owners spent about $38.4 billion overall on companion animals, compared with $21 billion in 1996 (constant dollars)’.37 Unlike those animals consigned to feedlots and slaughter in numbers that also rose dramatically over a similar period – Cary Wolfe notes that in 2007 ‘about 9 billion animals were killed in the United States for food’, double the number than in 198038 – many pets have among other things ‘acquired the “right to health”’.39 In some instances this includes rights to a full suite of mental and physical treatments, from drugs for depression to chiropractic care to cancer chemotherapy. Some pets are living the proverbial good life, replete with ‘vacation packages, adventure trips, camp experiences, cruises, holiday clothing, toys of all kinds, day care services, designer beds and other animal-adapted furniture’.40 Yet if the animal-friendly ethos of neoliberalism is currently only actualised for a small class of privileged animals while a majority remains consigned to risk or misery, it is key that in principle or in spirit neoliberalism views other animals as companions of the good life when their comforting, healing or charismatic company serves the reproduction or accumulation of capital. Inclusion in the good life in exchange for enclosure of the vital common represented by the lives of other animals: this trade-off begins to capture something of a new spirit of capitalism which looks to animals as spiritual and physical therapy for late capitalist loneliness, depression, stress, illness, etc. If white American manhood was recreated in the early twentieth century through rituals of big game hunting and bloodsport, a period which Haraway terms ‘Teddy Bear Patriarchy’ in reference to Theodore Roosevelt, the reproduction of human capital in the early twenty-first century hinges on different forms of faith in the saving grace of animals.41 I have been suggesting that in certain instances, at least, animals appear to act as willing or consenting participants whose own vital desires align with the spirit of capitalism, and more particularly with a neoliberal ethic of individual self-interest and striving. Yet the question of how, exactly, non-human animals might get interpellated, enticed or subjectivised into neoliberal cultures of capitalism remains a supremely difficult one. Exploring this question would require carefully accounting not only for species difference across the categorical divide of ‘human’ and ‘animal’, but also for the heterogeneity of countless non-human species that have been lumped into the generic category of ‘the animal’.42 Moreover, while one could start with Foucault’s claim that neoliberalism individualises subjects into units of self-interest in order to trace how other animals might be likewise individualised, to do so would risk extending Foucault’s human-centred model of governmentality to other species. A rethinking of governmentality in relation to other species would require breaking with Foucault’s habit of separating humans from animals, and beginning instead with the ontological and social entanglement of humans and other animals in a multispecies common (in which companion species relationships are constitutive, as Haraway argues). How might neoliberal reason species-travel through a multispecies common that represents animal capital in potentia, how might it worm its way into all of the life-forms with which humans are in constitutive relationship?

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By invoking non-human involvement in and consent to neoliberal capitalism, I myself open up a can of worms. After all, haven’t feminist, psychoanalytical and poststructuralist theorists taught us that it is problematic, even amongst humans, to claim to be able to transparently read states of desire, or consent, across differences of gender, race, class, age, religion and so on? A subject’s own desires may not be fully transparent or legible even to themselves, may not be identifiable as their ‘own’ desires in the first instance (contra liberal humanist assumptions about the autonomous individual who wills, decides, consents). How much more fraught, then, is the idea that one could possibly read or decipher the desire of an individual of another species, claim to know if they are consenting or not in any given social or economic transaction? Isn’t it a troubling anthropomorphism to extend an idea of consenting subjectivity to other species, or to involve them in metaphysical talk of souls? Yet it is precisely in order to gain critical purchase on neoliberalism as a ‘governing rationality’43 in which other species are socially insinuated as well as biologically entangled that I risk this terminology. I will return to these thorny questions in order to propose that a Spinozan ethics and philosophy of immanence, once heretical, today offers possibly the best description of the animal spirit of capitalism. To repeat Casarino’s words, ‘[i]f those past eras and their heretics are at all intelligible as well as urgently relevant for us today, that is so because that which they had envisaged as the condition of possibility for a common humanity has become the increasingly dominant and determining form of labour in the era of the real subsumption of all forms of life and of bios itself under capital’.44 Spinoza’s elaboration of Nature as one substance animated by the life-striving or conatus (in the Latin) of innumerable singular beings has come to bear an uncanny resemblance to the neoliberal vision of all forms of life as potential, and endlessly renewable, sources of capital. As with the life-striving that neoliberalism spins into a market philosophy, conatus in the thought of Spinoza is not exclusive to humans but moves every earthly body; in his Ethics, he describes striving or conatus as the desire of each thing to ‘persevere in its being’.45 Spinoza’s non-anthropocentric and immanentist thought has become ironically compatible, as others have noticed (Braun, Read, Casarino), with neoliberal interests in self-sustaining and enterprising life-forms.46 More specifically, it is in the revival of Spinoza’s thought in works of new materialist theory that the concept of conatus risks losing its heretical force and, within a twenty-first-century context, ideologically abetting neoliberal capitalism. The Spinozan understanding of life as vital substance which new materialists invoke against Enlightenment bifurcations of spirit and matter arguably describes the striving life which emerges as the holy grail of neoliberalism.47 Bruce Braun is attuned to the fact that new materialist philosophies and their ideas of ‘non-deterministic nature’ historically coincide with the neoliberalisation of nature, such that they ‘appear to fit hand-in-glove with neoliberal capitalism’.48 Yet although it may appear that the former functions as an ideological enabler of the latter, Braun himself contends the opposite, that ‘the neoliberalisation of nature must be understood, in part, as the strategic containment of the critical energies of new materialist thought’.49 While I similarly want to keep open the possibility that new materialist thought may contain ‘conceptual resources for other non-capitalist projects and politics’,50 the Spinozan notion of conatus that it revives supplies us with a concept for the type of animal capital that non-humans begin to represent when life comes to signify an immanent, multispecies wellspring of enterprising activity that can be harnessed to the reproduction of capitalism.

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It is comparatively easy to make a case that interspecies relationships can and have been made instrumental to the preservation or accumulation of human capital. Much trickier to propose is the possibility that, along with humans, other animals are themselves produced as neoliberal subjects of interest, as souls who in similar and different ways are both susceptible to a neoliberal gospel and capable of exercising agency. In fact, it is only if we first grant that non-humans have agency within the history of capitalism, as many have argued (Fudge, McHugh, Hribal),51 that it is possible to speak of their susceptibility to neoliberal cultures of capitalism, particularly if we follow Foucault and Brown’s claims that neoliberalism represents ‘a particular kind of governance through freedom’.52 Susan McHugh proposes ‘distinguishing agency from subjectivity’ to make visible other forms of agency besides the ‘subject form’ that has been so reified in capitalist modernity.53 Conatus, agency, freedom: while accounting for their rich species-specific expressions and possible non-subject forms, these are words for a potentiality and striving shared by all life in the multispecies common. Here, finally, is the crux of the matter: unlike the biocapital rendered from the flesh or tissue of animal bodies, the vitality of other species is far more elusive inasmuch as it cannot be seized by force. Violence, discipline and capture risk diminishing or destroying the life-desire and social vitality that is at stake. This ‘live’ type of animal capital must therefore be cultivated and enclosed by means of other, neoliberal techniques which employ freedom rather than force. The conatus of singular beings in Spinoza’s ethics is again illuminating by virtue of describing the prospects that open up within capitalism should neoliberal reason succeed in economising not only the striving of Homo sapiens but of other species as well: capitalism would potentially become the one substance of nature. So what would an (un)holy alliance between more-than-human conatus and capitalism portend for critical work which has, understandably, been primarily focused on the lethality of capitalism for other animals, on the practices of subordination and exploitation to which non-human animals have been often cruelly subjected over the course of capitalism’s rise to global dominance? It is no longer sufficient (even though it remains absolutely necessary) for scholars and activists to challenge the deadly and objectifying powers of capitalism; we also need greater critical purchase on capitalist ventures which seek to harmonise the social production and reproduction of capitalism with the flourishing of non-humans.54 Even the ethic of ‘multispecies coflourishing’, which Haraway advances through her study of companion species, is vulnerable to appropriation.55 At stake for critical thought, then, are neoliberal forms of animal capital which are produced through liberating and loving relationships with certain elect creatures, fostering chances for (some) humans and (some) animals to realise their specific potentials and in this way redeeming value for the system of capitalism. That said, as I note in the conclusion to this chapter, the drive to harmonise capital and nature – to make production and common life indistinguishable – becomes most risible when it bumps up against the limit posed by an animal or species whose thriving ‘monstrously’ exceeds neoliberal productions of human and animal capital, and affronts the faith increasingly placed in animals to save life/capital from ecological disaster. Rather than punished, diverted or constrained, the agency of animals is in principle encouraged, cultivated, economised. In other words, as well as being a condition of possible resistance, animal agency emerges as a condition of possibility for new types of animal capital, a feature of neoliberalism that should caution us against a tendency

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to read agency as an index of resistance. As will hopefully become clearer through the scenes presented below, I suspect that the saving grace of animals must be given (or appear to be given) freely or through the kindness of animals themselves in order to have redemptive value. This (un)holy alliance between capitalism and animal vitality cries out for rigorous scrutiny. In the early twenty-first century, we need to ask what the neoliberal assimilation of animal agency or of an ethic of flourishing – the interest in valuing other species’ life-desire or conatus as wealth in potentia – means for anti-capitalist thought and practice, given that the common thriving of all creatures is something we cannot not want.

The Capital/Conatus of the White-Crowned Sparrow Jonathan Crary’s book 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep supplies a first vignette for these critical speculations. His book opens with a reflection on the U.S. Defense Department’s keen interest in the migration habits of the white-crowned sparrow. ‘Unlike most other birds,’ writes Crary, ‘this type of sparrow has a highly unusual capacity for staying awake, for as long as seven days during migrations. This seasonal behavior enables them to fly and navigate by night and forage for nourishment by day without rest.’56 Research into the brain activity of the birds during their remarkable migration aims ‘to discover ways to enable people to go without sleep and to function productively and efficiently’.57 The immediate objective of this research, Crary notes, is ‘the creation of the sleepless soldier’.58 But military interest in the sparrow’s indefatigable migration, frightening as it may be, is in Crary’s view part of a larger, even more harrowing creep of capitalism into the time or state of human sleep, one in which beings are closed off to productive or value-producing activity. Crary’s analysis of 24/7 is a critique of the progressive erosion, as he puts it, of nighttime as ‘the last of what Marx called “natural barriers”’ to capitalism.59 Yet Crary’s example of the research on white-crowned sparrows can also yield insights into the spirit of capitalism that I’m proposing is afoot in the present era. Crary’s concern is with the ends or object of the sparrow research, or as he puts it, with the kind of ‘human subject [that] is in the making’ as capitalism eats more and more aggressively into sleep.60 Yet a new relationship to an avian subject can also be glimpsed, one whose singular striving (conatus) propels an extraordinary migration, and whose ability to act on or realise its desire is integral to the potential value it holds for the military and commercial wings of neoliberal capitalism. An allowance for animal freedom can be faintly discerned here, not displacing but complicating research techniques that extract knowledge or value from animals against their will, or in ways which damage or ruin their ability to fulfil their life desires or potentials. In being free to live and follow its life-preserving migration – and in the seeming gift or grace of its vital arc – the sparrow holds a key that could be capitalised on to ‘save’ time from the unproductive hours of sleep. This is perhaps one sense in which we might speak of the saving grace that non-humans begin to represent in neoliberal times, with their very ontology becoming a cache of potential wealth if it can advance the capitalist conversion of time into money. This is not to say that the white-crowned sparrow isn’t still subjected to intrusive forms of scientific tracking, capture and experimentation. But prospecting the kind of animal capital promised by the time-saving sparrow involves tapping into its conatus.

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An analogy might be drawn between the creep of capitalism into a time or state of sleep that once posed a barrier to value production, and its probing reach into the domain of animal desire.

Species Just Being Themselves This next scene is one that I’ve examined elsewhere, but it merits revisiting for what it reveals about a new spirit or ethic of capitalism. The scene appears within a longrunning advertising campaign of Telus, a Canadian telecommunications corporation that has built a charming brand identity around the seemingly infinite string of live animals deployed in its ads. Telus refers to the live animals who feature in its campaign as ‘spokescritters’. Every Telus product or service is represented by an individual of a particular species that also functions as a picture-perfect pun for telecommunication. For instance, monkeys are depicted ‘monkeying around’ with bananas as biological metaphors for cell phones; sleek cheetahs are the physical image of high-speed internet; and dolphins notorious for their intelligence and sophisticated system of communication represent the original, or natural, smartphones. As I’ve previously noted, the discourse of species at work in Telus’s campaign simultaneously serves to bind mimesis to market logics and to deflect attention away from the material conditions of telecommunication, which are devastating for many human and non-humans.61 I want to return to a telling moment in the Telus campaign in which the company defends the naturalness of its spokescritters by insisting that they are not induced or lured into performing any out-of-the-ordinary behaviour for its print or visual media. The company claims that its brand animals are ‘never forced to perform in any way they do not want to’. More, its ‘most successful footage is often of the animals simply being themselves. . . . Digital imaging is sometimes used. . . . But it is rarely needed to enhance the natural actions of the animals.’62 In other words, Telus claims to be simply rendering animal ontology in a way that is aligned with the realisation of their conatus, that is, their desire to ‘persevere in their being’. Arguably, the company’s words aren’t merely a tactic for preempting possible accusations that its spokescritters may suffer strain or distress during difficult shoots, or that they may be baited and cued by techniques designed to elicit artificial behaviours that prove more aesthetically pleasing or in tune with Telus’s messaging. The company’s claim that the behaviour of its animal actors is free and ‘natural’ can be read as one expression of a much broader neoliberal recoding of labour as life, a recoding which among other things makes it more difficult to recognise that living itself is the labour that produces value for capitalism. Rather than produced, value appears to be immanently given in the vitality of animals, a gift of animal being rather than something that is extracted against a creature’s will. With this scenario, we can continue to thicken our understanding of the saving grace of animals.

The Enterprising Spirit of Military Working Dogs As with the above scene, I’ve also previously touched on this one in a different context. In 2011, a Belgian Malinois and Military Working Dog (MWD) by the name of Cairo won accolades for the leading role he played in a secret U.S. paramilitary

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operation named ‘Operation Neptune Spear’. Neptune Spear targeted one of the then most wanted men in the world: Osama bin Laden. Cairo’s abilities as a rigorously trained MWD were credited with the mission’s success in tracking down and killing the founder of al-Qaeda. Arguably, Cairo’s role in the bin Laden raid went beyond the kind of service expected of an obedient, weaponised animal expertly trained to follow orders. Cairo’s participation appeared to be that of a ‘keen, self-motivated animal subjectively identified with the spirit of the mission’.63 In other words, Cairo raises Foucaultian questions around the possibility that non-human animals can, along with their human counterparts, be governmentalised, which is to say reached by a mode of power that no longer needs to discipline or externally police the conduct of subjects once their obedience becomes an expression of their own desire and is freely rendered. Speculating further on what the zeal of MWDs like Cairo can tell us about the spirit of capitalism entails broaching the thorny complex of conatus and consent. For starters, this vignette compels us to inquire into how the military goals of the mission can be harmonised with Cairo’s own vital desires: is it a dangerous anthropomorphism to suggest that the dog is capable of buying into or agreeing to the spirit of the enterprise, that the military mission is something Cairo may even zealously throw himself into because it functions as an opportunity for him to realise his ‘canine potential’?64 Again when the production of value is rendered identical with the life-striving of animals like Cairo (working with rather than against animals’ willto-life), the potential returns for a system seeking to reproduce itself in every sphere of existence are staggering. These returns go beyond the production of economic capital, and in this particular post-9/11 context can be seen working among other things to restore faith in an American mission. But how can we speak of Cairo’s consent? To formulate how Cairo could be passionately identified or affectively invested in the spirit of the mission rather than simply incentivised to obediently execute human commands, we might borrow from what Jason Read says about neoliberalism’s power to affectively structure conative beings. ‘Neoliberalism is not simply an ideology in the pejorative sense of the term, or a belief that one could elect to have or not have,’ writes Read, ‘but is itself produced by strategies, tactics, and policies that create subjects of interest, locked in competition.’65 While Read has only humans in mind, those animals who intimately interact with humans in the social, economic and military spheres of neoliberal life arguably also get produced as subjects of interest to some degree. But more crucially, it is Read’s turn to Spinoza to understand how neoliberalism structures desire that is relevant to the question of Cairo’s consent. According to Read, Spinoza answered a question that Marx couldn’t answer: ‘That question is the fundamental question of reproduction, of why it is that worker’s [sic] continue to come to work every day, subjecting themselves to exploitation. Or, to pose the question in Spinoza’s terms, why do workers struggle for exploitation as if it were liberation?’66 Read draws upon the work of Frédéric Lordon (author of Willing Slaves of Capital: Spinoza and Marx on Desire) to explain why workers passionately throw themselves into work as if into the promise of freedom: ‘Lordon argues that Spinoza is more suited to answer this question than Marx; at the center of Spinoza’s anthropology is an account of how the very striving in preserving one’s being can be structured and restructured by social relations, most notably the affects.’67

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Beyond an ‘anthropology of desire’ exclusive to humans, Spinoza’s work gives us a language for talking about how the life-striving of other species can also be ‘structured and restructured by social relations’, specifically capitalist social relations.68 When opportunities for other animals to flourish or realise their desires are opened up rather than shut down within neoliberal cultures of capitalism, like human workers they may voluntarily lend their energies to the reproduction of a ruling order which feels like freedom (remember the Gramscian understanding of hegemony as rule through consent). The fulfilment of Cairo’s canine potential in this sense gets redeemed as a sign that American military missions abroad are backed by natural right as well as might. Speculating (in hopefully not too far-fetched a manner) on how animals’ saving grace might be at work in this scenario, is it possible to say that when a hegemonic social order like American capitalist democracy wins the vital backing of non-human animals in the form of their spirited participation, the effect is similar to having one’s ‘sins’ forgiven through an act of grace? No longer emanating from a transcendent God but instead from an immanent Dog, the grace of animal conatus grants the hegemon natural legitimacy and a new lease on life.

The Company of Cats Canines often appear to be the chosen ones when it comes to the species that are most intimately and frequently imbricated in forms of loving rather than lethal capitalism. But domesticated felines are also vital subjects of the new spirit of capitalism that I’ve been exploring. One final scene, parlayed by Lorraine Plourde in her article ‘Cat Cafés, Affective Labour, and the Healing Boom in Japan’, offers glimpses into the shift in capitalist relationships with non-human animals that I’ve been exploring.69 In this scene, moreover, the promise of animals’ saving grace is briefly, almost inconspicuously, betrayed by uncooperative cats, a betrayal that also shows us something about how animals might obstruct or pose resistance to a neoliberal spirit or ethic of animal freedom. Plourde bases her analysis of the cat café (neko kafe) on ethnographic fieldwork, studying ‘the desire for healing through human-animal interaction, specifically with cats, in post-economic bubble Japan’.70 Around 2009, she notes, the business of cat cafés peaked in Japan, with humans paying for time spent in the company of cats, a transaction ‘typically costing 1,000 – 1,200 yen per hour’.71 According to Plourde, the cafés promise the ‘putative healing qualities of cats’ as a remedy for the ‘social precarity’ of a post-3/11 and ‘still recessionary’ Japan.72 Doing double duty, cats in the cafés function as both ‘calming objects and affective labourers’.73 Plourde builds on Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s understanding of affective labour as ultimately a social labour of producing relationships, which in this case happen to be interspecies encounters of a therapeutic nature. However, it isn’t just Plourde who recognises the cats as affective labourers; she notes that some human support staff in the cafés also recognise that interacting with human customers is work: as one woman states, ‘everything they do is work’. ‘When they play, it’s work. When they eat, it’s work.’74 There is also a recognition of the toll that customers’ desire for interaction and direct contact (touch) can have on the cats. And interestingly, the human staff often perceive

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themselves as a lower class of material labourers who support the higher-valued labour performed by cats. While the perception of cats’ affective labour by human support staff seems to run counter to the contention that the new spirit of capitalism involves a displacement of the recognition of animal labour (valorising forms of ‘animal capital’ that require of animals nothing more than their charismatic presence), it gets more complicated when Plourde turns to the expectations and desires of paying customers. First of all, Plourde observes that many of the regulars or return customers are young ‘salarymen’ who visit cafés after work as a ‘way to cope with their grueling jobs’. One customer tells Plourde that after salarymen spend time at a café, ‘they are able to persevere (ganbarimasu) and work hard the next day’.75 More telling, however, is the difference between regulars and new customers. ‘Regulars, many of whom are young salarymen in their late twenties and thirties, typically spend their time quietly reading manga while a cat sits or sleeps nearby, without directly approaching the cats; rather, the cats come to them.’ As Plourde notes, ‘[t]his is in direct contrast to new customers who vigorously seek out contact with the cats’.76 Several things deserve underscoring here. Firstly, the affective labour of cats comes into view as a form of reproductive labour. By spiritually restoring spent salarymen in the evening so that they can ‘persevere’ in work the next day, cats can be seen as assuming a share of the feminised burden of unpaid reproductive labour that feminist Marxists have successfully politicised. (Although human support staff recognise the affective labour of the cats, it nonetheless remains unwaged or ‘free’). Today, however, there’s also something novel about the reproductive labour of cats inasmuch as it spiritually renews the subject of human capital, helping to sustain the psychic well-being of the enterprising salaryman. It is the conduct of the regulars versus new customers that is most revealing, however. In declaring that ‘the cats come to them’, the regulars express respect for the cats as autonomous creatures; their belief that the cats should be free to exercise choice and the power to consent (or not) to interactions with humans in fact heightens the encounter value. Among other things, this belief serves to mystify the new species of reproductive labour that is at stake. Plourde finds that for many customers it was the cats’ ‘perceived unruliness and carefree nature that was brought up as part of their charm . . . a sense of charm that is distinct from the more “obedient” (and implicitly, submissive) personalities of dogs’.77 Any sign that cats are under compulsion to interact diminishes the experience of what I again suggest can be called the saving grace of animals, the value of a healing presence which is realised only when it is freely given in both the economic (unpaid labour) and volitional senses of the word. The sentiment of the regulars offers a concrete example of my suggestion that agency and allowance for animal freedom is a condition of new types of animal capital such as the encounter value identified by Haraway. Likewise, efforts on the part of cat café staff to deliver to customers the experience they’ve paid for – tricks used to deliver direct contact, such as seducing cats into interaction through orchestrated feeding times – is seen as an extraction from animals of what is worth much more when it is freely given. Of course, the fact that regulars pay for every minute they spend in the café ultimately belies the fantasy of unstructured relationships with autonomous animals in which they’re invested.

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As practices of subordination, exploitation, coercion and cruelty towards other animals come into increasing contradiction with the affective, healing and ultimately salvational value that they represent in many areas of current-day capitalism, how might animals themselves be devising new responses or resistances to a form of capitalism invested in their vitality? Plourde’s account of cat cafés offers one brief image of such a response to the new spirit of capitalism: she recounts some awkward moments in cat cafés caused by cats who ‘rebuff’ or ‘snub’ human patrons seeking interaction. Some cats refuse to give themselves as healing presences. Slipping away from petting hands or even escaping into sleep,78 they evade new expectations that they will be the saving grace of humans.

Conclusion: The Cunning of Capitalism It would be a mistake to think that with the shift I’ve been tracing in the history of capitalism from cruelty to kindness, the problem of animal suffering becomes less pressing. A majority of non-human animals continues to be consigned to ‘infernal’ conditions of life and death, including what Jacques Derrida describes as those states of ‘interminable survival’ borne by animals who are intensively bred and fed for industrial slaughter.79 Hardt and Negri’s theorisation of a shift from material to immaterial labour in the current order of global capitalism (or ‘empire’) is instructive in this regard, since they emphasise that to say immaterial labour is now hegemonic is not to underestimate the ongoing struggles over conditions of material labour. Immaterial labour is hegemonic in qualitative rather than quantitative terms, which is to say that it ‘has imposed a tendency on other forms of labour and society itself’.80 Similarly, positing that there has been a hegemonic shift in the spirit of capitalism doesn’t mean that the capitalist extraction of value from animals by force or against their life-will (conatus) is not still ongoing; rather, it means that the cruel treatment, sacrifice or exploitation of other animals now must be rationalised as humane or otherwise justified in relation to new sensibilities shaped around an ethic of mutual flourishing. So while it is certainly a minority of animals that participate in neoliberal life in ways that at least partially allow them to pursue or fulfil their singular life-striving, the spirit governing that minority arguably sets the tone for other capitalist enterprises and relationships. I’ve suggested that in our current conjuncture we need to be attentive to the cunning of capitalism, which works with and through rather than against a spirit of animal liberation. In ‘Feminism, Capitalism, and the Cunning of History’, Nancy Fraser asks ‘whether second-wave feminism has unwittingly supplied a key ingredient of what Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello also call “the new spirit of capitalism”’.81 In their book The New Spirit of Capitalism, Boltanski and Chiapello contend that each new era co-opts the spirit of resistance which antagonised the previous era.82 In a similar vein, Fraser contends that critiques of Fordist state capitalism by second-wave feminists have been appropriated by a reorganised system of flexible, post-industrial capitalism that wholeheartedly ‘agrees’, if you will, with the ethic of women’s inclusion in the workplace. Yet this agreement ironically leads to a proliferation of temporary, precarious, low-paid positions for woman. Writes Fraser: ‘The cultural changes jump-started by the second wave, salutary in themselves, have served to legitimate a structural

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transformation of capitalist society that runs directly counter to feminist visions of a just society.’83 Although Fraser’s stance has been criticised on several fronts, her claim nonetheless resonates with the similar argument I’m making here: that the emancipatory struggles which formerly contested the subordination of animals to the machinery of capitalism are usurped by a neoliberal ethic of freedom that absorbs the challenge posed by species equality into the more totalising production of human capital and animal capital. Let me conclude by illustrating the cunning of capitalism – but also the limits to its cunning – via two final scenes featuring gecko feet and radioactive boars. Few neoliberal enterprises better demonstrate how capitalism advances through the animal ethic against which it was earlier opposed than the burgeoning field of biomimicry, where the ‘adhesive’ skin on gecko feet, the tensile strength of spider-silk, and countless other species marvels promise to save capitalism from itself. As Elizabeth Johnson remarks, this field of ‘nature-inspired innovations’ looks to the genius of gecko feet (one of ‘the most championed examples of the biomimetic paradigm’) and to other life-forms for a ‘way out’ of the perils of the Anthropocene.84 ‘In a moment of ecological instability that increasingly calls “life” and its productions into question,’ writes Johnson, ‘this method of mimesis offers a “way out” of our ecological constraints by offering a “way in” to non-human life more fully’.85 The unparalleled stickiness of gecko feet has inspired a wide array of ‘adhesive technologies’ and alternatives to the chemical adhesives that are of such a piece with toxic capitalism.86 ‘These efforts to transform adhesive technologies are creating new ways to join not only things but also human and non-human relations in the process,’ remarks Johnson. ‘It is no longer the geopower needed to produce chemical adhesives that we want to harness. Instead, we want to walk like the gecko, to join walls by reorganising geometric structures. By learning from the gecko we create new joints between humans and non-humans, as well as techniques for seeing and reproducing forms of life.’87 However, Johnson argues that although biomimicry promises to humble a capitalist humanity and to overturn species hierarchies by deferentially placing both anthropos and capital at the feet of other species, the ideal of environmentally benign, capitalist joint ventures between humans and non-humans risks advancing an even more intensive capitalisation of life. After all, through biomimesis ‘the earth’s processes are fully and intentionally integrated into processes of production’.88 Recalling the refrain of Marxists in the autonomist tradition, Johnson worries that with biomimetic relationships or ‘joints’ between human and non-human, ‘the reproduction of capitalism and the reproduction of organisms become indistinguishable’.89 Again, the cunning afoot in biomimicry consists in the field’s ability to advance capitalism under the guise of an effacing relationship to other species, subsuming more and more of what I’ve been calling a multispecies common into its service. Yet against the risk of suggesting that other species are passively subsumed or helplessly swept up in the endless cunning of capitalism, it is perhaps crucial to close this chapter with a species whose agency is not saving or redemptive, and whose flourishing antagonises rather than serves the equivalence neoliberalism seeks between life and capital. In a recent article in The Atlantic entitled ‘The Creatures That Remember Chernobyl’, Ron Broglio notes that thirty years after the nuclear disaster in the Ukraine fall-out continues in the form of roving bands of radioactive wild boars.90 Rebounding

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in the areas evacuated by humans, foraging on still-radioactive plants downwind from Chernobyl, and no longer hunted by humans for food, radioactive boars are thriving. But as Broglio relays, their thriving poses a threat to towns in southern Germany where they travel in packs scavenging for food, wreaking damage along the way. Nor is southern Germany the only region affected; in the wake of the more recent nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima in 2011, reports of rapidly reproducing radioactive boars have also emerged. While they are easily monstracised as marauding animals made more terrible by the fact that they behave as if invulnerable to radiation, Broglio reads the boars otherwise, as creatures carrying a radical message. The message is dramatically counter to the lessons in ingenious product design and animal-friendly innovation which biomimetics learns from other species. It consists of a reminder – an ‘ecological remembrance’, in Broglio’s words – that in the atomic age as in the Anthropocene, life has become irreversibly historical. Whereas biomimicry revives the idea that animals exist outside of history and that life is ahistorical (hoping that capitalism will itself arrive at the end of history when it finally becomes one with nature), radioactive boars are embodied reminders that all life is inside the history of the human and of capital, irremediably shot through with material traces of those joint histories of power. This doesn’t mean that life is simply captive to intensifying practices of capitalist enclosure, however. In reading radioactive boars as ‘the return of a disaster many seek to repress’, Broglio summons an image of animal agency that dramatically differs from the vital striving co-opted by neoliberalism.91 When animals rudely interject themselves within the present as unwelcome reminders of a past disaster whose effects are unsurpassable and insoluble, they arguably function as agents of a historical consciousness to undermine nothing less than the cunning of capitalism itself. That is, as living reminders of irredeemable events in the history of capitalism, they get in the way of capitalism’s historical trick of co-opting each new spirit of resistance into a reinvented capitalism that ‘resolves’ previous crises or limits. Animal life may be elevated into the saving grace of capitalism in our neoliberal era, yet in the same neoliberal moment radioactive boars also present life as a non-productive surplus, an uncooperative remainder that is accidentally left over in the shift-change. They remind us that although neoliberalism looks to the vitality of a multispecies common for absolution, there’s no guarantee that animals are going to forgive and forget.

Notes 1. See Melinda Cooper, Life as Surplus: Biotechnology and Capitalism in the Postgenomic Era (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008); Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Biocapital: The Constitution of Postgenomic Life (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006) and Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008) in which Haraway refers to ‘the regime of Lively Capital’ (p. 46). 2. Cooper, Life as Surplus, p. 159. 3. George Simmel, The Philosophy of Money, trans. Tom Bottomore and David Frisby. Foreword by Charles Lemert (London and New York: Routledge, 1978 [1900]), p. 192. 4. Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1, trans. Ben Fowkes (London: Penguin Books in association with New Left Review, 1990 [1867]), p. 163. 5. Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010).

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6. See Nikolas Rose, ‘The Value of Life: Somatic Ethics & the Spirit of Biocapital’, Daedalus 137:1 (2008), pp. 36–48. 7. Rajan, Biocapital, p. 199. 8. Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 45. 9. For some readers the phrase ‘saving grace’ might conjure up Heidegger’s formulation of a ‘saving power’ in The Question Concerning Technology (1977), an allusion that I unfortunately am unable to pursue here. The work of Anat Pick, which takes recourse to Simone Weil’s work on gravity and grace to elaborate an animal ethics between ‘law and love’, would also be worth exploring in relation to animals’ saving grace. See her ‘Turning to Animals Between Love and Law’, New Formations 76 (2012), pp. 68–85. 10. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015). 11. Ibid. p. viii. 12. In her commentary ‘Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantionocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin’ (Creative Commons Licence, 2015), Donna Haraway notes that the term ‘Capitalocene’ was first suggested by Andreas Malm and Jason Moore as an important alternative to ‘Anthropocene’. 13. James O’Connor, Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism (New York and London: The Guilford Press, 1998), p. 158. 14. Akira Mizuta Lippit, Electric Animal: Toward A Rhetoric of Wildlife (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000). Lippit traces the figure of the hypnotic or electric animal (whose mode of communication is charismatically affective) through various philosophical, psychoanalytical, literary and cinematic texts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 15. The term ‘animal spirits’ refers to a spontaneous, instinctive (‘animal’) and irrational optimism, which inspires human trust in the market and conditions investment behaviours. The animal spirit of investment continues to be encoded in the language of ‘bull’ versus ‘bear’ markets. See John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1936). 16. For a genealogy of resilience and an argument around the ‘intuitive ideological fit’ between ecological concepts of resilience and neoliberal reason, see Jeremy Walker and Melinda Cooper, ‘Genealogies of Resilience: From Systems Ecology to the Political Economy of Crisis Adaptation’, Security Dialogues 42:2 (2011), pp. 143–61. 17. My approach alludes to Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s ‘Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value’, Diacritics 15:4 (1985), pp. 73–93. Spivak’s work remains a key analysis of value by virtue of bringing Marxian and Derridean approaches together to discern value’s ‘textualist’ as well as materialist predications. 18. Cooper, Life as Surplus, p. 19. 19. Ibid. 20. Ibid. p. 18. 21. For more on the ‘neoliberalisation of nature’ see Bruce Braun, ‘New Materialisms and Neoliberal Natures’, Antipode 47:1 (2015), pp. 1–14. 22. For a formulation of global capitalism as a series of friction-filled encounters between ‘universalising’ forces of capital and the local particularities of different sites, see Anna Tsing, Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004). 23. Wendy Brown, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution (New York: Zone Books, 2015), p. 20. 24. Ibid. p. 9. 25. Ibid. p. 31.

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26. Ibid. p. 7. 27. Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–79, trans. Graham Burchell (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 7. 28. Foucault, quoted in Brown, Undoing, p. 66. 29. Asks Brown, ‘What political deficits, potentials, and foreclosures emerge as labour rendered as a commodity transmogrifies into labour rendered as self-investing human capital?’ (Undoing, p. 48). 30. Elizabeth Johnson, ‘Reconsidering Mimesis: Freedom and Acquiescence in the Anthropocene’, South Atlantic Quarterly 115:2 (2016), pp. 267–89 (p. 284). 31. Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign, vol. 1, trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), p. 23. 32. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (New York: Penguin Books, 2004), p. 148. 33. Cesare Casarino, ‘Surplus Common: A Preface’, in Cesare Casarino and Antonio Negri (eds), Praise of the Common: A Conversation on Philosophy and Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), pp. 1–39. 34. Ibid. p.13. 35. Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 46. 36. Rosemary Collard and Jessica Dempsey, ‘Life for Sale? The Politics of Lively Commodities’, Environment and Planning 45 (2013), pp. 2682–2699 (p. 2684). Collard and Dempsey’s intervention is particularly noteworthy by virtue of their comparative examination of two very different but interrelated ‘lively commodities’, namely exotic pets and ecosystem carbon. 37. Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 48. 38. Cary Wolfe, Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), p. 11. 39. Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 51. 40. Ibid. p. 51. 41. Donna Haraway, ‘Teddy Bear Patriarchy: Taxidermy in the Garden of Eden, New York City, 1908–1936’, in Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science (New York: Routledge, 1990). 42. Derrida argues that whenever we reduce an unfathomable heterogeneity of other species to the generic category of ‘the animal’ we utter an ‘asinanity [bêtise]’. See The Animal That Therefore I Am, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 2009), p. 31. 43. Brown, Undoing, p. 9. 44. Casarino, ‘Surplus Common’, p. 13. 45. Andrew Youpa, ‘Spinoza’s Theory of the Good’, in Olli Koistinen (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza’s Ethics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 243. 46. For a deeper analysis of the resonance between Spinozan thought and neoliberalism, see Jason Read, ‘A Genealogy of Homo-Economicus: Neoliberalism and the Production of Subjectivity’, Foucault Studies 1:6 (2009), pp. 25–36. 47. For a good example of the revival of Spinoza’s concept of conatus in new materialist thought, see Bennett’s Vibrant Matter. 48. Braun, ‘New Materialisms and Neoliberal Natures’, p. 10. 49. Ibid. p. 1. In proposing that neoliberalism emerges to contain and capitalise upon non-deterministic ideas of nature, Braun draws an analogy with the similar containment of complex systems theory. Neoliberal governance, he writes, responded to ‘something that began as a critique of existing capitalist ecologies – complex systems theory – and redeployed its critical energies as a new mode of capitalist management’ (9). As Braun puts it, because new materialist thought is only ever contingently (historically) appropriated into the service of the neoliberalisation of nature, it holds the potential to be mobilised in other-than-neoliberal

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50. 51.

52. 53. 54.

55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65.

66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81.

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ways. This requires, in part, that new materialist thought continuously reflect on how it is historically interacting with neoliberal discourses and forces. Ibid. p. 3. Erica Fudge, Jason Hribal and Susan McHugh have in different ways emphasised the agency of non-human animals within the history of capitalism. McHugh, specifically, formulates types of non-human agency that are not conditional upon subjects or the possession of subjectivity. See Erica Fudge, ‘A Left-Handed Blow: Writing the History of Animals’, in Nigel Rothfels (ed.), Representing Animals (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press), pp. 3–18; Jason Hribal, ‘Animals, Agency, and Class: Writing the History of Animals from Below’, Human Ecology Review 14:1 (2007), pp. 101–12; and Susan McHugh, Animal Stories: Narrating Across Species Lines (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011). Brown, Undoing, p. 69. McHugh, Animal Stories, p. 46. Under neoliberalism class distinctions within animal populations begin to grow more stark, with a gap widening between what Jason Hribal terms ‘proletarian animals’ (‘Animals, Agency, and Class’, p. 105) and what might be called a new creative class of animals whose value resides in their immaterial or affective labour. Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 41. Jonathan Crary, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (London and New York: Verso, 2014), p. 1. Ibid. p. 2. Ibid. Ibid. p. 17. Ibid. p. 4. Nicole Shukin, Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), p.161. Telus, quoted in ibid. p. 161. Nicole Shukin, ‘Security Bonds: On Feeling Power and the Fiction of an Animal Governmentality’, English Studies in Canada 39:1 (2013), pp. 177–98 (p. 178). Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 61. Jason Read, ‘The Order and Connection of Ideology Is the Same as the Order and Connection of Exploitation: or, Towards a Bestiary of the Capitalist Imagination’, Philosophy Today 59:2 (2015), pp. 175–89. Ibid. p. 177. Ibid. Ibid. p. 178. Lorraine Plourdes, ‘Cat Cafés, Affective Labour, and the Healing Boom in Japan’, Japanese Studies 34:2 (2014), pp. 115–33. Ibid. p. 115. Ibid. Ibid. p. 116. Ibid. p. 119. Ibid. p. 129. Ibid. p. 119. Ibid. p. 125. Ibid. p. 119. Ibid. p. 123. Derrida, Animal, p. 226. Hardt and Negri, Multitude, p. 109. Nancy Fraser, ‘Feminism, Capitalism, and the Cunning of History’, New Left Review 56 (2009), pp. 97–117.

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82. Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, The New Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Gregory Elliott (London: Verso, 2005). 83. Fraser, ‘Feminism, Capitalism, and the Cunning of History’, p. 99. 84. Johnson, ‘Reconsidering Mimesis’, p. 270, p. 277. 85. Ibid. p. 277. 86. Ibid. p. 281. 87. Ibid. p. 279. 88. Ibid. p. 281. 89. Ibid. p. 283. 90. Ron Broglio, ‘The Creatures that Remember Chernobyl’, The Atlantic, 26 April 2016, (accessed 28 August 2017). 91. Ibid.

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onsider an early scene from François Truffaut’s 1970 film L’Enfant Sauvage as enacting the Cartesian rule of ‘real speech’, and as presaging the rule’s continuing hold over nineteenth-century modernity.1 The scene takes place in 1800 in an examination room of the Paris Institution Nationale des Sourds et Muets. On the left side of the stage, two well-dressed men engage in conversation; not incidentally, they are standing in front of an oversized cross-section of the organs of speech. Across the room and to the side of another large anatomical chart, this one of the organs of hearing, a barefoot child, clothed in a hospital gown, hunches before an oval mirror, swaying as a caged animal might. The boy, about twelve years of age, the so-called ‘wild child of Aveyron’ on whom Truffaut’s film is based, was discovered in the woods of southern France ‘running on all fours’ (‘four-footed, mute, and hairy’, just as Linnaeus in his System of Nature described the species Homo ferus). Once he was brought to Paris for assessment, government and scientific observers quickly judged the boy to be capable of animal functions only, thus a case of hopeless idiocy.2 It remained for the senior of the two male figures on stage in this scene from Truffaut’s film, the great Philippe Pinel, Chief Physician at France’s asylum for ‘incurables’, the Hôpital Salpêtrière, to render his decisive evaluation of the feral child to his former pupil, Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard. Given Truffaut’s placement of a mirror on stage, with the child positioned before it but incapable of perceiving his own image in the glass, one might be tempted to read the scene as a specular drama that confirms the hegemony of sight: subject formation as an exclusively visual identification. But a diagram of the ear overtakes the mirror in this scene, the enormous ear before which Pinel examines the child who, while not without hearing, proves to be deaf to the human voice, thus to the sonority of his own inner speech. It is on the point of his deafness, particularly his consequent ‘dumbness’, that Pinel, in his report on the case,3 determines the boy’s abyssal, animal inferiority: the creature lacks real speech: ‘he does not have speech’, Pinel states repeatedly.4 This is the familial and phonocentric drama with which the nineteenth century opens, reaffirming the Cartesian man/animal opposition by way of Descartes’s argument that animals, lacking a rational mind, are incapable of ‘real speech’.5 The scene is captured wonderfully in Truffaut’s looking glass, the oval mirror that displays, behind the figure of the bastard child – and framed by the cross-section of the organs of speech – Pinel, the master, declaring to his apprentice, Itard: ‘the child is without speech and without the advantage of making himself understood by gestures’:6 since he cannot speak and all his gestures and other bodily movements are meaningless, or otherwise simply tied up with his means of sustenance . . . how can one determine whether he has ideas of a certain kind, and is not one justified in assuming

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that he has only those concerning purely animal instinct? . . . What other means can we have of judging the nature of the ideas of a member of the human species, if not from gestures of certain types, certain movements of the head and trunk, or the use of speech?7 The stakes of this drama extend well beyond the nineteenth and into the twenty-first century, perhaps particularly in critical animal studies, the burgeoning field into which what I am calling the Cartesian ‘rule of “real speech”’ has found its way. We have it from René Descartes that, because they are deprived of speech and therefore rational minds, animals do not suffer, their cries of pain during vivisection being machine sounds only; in other words, that suffering is a capacity lacking in animals because, as bête-machines, they are deprived of the logos, the unity of voice-rational mind. In what follows, I expand on this phono-logocentric argument, noting its significance in legitimating and expanding modern practices of animal experimentation, including those involved in so-called ‘factory farming’; its resurfacing in some contemporary approaches to animal ethics that base ‘moral worth’ on a logocentric capacities argument; and not the least, the relevance of this argument to contemporary scientific and ethical claims that, deprived of speech, ‘the animal’ cannot die.

Phonocentrism In his 1967 book De la grammatologie (translated in 1974 as Of Grammatology), Jacques Derrida explains that throughout its history, from Plato and Aristotle through Hegel and Heidegger, Western metaphysical philosophy has posited ‘a relationship of essential and immediate proximity’ between ‘the voice’ and ‘the mind’.8 Moreover, within this logos-centred tradition, ‘the original and essential link to the phonē has never been broken.’9 Hence, the terms ‘phonocentrism’ and ‘phono-logocentrism’, coined by Derrida in reference to this tradition’s idealisation of the phonetic ‘voice’ that is supposedly ‘heard’ first of all in the self’s interior ‘mind’, which is to say that the idealised ‘voice’ of Western metaphysics is claimed to be immediately present to consciousness before being released into a spoken, and second to that, a written, signifier. And, as Derrida puts it in Speech and Phenomena, this idealised voice that is ‘heard’ by the self in the absolute proximity of self-presence, this ‘hearing-oneselfspeak’, constitutes an essential ‘inwardness of life with itself’ that makes certain lives, certain kinds of life, more ‘worthy’ than others.10 In other words, with its ‘effacement of the sensible body and its exteriority’ – an effacement of exteriority in general – phonocentrism belongs to a mind/body, man/woman, interior/exterior, signified/signifier oppositional logic.11 To these we can add the oppositions man/animal and life/ death, in that metaphysics locates ‘the animal’, said to be lacking ideal self-presence, on the underside of its mind/body line; and with recourse to the same logic, as I consider in more detail below, the tradition claims that ‘the animal’ cannot, properly speaking, die. Inevitably, in the phonocentric tradition, the oppositions man/woman and man/ animal belong together. For example, the man/woman binary is fundamental to G. W. F. Hegel’s account of marriage as the union of two opposites who come together to produce offspring.12 As Derrida points out in Glas, this Hegelian ‘union of opposites,

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of man and woman, has the form of a syllogistic copulation’, an Aufhebung, through which the woman falls back in the passage that sets man’s spirit free in his son.13 The opposition of the sexes is evident again in the Aufhebung that enables the passage to be made, through education of sons, to civil society and the nation state. Only sons make this passage beyond the family to the higher reaches of the people-spirit (Volksgeist), and through death, into universality. ‘A girl’s vocation [Bestimmung] consists essentially only in the marital relationship’, Hegel explains.14 And although upon the man’s death she will anoint his body and memorialise his spirit, the woman’s demise is not a death that raises her into the ideal, but a simple disappearance. For, as Hegel explains in his Philosophy of Right, the ‘difference between man and woman is the difference between animal and plant; the animal is closer in character to man, the plant to woman’.15 This means that, as is the case for ‘the plant’, a woman simply returns to the earth; her demise is merely a ‘falling into dust, a withering away’.16 All that Hegel has to say about plant and animal nature in his 1817 Encyclopedia Philosophy of Nature bears on his man/woman opposition: his description over several pages on the plant’s lack of potency: its ‘feeble, infantile’ incapacity to ‘freely determine its place, i.e. move from the spot’; its lack of ‘animal heat and feeling’;17 and even more specifically, its asexual propagation, having ‘not yet developed within itself the moment of difference’, thus having to propagate simply ‘by multiplying itself’.18 In contrast, ‘the animal’, as sexually reproductive, is characterised by activity, virility, potency: ‘The animal organism is reproductive; this it is essentially, or this is its actuality.’19 As well, the animal marks the passage from the plant’s silence to sound. For Hegel, animal utterances, while not yet speech, give evidence of life’s movement towards ‘being-for-self’.20 This movement is actualised only in the passage from animal to man and the inner life of consciousness manifested, not in hieroglyphics, but in the phonetic speech that emerges in spirit’s journey from East to West.21 In short, as Derrida remarks in Speech and Phenomena, we might well turn to Hegel in order to understand why in the tradition of metaphysics the phoneme is the most ideal of sounds, and from where the complicity between voice and ideality originates.22

‘the animal’ Phonocentrism, along with the oppositional logic to which it belongs, is of interest not only to philosophers or phenomenologists: indeed, its lingering hold across a number of contemporary discourses is one of the most politically and ethically urgent issues of our time. Critical animal studies must challenge this essentialist and oppositional way of thinking, since there can be no liberation of animals within its terms.23 For example, over centuries, various modes of experimentation on animals have been justified by recourse to the argument that, without speech, animals lack rational minds. Even Aristotle, although he considered nature to be a meaningful whole to which both human and non-human animals belong, ascribed to a hierarchical worldview that located humans, by virtue of their reason, on top of the ‘ladder of being’ and in a place of domination over animals. Thus, as Anita Guerrini points out, as part of his study of the vascular system, Aristotle would starve a living animal and then strangle it: ‘Looking at old men had taught him that blood vessels stand out more clearly in an emaciated body, and strangling prevented blood loss.’24 In short, in Guerrinni’s words:

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Because animals were not rational and were incapable of deliberate choice, he concluded that there is no such thing as injustice towards animals. Aristotle never spoke about the morality of using animal bodies, either alive or dead, and the use of animals for sacrifice, food, and labour similarly were not moral issues for him.25 Along with the work of Aristotle, that of the Roman physician Galen (c. 130–210 ce) held sway over Western thought through to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Galen, like Aristotle, never dissected a human (a practice forbidden in the Rome of his time), relying on Barbary apes for his anatomical research and insisting on a close analogy between animal and human biological organs and systems, thereby ‘establishing animal experimentation as the standard method for learning about human anatomy and physiology’.26 When the Aristotelian-Galenic tradition gave way during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to a mechanistic philosophy of nature and an atomistic social physics, animal experimentation took off with a new vengeance. René Descartes, who in his personal life reacted strongly against the Aristotelian teaching in which he was educated, provided something of a meta-text for the newly emerging mechanistic paradigm. Replacing the view of nature as an interrelated whole with a dualism of mind over matter, Descartes declared animals, lacking minds, to be but brute machines, automatons without sensation. Moreover, demonstrating the inseparable ideality of both mind and speech (of logocentrism and phono-logocentrism) in the Western tradition, Descartes explained in Part Five of his Discourse on Method that animals, lacking minds, cannot speak ‘as we do’; that is, although magpies and parrots can utter words, ‘we must not confuse speech with the natural movements which express passions and which can be imitated by machines as well as by animals’.27 What he called ‘real speech’ emanates not from matter but from mind. To prepare for his extensive writing on anatomy, Descartes studied such works as the Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius and the De Motu Cordis of William Harvey, all the while performing animal dissections and vivisections, and advising his readers to do the same, to learn for themselves ‘first hand’; for instance, ‘I should like anyone unversed in anatomy to take the trouble, before reading this, to have the heart of some large animal with lungs dissected before him.’28 Or, for another example: If you slice off the pointed end of the heart in a live dog, and insert a finger into one of the cavities, you will feel unmistakably that every time the heart gets shorter it presses the finger, and every time it gets longer, it stops pressing it. This seems to make it quite certain that the cavities are narrower when there is more pressure on the finger than when there is less.29 As did Galen, then, Descartes insisted that animals suffer nothing by being cut open while alive; moreover, he enthusiastically renewed the practice of animal experimentation by providing modernity, in timely fashion, with a facilitating view of ‘the animal as automaton’, what he termed the ‘bête-machine’.30 In proffering his dualism as truth, as a ‘rock of certainty’31 that could not be doubted, Descartes demonstrated as well that phono-logocentrism is invariably a thetic position, that is to say an approach that equates his own view with ‘truth’.

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Historian of science Richard Westfall remarks that, as one reads the work of seventeenth-century physiologists who observed dogs in vivisection, ‘one is sometimes surprised that the canine species managed to survive’.32 While experimentation on animals continues to be practised by scientists, and justified by them as necessary to the advancement of scientific knowledge, few can doubt that current industrialised ‘factory’ farming, with the wanton brutality it inflicts on animals, serves anything more than a profit motive. Its modes of confinement, caging and acceleration-to-slaughter of the miserable lives of untold millions of animals annually, animals now viewed solely as products for consumption and profit, suggests an unprecedented scale of human cruelty to animals. It also suggests that Descartes’s reduction of all members of the species Homo sapiens to ‘man’, and all non-human animal species to ‘the animal’, has come full circle in our time. Because phono-logocentrism is an oppositional logic, it invariably resorts to such homogenising terms as ‘man/animal’ or ‘man/woman’. Factory farming does the same. As Derrida writes in The Animal That Therefore I Am, ‘Animal is a word that men have given themselves the right to give.’33 Derrida notes in this and other of his texts that from Aristotle to Lacan, and including Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Heidegger and Levinas, philosophers in the Western metaphysical tradition have maintained that ‘the animal’ is deprived of speech-mind and therefore falls outside the proper sphere of political and ethical obligation: Men would be first and foremost those living creatures who have given themselves the word that enables them to speak of the animal with a single voice and to designate it as the single being that remains without a response, without a word with which to respond.34 This ‘catch-all’ concept of ‘the animal’, which serves the phono-logocentric aim of effacing or assimilating differences, lies behind such statements as, ‘deprived of rational minds, animals cannot suffer’ – statements that, as surprising as this might seem, emerge with increasing frequency within leading schools of animal ethics. An example is found in the work of Peter Singer, a leading proponent of utilitarian ethics, a theory that determines morally right conduct by way of a cost-benefit analysis that, in every case, maximises ‘good’ consequences, where ‘good’ for Singer means ‘freedom from suffering’.35 As a resource for his utilitarian theory, Singer cites Jeremy Bentham’s statement that the question is not whether animals can think, reason or speak, but whether they can suffer. Interpreting suffering as a ‘capacity’ that depends on the faculty of reason, Singer concludes that ethical decision-making should be inclusive of those animals that can suffer, that is, those human and non-human animals that have the mental capacity of normal adult humans.36 If Singer’s utilitarian approach is non-speciesist, as he claims, it nonetheless takes the (traditionally male) logos as its moral standard, and sees that standard modelled by himself – a ‘mentally normal’ adult human (male).37 The title of Singer’s leading book, Animal Liberation, may be misleading, then, as only those animals who meet the ‘capacity’ standard count as having moral worth. A similar result follows from Tom Regan’s treatise on The Case for Animal Rights in that, according to Regan, only what he calls ‘subjects-of-a-life’, that is, ‘mentally normal mammals of a year or more’,38 count as having full moral rights. The standard excludes what Regan calls ‘morons’39 and what Singer calls the ‘mentally

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retarded’,40 along with untold numbers of animals and animal species (Regan insists that rights belong only to individuals and not to species). As quite distinct from these leading approaches to ‘animal ethics’, Derrida notes in the first place that denying animals the capacity to suffer is just another version of the position maintained by the Western tradition from Aristotle through Heidegger, the position that ‘the animal’, without speech, is ‘deprived of the logos, deprived of the can-have-the-logos’.41 In addition, he suggests that suffering is not a power or capacity; rather, that suffering attests to a vulnerability that humans have in common with animals, ‘to a sufferance, a passion, a not-being-able’.42 For Derrida, Bentham’s question ‘changes everything’43 for ethics in that it calls for a ‘thinking of the finitude that we share with animals, the mortality that belongs to the very finitude of life’, a thinking that should transform ethics from the phono-logocentric discourse of a rational speaking subject who puts himself first as moral author and norm, to the compassion of a ‘second person’ addressee who, today more than ever before, is called by animals to respond.44

Can They Die? In the citation above from The Animal That Therefore I Am, Derrida refers to ‘the finitude that we share with animals’, a subtle indicator that he does not ascribe to the view held by leading philosophers in the Western tradition of metaphysics, that ‘the animal’ cannot die, at least not in the sense that humans are thought to die. Lacking speech, the faculty of reason, and what recent ethicists term ‘the capacity’ to suffer,45 ‘the animal’ has also been said to be incapable of death – in the ‘proper’ sense of that word. In his sustained engagements with all of the canonical thinkers of the Western tradition, Derrida approaches the contention that ‘the animal’, often as well as ‘the woman’, is deprived of death as a history he is attempting to interpret. A striking example of this task of inheritance is found in Derrida’s as-yet-unpublished seminar, La vie la mort, delivered in 1975/6 at the École Normale Supérieure, a seminar in which he reads Nobel Prize winner François Jacob’s 1970 book La logique du vivant alongside selections from Heidegger’s Nietzsche lectures46 and works by Nietzsche47 and Freud.48 Although Jacob claims that with the ‘discovery’ of the structure and function of DNA, biology has become a truly modern science freed of its earlier reliance on myth or metaphysics, Derrida finds La Logique to be based on a series of essentialist metaphysical oppositions and to be thoroughly phono-logocentric in its theorising of the genetic ‘text’ and reproduction. Jacob defines the latter, by which he means sexual reproduction, in very Hegelian terms, as a coming together of two to result in (a return to) one, reproduction’s goal being that of producing an identical programme for the following generation. And he takes sexual reproduction, so defined, to be the essence of the living and the basis of his living/non-living opposition. Only beings that sexually reproduce can be referred to, and treated as, living beings.49 Thus, according to Jacob, bacteria and all such ‘lower’ life forms that multiply simply by fission cannot be considered living beings (‘les vivants’). They are not alive in the sense that ‘higher’ beings are alive. In an interesting and telling explication of this point Jacob refers to bacterial cells as ‘female’, such that in bacterial fission, he writes, ‘[t]he molecules of the “mother”

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are distributed equally among her “daughters”’ – whereupon the mother disappears.50 Derrida cites this passage, commenting, in brackets, on the word ‘mother’, which Jacob places within quotation marks: ‘quotation marks’, Derrida writes, ‘but more a mother than a father’. He adds another comment, in brackets, following the word ‘daughters’, which Jacob also places within quotation marks: ‘quotation marks’, Derrida writes again, ‘but is this because bacteria is a feminine word, or is it because bacteria do not have sexuality that Jacob uses the words mother and daughter rather than father and son, or mother and son, or father and daughter?’51 It is obviously important to Derrida that Jacob refers to bacterial non-vivants as mothers and daughters, placing these words in quotation marks only in their first usage. Moreover, Jacob says of the mother bacterium that, once her DNA passes to her daughters, she disappears but does not die.52 She does not die in the ‘proper’ sense, not according to the usual meaning of the word ‘death’, Derrida comments. For Jacob, Derrida writes, ‘within reproduction without sexuality (by internal fission of a single individual), there is no death’.53 The bacterium, non-living in that it she lacks the capacity to reproduce, also lacks death. Her ‘death’ is ‘contingent’, Jacob claims, in that it comes from exhaustion of the culture in which she, the bacterium, is growing.54 Here, ‘contingent’ means ‘coming from the outside’, Derrida observes.55 It follows that what Jacob calls death in the usual sense of the word, ‘what alone merits the name of death’, that is, ‘death in the proper sense’, must be an essential and internal capacity belonging only to the living, among whom bacterial mothers and daughters do not belong. I take these passages from Jacob’s La logique du vivant to be examples of the curious and complex ways in which phonocentrism or phono-logocentrism works to instate hierarchical oppositions (living/non-living) that are inevitably coded for sexual and/or species difference. This oppositional logic conflates speech with some ‘I can’ capacity (force or energia of spirit, upright stance, male seed), a capacity said to be lacking in ‘the animal’ that, for this reason, when ‘it’ ceases to live, does not properly die. Although in Being and Time Martin Heidegger is dismissive of the Cartesian point of departure, presenting his existential analytic as a radical break from the oppositional logic of Descartes and the tradition of metaphysics overall, when he writes on animal lack, Heidegger comes across as all too crudely Cartesian. Right through to the end of his final 2001–3 seminar on The Beast and the Sovereign, Derrida continued to struggle with this puzzling and distressing aspect of Heidegger’s work, particularly in this last seminar with his contention that, unlike humans, animals cannot die. They can only perish. In the second year of The Beast and the Sovereign seminar, Derrida begins his reading of Heidegger’s 1929–30 lecture course The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics at its exact centre, section 42, in which Heidegger presents three theses: (1) The stone is worldless; (2) The animal is poor in world; (3) Man is world-forming.56 From this point on in The Fundamental Concepts, Derrida observes, ‘Heidegger explicitly and systematically broaches the question of the animal, which is our theme here.’57 Derrida finds Heidegger’s hierarchical distinction between human dying (Sterben) and animal ‘perishing’ (Verenden) to be both ‘decisive and troubling’.58 It is, moreover, inseparable from his phono-logocentric assertion that the logos is a power that ‘the animal’ lacks, a lack that deprives ‘it’ of death as death.59 Central to Derrida’s reading of the impoverishment that The Fundamental Concepts attributes to animals is what

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Heidegger calls Benommenheit (benumbment or captivation), a kind of stupefaction, even ‘dumbness’ (remember the ‘wild child’ of Aveyron) that removes animals from the possibility (power or capacity) of relating to the entity as such, of relating to the world as such, of relating to death as death.60 What Heidegger calls the Benommenheit of the animal, the benumbment that removes from it the possibility (power) of relating to the entity as such, of relating to the world as such, of relating to death as death, ties to other of the themes or threads of Heidegger’s The Fundamental Concepts – that of boredom, for example. In Derrida’s words: ‘The animal poor in world, in its Benommenheit (in its Dasein-less being-captivated) supposedly does not get bored’, at least not in Dasein’s deep sense.61 And as to the question of life on which in the 1929–30 lecture course the question of animality depends, Derrida points out that in section 43, Heidegger takes the determination of death to be the ‘touchstone’ for the question of life, of ‘what makes life life’, such that the first criterion of life, of the ‘being-in-life of life’, is the possibility of dying. Paradoxically, then, although it is alive, ‘the animal’, lacking access ‘to the open, the manifest (offenbar), the manifestness (Offenbarkeit) of beings as such’, cannot die, properly speaking.62 Enclosed as it is in the circle of its Ringen and its Umring, and of its Benommenheit (benumbment, captivation), ‘the animal’ cannot die, but only cease to live. Derrida asserts in the second Beast and the Sovereign seminar, as he has in some earlier works, that with his discourse on animal captivation (Benommenheit) and world poverty, Heidegger, with the utmost certainty and confidence, reinstates one of Western philosophy’s fundamental hierarchical either/or oppositions. That is, Heidegger effectively elevates the power of man alone over ‘the animal’ and over his Dasein-less others, thereby confirming a long tradition of thinking sovereignty. In Derrida’s words: in the dominant tradition of how the animal is treated by philosophy and culture in general, the difference between animal and human has always been defined according to the criterion of ‘power’ or ‘faculty’, i.e. the ‘being able to do [pouvoir faire]’ or the inability to do this or that (man can speak, he has that power, the animal does not have the power of speech, man can laugh and die, the animal can neither laugh nor die, it is not capable of its death, as Heidegger literally says; it does not have the power (können) of its death and to become mortal, etc.), and, as I said here quite insistently not long ago, Bentham always seemed to me to be on the right track in saying – in opposition to this powerful tradition that restricts itself to power and non-power – that the question is not, ‘can the animal do this or that, speak, reason, die, etc.?’ but ‘can the animal suffer?’ is it vulnerable?63 Again, as I suggest above, Derrida’s contention that vulnerability is a ‘non-power’ humans share with animals and that it is from ‘compassion in impotence’64 that we might begin to rethink human-animal relations, offers a much-needed alternative to the privileging of the human that logocentrism perpetuates. At a time when – largely as a result of man’s self-privileging – the survival of the planet can no longer be taken for granted, the argument that unlike ‘the animal’, only man possesses the power to properly die, should soon lose all credibility, and not the least, in the discourse that calls itself ‘ethics’.

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Notes 1. François Truffaut’s 1970 film was released by Les Films du Carrosse in 1969 and by United Artists in 1970. I provide a more extensive treatment of the film in ‘The Wild Child’ in Canadian Journal of Film Studies /Revue Canadienne d’Études Cinématographiques, a special issue on Disability and Film 17:1 (Spring 2008), pp. 66–80. 2. See for example the report of P. J. Bonnaterre, Notice historique sur le sauvage de l’Aveyron (Paris: Panckoucke, 1800). 3. The Pinel ‘Report to the Société des Observateurs de l’Homme’ is reproduced at length by Harlan Lane in The Wild Boy of Aveyron (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976). Page references are to the Pinel report as reproduced in Lane’s book, pp. 57–69. 4. Ibid. p. 58. 5. See for example René Descartes, Discourse on the Method: The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, vol. 1, trans. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, Dugald Murdoch (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 140–1. 6. Pinel report, as reproduced in Lane, p. 69. 7. Ibid. p. 60. 8. Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974), p. 11. 9. Ibid. 10. See Jacques Derrida, Speech and Phenomena: And Other Essays on Husserl’s Theory of Signs, trans. David B. Allison (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973), pp. 78–9. This has been re-translated by Leonard Lawlor as Voice and Phenomenon: Introduction to the Problem of the Sign in Husserl’s Phenomenology (Northwestern University Press, 2010). 11. Ibid. p. 77. 12. G. W. F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, trans. H. B. Nisbet (Cambridge, New York, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1991). 13. Jacques Derrida, Glas, trans. John P. Leavey Jr. and Richard Rand (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1990), p. 170a. 14. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, p. 205. 15. Ibid. p. 207. 16. G. W. F. Hegel, Philosophy of Nature: Part Two of the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences, trans. A. V. Miller (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 347. 17. Ibid. p. 305. 18. Ibid. pp. 304–6. 19. Ibid. p. 358. 20. Ibid. pp. 354–5. 21. See for example Hegel’s treatment of the progression to phonetic speech in his Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art, vols 1 and 2, trans. T. M. Knox (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975). 22. Derrida, Speech and Phenomena, p. 77. 23. I am using this term, as I do in my book with the same title, to refer to a wide range of approaches (not just abolitionist approaches) that have emerged in the past twenty-five years or so from across academic disciplines in response to theoretical and practical issues involving animals. See my Critical Animal Studies: An Introduction (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2013). 24. Anita Guerrini, Experimenting with Humans and Animals: From Galen to Animal Rights (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), p. 10. 25. Ibid. p. 11. 26. Ibid. p. 14.

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27. Descartes, Discourse on the Method, pp. 140–1. 28. Ibid. p. 134. 29. René Descartes, Description of the Human Body and of All Its Functions in the Philosophical Writings of Descartes, vol. 1, trans. John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff and Dugald Murdoch (Edinburgh: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 317. 30. See for example Descartes, Discourse on the Method, pp. 139–41. 31. Richard S. Westfall, The Construction of Modern Science: Mechanisms and Mechanics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), p. 32. 32. Ibid. p. 88. 33. Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am, ed. Marie-Louise Mallet, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), p. 32. 34. Ibid. 35. Peter Singer, Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement (New York: HarperCollins, 2009). 36. See for example Peter Singer (ed.), In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 4–7. 37. Ibid. 38. Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004), p. xvi. 39. See for example Tom Regan, ‘Utilitarianism, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 9:4 (1980), pp. 305–24. 40. See for some examples Peter Singer, Practical Ethics (London: Cambridge University Press, 1979) for his references to the ‘grossly retarded “human vegetable”’ (p. 75); ‘mental defectives’ (p. 88); or for his argument that ‘killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all’ (p. 138). 41. Derrida, Animal, p. 27. 42. Ibid. 43. Ibid. 44. Ibid. p. 28. 45. See for example Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche vols 3 and 4, ed. David Farrell Krell, trans. Joan Stambaugh, David Farrell Krell and Frank A. Capuzzi (New York: HarperOne, 1991). 46. See for example Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, in Basic Writings of Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: The Modern Library, 2000), pp. 655–800. 47. See for example Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. 18, ed. and trans. James Strachey (London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1955), pp. 2–64. 48. François Jacob, La logique du vivant: une histoire de l’hérédité (Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 1970). Derrida’s La vie la mort seminar is held both in the Special Collections archive at the University of California, Irvine and at IMEC (Institut Mémoires de l’Édition Contemporaine), the archive facility in Caen, France. In 2006 the Derrida Seminars Translation Project began preparation of French- and English-language publications of some 14,000 pages of Derrida’s seminars that remained unpublished at the time of his death. To date, two volumes of The Beast and the Sovereign seminar (trans. Geoffrey Bennington), the first volume of The Death Penalty seminar (trans. Peggy Kamuf) and Heidegger: The Question of Being & History (trans. Geoffrey Bennington) have appeared in English. No publication date for La vie la mort has yet been determined. 49. Jacob, La logique du vivant, pp. 12–13. 50. Ibid. p. 317. 51. Derrida, La vie la mort, Session 5, p. 14. My references are taken from the copy of the La vie la mort seminar held at IMEC. The translations are my own.

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57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64.

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Jacob, La logique, p. 318. Derrida, La vie la mort, Session 5, p. 14. Jacob, La logique, p. 318. Derrida, La vie la mort, Session 5, p. 14. Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign, vol. 2, trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), p. 57. Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, trans. Will McNeil and Nicholas Walker (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995), p. 177. Derrida, Beast II, p. 57. Ibid. p. 115. Ibid. p. 278. Ibid. p. 63. Ibid. p. 70. Ibid. pp. 113–16. Ibid. pp. 243–4. Ibid. p. 244.

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9 Empathy Kari Weil

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mpathy is in – or at least has been for the last two decades. In 1994, Barbara Kruger constructed a huge panel in the Strasbourg train station where ‘l’empathie peut changer le monde’ (‘empathy can change the world’) was written in enormous red letters to greet travellers. Critical theory has debated the status of empathy in historical witnessing, but also in new materialist (and non-human) forms of agency that are motored by affect rather than intention. In line with these theories, scholars as different as Jeremy Rifkin (an economic and cultural theorist), Steven Pinker (cognitive scientist) and Elaine Scarry (literary theorist) have argued that we are becoming an increasingly ‘empathic civilization’, in which influences from literature to the internet build on our affective capacity to ‘expand the circle of our moral concern’ (to use Peter Singer’s phrase) across differences of sex or race or culture, and also across species boundaries.1 Such a civilisation, it is argued, has reduced the role of violence in the world. In a strikingly different tone, Jacques Derrida claims that we have been engaged in a two-hundred-year-old ‘war over the matter of pity’; one, moreover, that has reached unprecedented proportions, especially with regard to non-human animals.2 This difference of tone cannot simply be attributed to distinctions between pity and empathy, since the word ‘empathy’ did not exist (either in English or French) at its onset. ‘Pity’ was the favoured term of eighteenth-century French thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who decried the destruction of pity or compassion by reason. Similar to contemporary theorists of empathy, moreover, Rousseau eventually distinguished gradations of pity from instinctive or automatic reactions to another’s pain, to feelings for another that are dependent on some form of imagination or cognition. Notions of non-cognitive response underscore a fundamental likeness between human and non-human animals that, some argue, is integral to the ethical parameters of this war, even as others claim that the notion of likeness itself is a symptom of anthropocentrism and should play no part in ethics or in distinguishing friend from foe.3 Derrida underscores the necessity to ‘think this war’ because pity has to do with ‘what is called thinking’. Echoes of Heidegger’s 1951–2 lecture ‘Was heisst Denken’ reinforce the understanding of pity as calling forth a kind of thinking and suggest that the opposition between feeling and thinking is only a matter of language.4 In what follows I will try to think this war by attending to the subject of pity in works from Rousseau to contemporary animal studies scholarship. Contemporary debates over the value of empathy can be seen to grow out of a long-standing but flawed presumption that we humans are able to distinguish feeling from thought or affect from intention, distinctions that also underlie assumptions regarding our likeness to and difference from other animals.

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From Rousseau’s Pity to de Waal’s ‘Age of Empathy’ Rifkin’s book The Empathic Civilization was published in 2010, the same year as primatologist and Director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes Primate Research Center Franz de Waal published his book The Age of Empathy, which is part of a decade-old trend in science and science studies that has sought to rethink Darwin’s legacy and the belief that competition is the driving force behind evolution and society. Instead, participants in this trend prioritise forms of cooperation and co-evolution that depend on something like empathy both within and between species. As in his more recent The Bonobo and the Atheist, De Waal argues that our capacity for empathy, and indeed for morality, is not what separates us from non-human animals, but rather is grounded in our biology and derived from our primate origins.5 De Waal’s work highlights the key role that empathy plays in the affective (or counter-linguistic) and ethical turns in critical theory, which I have elsewhere described as essential for the rise in animal studies.6 A return to the body and the pre-cognitive as the material ground of emotions, the affective turn often relies upon evidence from neuroscience. For example, mirror neurons, which make one imitate or feel the expressions seen on another, were first discovered in macaques. ‘Putting it in neuroscience language, we activate neural representations of motor actions in our own brain similar to the ones we perceive or expect in the other. That we do so unconsciously has been tested with facial expressions on a computer screen.’7 Whereas science used to think of empathy as a cognitive skill, De Waal explains, we now know better: ‘humans don’t decide to be empathic; they just are’.8 Thus, we are by nature an empathic species, if not a moral one. Neuroimaging shows that our ‘first impulse is to trust and assist’ and that it is only by choice that we may ‘weigh the option of not doing so, for which we need reasons’.9 De Waal’s conclusions about empathy are curiously reminiscent of Rousseau’s discussion of pity in his 1755 ‘Discourse on Inequality’. Rousseau identifies two principles that are integral to man in the ‘state of nature’: ‘ . . . one makes us ardently interested in our well being and our self-preservation, and the other inspires in us a natural repugnance to seeing any sentient being, especially our fellow man, perish or suffer’.10 This repugnance he later relates to the sentiment of pity, a sentiment that is ‘so natural that even animals sometimes show noticeable signs of it’.11 Rousseau describes pity similarly to those affect theorists who claim that empathy precedes any kind of reflection. Suggesting that ‘commiseration will be all the more energetic as the witnessing animal identifies itself more intimately with the suffering animal’, he adds that reflection interferes with identification. Reason is what engenders egocentrism, and reflection strengthens it. Reason is what turns man in upon himself. Reason is what separates him from all that troubles and afflicts him. Philosophy is what isolates him and what moves him to say in secret, at the sight of a suffering man, ‘Perish if you will: I am safe and sound.’12 To grow out of our natural and animal state, for Rousseau, and thus to become ‘human’, entails the loss of the capacity for pity or empathy even as we gain the possibility for philosophy. Reason and philosophy offer us the means to separate ourselves from others, the better to distance ourselves from their suffering. Philosophy in this

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sense would offer a conscious motivation for what psychoanalysis understands to be an unconscious process of abjection, understood as the means by which a self attempts to separate from an other within or beside it in order to define its own boundaries and affirm its autonomy.13 Rousseau’s rejection of the ethical value of philosophy is in line with current posthumanist attempts to ground ethics in something we share with animals – something inhuman or non-human – rather than in those capacities for reason or language that humanism has touted as the foundation of our human exceptionalism. The turn to neural structures is a frequent recourse for those who want to claim that ‘affect’ is a deeper force that can light up the body independently of meaning.14 Ruth Leys has been a major voice criticising the recent turn to neuroscience in the humanities, resulting in the reinstatement of a misguided Cartesian dualism. Leys’s ‘The Turn to Affect: A Critique’, published in Critical Inquiry in the spring of 2011, elicited a series of critical responses to which she replied by emphasising that it is a mistake to assume that affective responses occur independently of cognitive ones, a mistake that can have ‘unfortunate consequences’.15 In a separate essay entitled ‘Disgusted with My Insula’, Leys focuses on discussions of empathy to spell out some of these consequences. If empathy is understood to be an ‘inhuman’ force, as she calls it, one that automatically springs from mirror neurons, there is no regard for the subjective state of the one we empathise with – that subject may as well be a machine as a human – hence the mechanical dogs given to the elderly.16 Indeed, in ‘The Turn to Affect’, Leys questions to what extent the incentive to sidestep cognition is due to a commitment on the part of affect theorists to ‘overturn the humananimal divide’. But, she adds, ‘there is nothing about the cognitive or intentionalist position that limits the capacity for cognition and intentionality to human animals. Nor is there anything about the cognitive position that is opposed to the idea that humans and non-human animals are emotionally embodied creatures and that this fact is of the highest importance.’17 Such arguments may figure in de Waal’s further discrimination between three moments or types of empathy according to their ‘cognitive overlays’, which allows for different degrees of empathy in different species. While ‘emotional contagion’ may have been the original ‘pre-linguistic’ form of empathy, other forms of empathy depend on degrees of both self-awareness and perspective-taking, of which only some mammals are capable.18 These capacities, moreover, are necessary to counteract the ethical limitations of automatic empathy whose prime ‘portal’ or mechanism, he suggests, is ‘identification’ – specifically, identification within an ‘inner circle’. ‘We’re ready to share the feelings of someone we identify with, which is why we do so easily with those who belong to our inner circle. . . . Outside the circle, things are optional.’19 This difficulty of empathising across difference may be one reason for the disproportionate attention given to apes or to animals we live with like dogs and cats within animal studies; those we find most like us, or whom we most wish to be like. Interestingly, Rousseau offers something of a similar corrective to his theories of pity in Emile (1762), written seven years after the ‘Discourse on Inequality’. In the later text he appears to distinguish the ‘natural’ pity that we share with animals from the learned pity that we will offer to them. This learned pity depends firstly on the ability to imagine the suffering of others: ‘the child who does not picture the feelings

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of others knows no ills but his own; but when his imagination is kindled by the first beginnings of growing sensibility, he begins to perceive himself in his fellow-creatures, to be touched by their cries, to suffer in their sufferings’.20 Learned pity depends secondly on an understanding of time and on the ability to project that suffering into the future: ‘ . . . it is memory that prolongs the pain, imagination which projects it into the future, and makes us really to be pitied’.21 The fact that animals are believed not to have this understanding of time makes us more ‘callous’ to their sufferings than to our own, he continues, ‘although a fellow-feeling ought to make us identify ourselves equally with either’.22 Since there is no real understanding of difference in the state of nature, identification is almost automatic, and imagination is not necessary. Natural pity is extended to others as an extension of the self. The pity advanced by the imagination, in contrast, allows one to do more than feel or react to the pain of another – it brings us to put ourselves in the place of another, and in so doing it brings us to turn outward, away from the self. ‘No one becomes sensitive till his imagination is aroused and begins to carry him outside himself,’ he writes.23 Empathy across difference requires imagination. Reason, too, appears to have a rather different function in civil society than in the state of nature, or so Rousseau suggests in his earlier ‘Essay on the Origin of Languages’ (1754). If reason or reflection is said to slow or prevent identification in the ‘Essay on Inequality’, in the essay on language it is also said to correct emotional responses that emphasise difference. Fear or disgust is behind the metaphorical language which, at first sight, calls another human ‘giant’ or monster. ‘Proper language’, produced by reason, rightly calls the giant ‘man’ instead.24 Reason, and the language it produces, thus can see and claim likeness where the passions only see difference. This is perhaps why, in Emile, Rousseau actually advises against teaching La Fontaine’s fable of ‘The Ant and Grasshopper’ wherein the grasshopper poet/artist, having written and sung all summer, asks an industrious ant for provisions for the winter. Children, Rousseau says, will not have sufficient reason to understand the moral – the value both of art and of generosity – and will want instead to imitate the ant, who teaches the child ‘not merely to refuse [the grasshopper] but to revile him’.25 In order to guard against such refusal of identification or fellow feeling for the weak, Emile will be exposed to no books until his moral character and reasoning capacities are fully formed. Whereas in the ‘Discourse’ reason is figured as the cause of an inhuman withholding of empathy, here it is regarded as the cure for an impassioned but misguided identification and fellow-feeling, a way to secure that empathy has ethical footing.

Empathy’s Reasons Rousseau’s efforts to extol the virtues of pity, but also to investigate the relation between pity and reason, have resonance with current ethical deliberations in animal studies, and in particular with feminist interventions that take seriously the role of emotions like empathy. These interventions have been part of an effort to criticise and expose the shortcomings of the mainstream philosophical position – a position represented especially by Peter Singer – which prioritised a disembodied and affectless reason for theorising about our duties to and responsibilities for other animals. It is such a masculinist position that Cary Wolfe has also been accused of advancing by

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writing that ‘the ethical and philosophical urgency of confronting the institution of speciesism . . . has nothing to do with whether you like animals’.26 Feminists have had to tread lightly in this project in order to insist on the relevance of liking and caring about animals while simultaneously avoiding, if not undoing, the very dualist thinking that has traditionally aligned women as essentially more compassionate or closer to (animal) nature. As Lori Gruen and I write in the Introduction to a special issue of Hypatia on Animal Others, feminists understand that appeals to irrational sentiment will not support arguments against entrenched systems of power and privilege. Nevertheless, they urge the development of a praxis built on compassion, care and empathy, one that includes cognition and affect in ways that cannot be disentangled, that will lead to richer, more motivating approaches to understanding and improving our relationships with others.27 Ethics, then, needs empathy, but empathy that is not dissociated from cognition. This is at the base of the arguments that Gruen has made in a number of essays and a recent book on empathy as an ethical and motivational force. She coins the term ‘entangled empathy’ to describe a process whereby one first feels the other’s pain or distress through something like emotional contagion, and then works imaginatively to assess the situation and be attentive to ‘ both similarities and differences between her situation and that of the fellow creature with whom she is empathizing’.28 Imagination enters here to ‘minimize narcissistic projections’, or charges of over-identification that are often brought against empathy. Entangled empathy is thus an important corrective to the ethical limitations of notions of empathy that are built around affect or neurology alone. Its ethical impetus, however, is tied to that feeling that comes first, and to the ‘distress’ that, Gruen writes, ‘one cannot remain indifferent to’.29 And yet I wonder if it is possible to completely separate that feeling of distress from the idea of similarity and difference that is said to come afterwards. In other words, is it not possible that our ability to feel that distress is conditioned by the very notion of in-group and out-group that entangled empathy is meant to correct? As Elaine Scarry reminds us, ‘Pushkin provided a stunning portrait of how we come out of the opera weeping with compassion for those on the stage, not seeing the cab-driver and horses who are freezing from their long wait to carry us home.’30 It is not uncommon to remain indifferent to or unmoved by those who are different. Literature has been credited with contributing to our expanding empathy as humans, but Scarry suggests that this is less because of its ability to make us feel for another than because of the way it brings us to see and acknowledge other points of view. We need to be awakened to the point of view and/or suffering of the horse in order to feel it. And as Rousseau also warned, if there are options for identification, one may just as well feel with the one who inflicts suffering, rather than the one in pain. The point is that we may not be able to count on a notion of empathy that is prior to or independent of some sort of representation and its apprehension. Whereas De Waal argues that our only choice is not to empathise – distinguishing choice from reaction may not be so clear because of conscious and unconscious forces that can both foreclose and stimulate our ability to feel for or with another.

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That the capacity for empathy extends across species bounds is visible in countless YouTube videos of interspecies bonding, examples that also raise questions about what determines ‘in’ and ‘out’ groups. Certain animals appear to be better than humans at extending a hand or paw or teat across species lines to offer food, aid or affection to members of other species. Perhaps our difference as a species – and this has been said in various ways over the centuries – has to do with the many ways in which we transcend, subvert or abject our nature – our ‘freedom’ not to be empathic. We may also unwillingly or unknowingly encounter both personal and structural obstacles to noticing others in distress, and thus to feeling for or with them. Derrida suggests that a ‘new experience of compassion’ has been evolving in response precisely to ‘the organised disavowal’ of the ‘torture’ of animals, the organised ‘forgetting’ on a global scale of the ‘industrial, mechanical, chemical, hormonal, and genetic violence’ to which we submit animals.31 It is for this reason, he says, that the war on pity has entered a ‘critical phase’.32 Derrida’s interest in the ‘matter’ of ‘pity’ was a focus of his early readings of ‘the supplement’ in Rousseau, long before he drew connections to the look of his cat in the bathroom. True, compassion for this cat and her plight is not what we hear in his late work (in which he prefers to highlight other emotions that the cat inspires), but it would be wrong to place this ‘founding father’ of animal studies, as Fraiman does, ‘in opposition to emotionally and politically engaged work on gender, race, and sexuality’.33 Derrida calls this war a ‘genocide’ (a term he does not use lightly) in order to signal the urgency of addressing what he sees as a ‘new experience of this compassion’ that can ‘awaken us to our responsibilities and obligations vis-à-vis the living in general’.34 He says that we need to ‘think this war’ because of ‘the thinking that compassion entails’.35 This is not a displacement or rejection of emotion or caring, but rather an attempt to confront the prejudices that have kept pity and empathy out of politics. And this has to do with what it means to feel and to think, or to react and to respond, and whether and how these can be distinguished. The distinction is especially important within animal studies because of the legacy of Descartes, who restricted animals to a capacity for reaction alone – that is, to unthinking, mechanical affect.36 Derrida’s interest in deconstructing the divide between reaction and response, or animal and human, proceeds less by showing that animals are also thinking, responsible creatures like us than by showing how we humans are not always the thinking beings we presume to be. This opens questions as to how our (rightly or wrongly) reasoned responses to a creature or situation can become unthought reactions, and how our unconscious habits (personal, cultural and literary) can frame or normalise our reactions.

Animal Machines in the Garden Let me turn briefly to examples from literature, not so much to learn from other points of view, but because of what Ruth Leys refers to as its ‘thick descriptions of life experiences’ that also describe the limits of empathy’s ethical reach. Nadine Gordimer’s ‘Soft Voice of the Serpent’ (1952) tells of a young amputee who examines, from his wheelchair, a locust in the garden. He notices its ‘curiously human face’, but decides that the insect’s ‘kinship with humans’ ends there,

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because his unfamiliar ‘body couldn’t really be called a body at all’.37 But then the amputee becomes aware of a struggle in the locust’s body, its ‘petering tremor’ and futile attempts to crawl. Through this tremor, he sees the locust’s body to be like his body, for it was the same, ‘his own trouble’ – the locust, too, had lost its leg.38 Identification, here, as Rousseau suggests, is the motor of compassion. The young man and his wife wonder what they can do, even what kind of small wheelchair or crutches they could create for this creature. And then, suddenly, the locust flies away, leaving the man irritated, alone again with his suffering, having ‘forgotten that locusts can fly’.39 Empathy, here, is a needy and narcissistic identification that denies difference. A more devastating result of empathic identification is evident in Thomas Mann’s ‘Tobias Mindernickel’, a story of domestic violence in which an ‘abject’ and mocked man so requires an object of pity that he beats his dog in order then to be able to respond to his ‘beseeching eyes’.40 Inspired, perhaps, by Nietzsche’s warning against pity as an ‘infection’, Mann’s story is also a clear illustration of Hannah Arendt’s objections to compassion as a political resource, especially because of the way that pathos becomes an end in itself.41 Indeed, Tobias will perpetuate the suffering of his dog in order to share it – perhaps because suffering is the only emotion he has been allowed to share. Unwilling or unable to enjoy the dog’s recovery and strength, he beats the dog, ultimately delivering a final knife wound deep into his chest. The reader’s horror with this ending is, moreover, confused by a perverse sympathy for Tobias, who ‘had laid his face down upon Esau’s body and was crying bitterly’.42 Arendt’s rejection of pity’s role in overcoming the atrocities of the Second World War runs counter to testimonials that want to equate its evil with an inhuman or animal withholding of empathy. Théodor Adorno in his article on ‘Freudian Theory and Fascist Propaganda’ and Primo Levi in Survival in Auschwitz, for instance, figure the inhumanity of the Nazis as the effect of Enlightenment rationality turned machine – Agamben’s anthropological machine – streamlined for the purposes of systematically naming and exterminating the Jew as animal.43 ‘The Lager was a great machine to reduce us to beasts,’ writes Levi, created ‘to annihilate us first as men in order to kill us more slowly afterwards’.44 Revealing specifically how categorical markers of difference obstruct the possibility for empathy, he explains, it was ‘the brain which governed those blue eyes and those manicured hands [that] said, “This something in front of me belongs to a species which it is obviously opportune to suppress.”’45 Conversely, in his attempt to understand the behaviour of the Germans who turned a blind eye to the atrocities befalling their fellow citizens, W. G. Sebald likens them to an insect colony that does not grieve the destruction of a neighbouring anthill. ‘You do not expect an insect colony to be transfixed with grief at the destruction of a neighbouring anthill, but you do assume a certain degree of empathy in human nature.’46 Whereas the ant from Aesop to La Fontaine ‘naturally’ refuses to help her fellow insect, the starving grasshopper, humans are by nature empathetic.47 An unnatural lack of empathy, characterises both the automatic behaviour of the Nazis and the ant-like Germans who disregarded their neighbours. Animals emerge more ambiguously as Sebald describes the ‘striking change in the natural order’ of Germany and the Germans after the allied raids. ‘Rats and flies ruled

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the city,’ he writes, quoting a novel of Eric Nossack to evoke ‘the sudden and alarming increase in the parasitical creatures thriving on the unburied bodies’.48 Sebald wonders why he could find so few written accounts of this phenomenon of the rats, much less the flies. He surmises that it can be explained as the tacit imposition of a taboo, very understandable if one remembers that the Germans, who had proposed to cleanse and sanitize all Europe, now had to contend with a rising fear that they themselves were the rat people.49 But in what sense they were rats is not explicit. Was it because they were now like the Jews, insofar as they shared a degree of victimhood? Was it because they shared the guilt of the German murderers? Or is it rather that rats, like vermin and flies, ignore the suffering of the corpses on which they feed – this in defiance of animal pity? Like the revival of natural life after the raids, social life also revived, Sebald tells us, thanks to ‘people’s ability to forget what they do not want to know, to overlook what is before their eyes’.50 So Alexander Kluge’s account of the destruction of Halberstadt, Sebald reminds us, begins with the story of Frau Schraeder, who shovels up the cooked body parts in the cinema where she works.51 Perhaps it is this ability to forget that makes them ratlike? Nietzsche, we may remember, associates forgetting with the cow who ‘lives unhistorically’.52 But the cow’s forgetting, for Nietzsche, is not really the same as Frau Schrader’s or that of the German people described by Sebald. For Nietzsche, at least, the cow does not have the capacity for that historical remembrance that humans develop in society. And it is only by virtue of that ability to remember that forgetting becomes willed, an active effort to rationalise a specific relation to the past and future. This willed or active forgetting is Walter Benjamin’s definition of historicism as a process of empathy, ‘empathy with the victors’, the kind of empathy with the grasshopper that Rousseau warned against. This may be unconscious empathy, perhaps, but in neither instance is it unreasoned.53 To be sure, it is to guard against such forgetting that Levi, for example, writes in the first place. And Sebald doesn’t really expect humans to continue ‘to drink coffee in the normal way on Hamburg balconies at the end of July 1943’ – an image that reminds him of ‘the French cartoonist, Grandville’s animals, in human dress and armed with cutlery, consuming a fellow creature’. On the other hand, Sebald adds, ‘keeping up everyday routines regardless of disaster . . . is a tried and trusted method of preserving what is thought of as healthy, human reason’.54 Whereas for Sebald and Levi empathy is claimed first to be part of human nature, it also threatens the very reason that is said to be specifically human – reason that we must hold onto through habit in order not to go mad. But can we distinguish this routinised reason from that rationalisation that produces what is most mechanical in our behaviour? Or is healthy reason the clothing we wear to cover over and protect ourselves from our empathy, if not to distinguish ourselves from the empathic animals we prefer to eat rather than eat with? ‘Well, we all have to eat’ (‘Il faut bien manger’), as Derrida provocatively put it; but in order to ‘eat well’ (if we read this statement rather as an ethical injunction), we may not actively deny the suffering of other animals, but rather lose the capacity to see it.55

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The Ends of Empathy and the Beginnings of Translation Is withholding of empathy truly a choice, as De Waal claims? Perhaps it may be better to think of empathy as a sensibility that can be activated, but which is also shaped by cultural and cognitive norms. These norms, as Judith Butler writes, ‘require and intensify our impressionability’.56 We are affected continuously by those creatures with whom we are in relation, but also by those categories such as ‘blue eyes and manicured hands’ or ‘the animal, what a word’57 through which those affections are shaped. This is not to deny the fact of a ‘calculated forgetting’ of the cruelty against animals that takes place in industrialised farming and meat production. ‘Men do all they can,’ writes Derrida, ‘in order to dissimulate this cruelty or to hide it from themselves; in order to organize on a global scale the forgetting or misunderstanding of this violence.’58 Descartes also understood the importance of such denial, which absolves us ‘of the suspicion of crime when [we] eat or kill animals’.59 Factory farming has facilitated such absolution, making it easier to ignore what we cannot see, or to see only the ‘mass terms’ that, as Carol Adams also explains with respect to this war, disguise or dissimulate an animal’s ‘recognizable individuality’.60 Calculation and economic gain, however, are not immune to empathy and can also figure into its expression. We see this in the growing business of humane meat and free-range chickens. Self-image can also profit from expressions of empathy, with little effect on the recipient. ‘Certainly, empathy transforms the subject (the one who feels empathy),’ Vinciane Despret writes, ‘but this transformation is a very local one as long as it does not really give his object the chance to be activated as subject, the subject feeling empathy remaining the only subject of the whole thing.’61 In the middle of the nineteenth century, during the rise of the animal protection movement, the poet Charles Baudelaire cast an ironic glance at such expressions of pity that are calculated ‘to do a good deed while at the same time making a good deal’, if not ‘to win paradise economically’.62 This is the how the narrator of his poem ‘Counterfeit’ describes the action of giving a very large but counterfeit coin to a beggar – a beggar who, significantly, is compared to a beaten dog. For the man of feeling who is able to read them, I know nothing more distressing than the mute eloquence of a pauper’s pleading eyes, so full of humility and reproach. There is in them something of the profound and complex emotion to be seen in the tear-filled eyes of a dog being beaten.63 Much in this poem will revolve around the eyes and face of the other, reading the vulnerability they express, if not the reproach and attending to (or not) our responsibility for that vulnerability. The poem ponders how to respond to the look of another, indeed of an Other who appears inscrutable. This is Derrida’s question: ‘An animal looks at me, what should I think of this sentence?’64 The French for ‘looks at’, ‘me regarde’ can mean both ‘looks at me’ and ‘is my concern’ – the animal affects me. Not all are able to read the eyes of the animal; not all are men of feeling who have been affected by those eyes. Indeed, the possibilities for misreading are evident in the anthropomorphic description of the eyes as ‘tear-filled’. Dogs do not produce tears.65 But if the dog is read through the human, empathy or pity for the beggar exists by

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virtue of this felt reading of the dog. We don’t know if the narrator participated in the dog’s beating or only witnessed it, but the dog’s eyes concern him and bring him to act in very different ways from his friend. Curiously, it is not for lack of empathy that the narrator criticises his friend, who admits that ‘there is no sweeter pleasure than to surprise a man by giving him more than he expects’.66 Rather it is for not thinking through the outcomes of his gesture, and thus for the ‘ineptitude of his calculation’.67 Pity here is a calculation, a currency spent in the hope of a spiritual return. And for the narrator, such calculation is opposed to reflection or a deeper thinking that ‘activates’ the other as subject, and in so doing takes responsibility for his or her vulnerability. This is what we see in the narrator who can’t stop thinking, whose ‘fancy’, as he calls it, ‘lends wings to his friend’s imagination . . . drawing all possible deductions from all possible hypotheses’ as to what this coin might do and whether it could either ‘multiply into good money’ or land the beggar in jail.68 It is one thing to deliberately abuse those in need and to refuse pity, as many in Baudelaire’s prose poems will delight in doing. But according to the narrator, it is ‘an unforgivable vice to do harm from stupidity’, from ‘bêtise’.69 Bêtise, as Derrida writes in his reading of the poem, describes an especially human stupidity, one that is ‘proper to a rational animal that does not want to use its reason’.70 Reason and empathy here are both matters of desire and will. One must want, consciously or not, to engage them. Empathy has a persistent if ambiguous presence in Baudelaire’s prose poems, which ask whether art and empathy are compatible, whether the search for beauty or for intense experience (and, we might add here, knowledge) does not depend on beggars and dogs and mules, who become the very victims of that experience, and who suffer for the artist’s pleasure. In some instances, the kicked and ‘pitiful dogs’ are the ones that the poet looks upon ‘with a brotherly eye’.71 Elsewhere, empathy, like reason, is that capacity, that gift of nature that the artist wishes not to make use of in order not to see those tear-filled eyes, not to be ‘hostage’ to the face, as Emmanuel Levinas would say.72 For the poet, a deliberate refusal is at least an honest cruelty with possible aesthetic merit. But if empathy and reason are less our ‘nature’ than capacities we accede to, they are also capacities whose activation or expression depends upon prior impressions that continue to shape our behaviour. ‘It is only by being acted on that any of us come to act at all,’ Butler reminds us.73 It is this fact that can both enhance and limit our ability to read the other – to see tears where we should see reproach. And even when we act with the fullness of our imaginative capacities, we may misread the ‘mute eloquence’ of another animal’s eyes and misjudge how to turn our empathy into a just way of living with the other who has distinctive needs and desires. Animals are often better readers than we are. Dogs owe their integration into our homes and our lives in part to their ability to respond, not only to commands, but also to moods and the silent expressions of our bodies. Anyone who rides a horse, or is familiar with the story of Clever Hans – the horse who was touted as capable of counting, only to fall into infamy when it was revealed he had only learned to read his trainer’s imperceptible signals – knows that horses know us in ways that we are often blind to, or prefer to deny.74 Such felt readings, moreover, are also translations, whether from one sense to another, or from words to touch or smell and back again. Derrida too stresses towards the end of The Beast and the Sovereign that ‘everything we

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have spoken about came down to problems of translation . . . of translation between languages’.75 To be sure, some of the most difficult translations are those demanded by human-animal relations. They give us reason to marvel at the uniqueness of human forms of expression, even as they must be checked by all that we don’t know about non-human languages – whether of dogs or rats or ants. For Derrida, translation, like empathy, is both necessary and impossible: necessary because we are always bound to an other – giant, man, beast, dog – who precedes us and awakens us to our senses. It is impossible because of what, in the other and ourselves, remains opaque to translation, and in excess of what we willingly or unwillingly perceive. It is through attention to the necessity and impossibility of translation that empathy can become an ethical force. Any ethical obligation, Butler has argued, demands translation, ‘otherwise we are ethically bound only to those who already speak as we do, in the language we already know’.76 ‘Unwilled proximity and unchosen cohabitation’, she writes with particular reference to the Israeli-Palestinian situation, ‘are preconditions of our political existence’ and form the bases of our obligations to others.77 Risking a different ‘dreaded comparison’, I suggest the aptness of these terms to describe the situation of domestic animals in particular, if not all animals of the Anthropocene who live in ‘unchosen cohabitation’ with humans.78 It underscores what some see as the injustice behind all domestication – the fact that our freedoms are so unevenly distributed, that some have freedoms that others don’t. Citing Levinas, who also figures largely in Butler’s book, Vicki Hearne writes that ‘freedom can never be justified, but it can be rendered just’.79 Translation, in the form of reading and thinking the mute eloquence of those animals with whom we cohabit, is our impossible obligation; a necessary step towards rendering our freedom, and our empathy, just.

Notes 1. Jeremy Rifkin, The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis (New York: Penguin, 2009); Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (New York: Viking Press, 2011); Elaine Scarry, ‘Poetry, Injury and the Ethics of Reading’, in Peter Brooks and Hilary Jewett (eds), The Humanities and Public Life (New York: Fordham University Press, 2014). 2. Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am, ed. Marie-Louise Mallet, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 1991), p. 29. 3. Philosophers Peter Singer and Tom Regan base their arguments for animal welfare or rights on the basis of their being fundamentally like us, whether because they have cognitive capacities like (and sometimes better than) ours or suffer as we do. See Chapter 1 of Kelly Oliver, Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009). Cary Wolfe strongly argues that the issue should be neither one of likeness, nor liking. See Chapter 1 in his Animal Rites: American Culture, The Discourse of Species and, Posthumanist Theory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003). 4. Martin Heidegger, What Is Called Thinking, trans. J. Glenn Gray (New York: Harper Perennial, 1976). 5. Recent studies give evidence for empathy in rats as well. 6. Kari Weil, Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012). 7. Frans De Waal, The Bonobo and the Atheist (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2013), p. 132. 8. Ibid.

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9. Ibid. pp. 48–9. 10. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Discourse on The Origin of Inequality, trans. Donald Cress (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1992), p. 14. 11. Ibid. p. 36. 12. Ibid. p. 37. 13. See my Thinking Animals, p. 64 14. This is comparable to recent accounts of biosemiotics that reframe meaning away from conscious, intentional states. See Wendy Wheeler’s chapter on ‘Meaning’ in this volume. 15. Ruth Leys, ‘Facts and Moods: Reply to My Critics’, Critical Inquiry 38:4 (2012), p. 882. 16. Ruth Leys, ‘“Both of Us Disgusted with My Insula”: Mirror Neuron Theory and Emotional Empathy’, Nonsite.org. # 5, 18 March 2012. On the mechanical dogs, see for instance, ‘Can Robotic Dogs Be Senior Citizens’ New Best Friends?’ Purdue News, 4 December 2002. 17. Ruth Leys, ‘The Turn to Affect: A Critique’, Critical Inquiry 37:3 (2011), p. 470. 18. Frans De Waal, The Age of Empathy (New York: Harmony Books, 2009), pp. 25–36. 19. Ibid. p. 213. 20. Rousseau, Emile, trans. Barbara Foxley (New York: Everyman’s Library), Book IV, p. 183. 21. Ibid. p. 186. 22. Ibid. 23. Ibid. p. 184. 24. Rousseau, ‘Essay on the Origin of Languages’, in Victor Gourevitch (ed.), The Discourses and Other Early Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 253–4. 25. Ibid. p. 184. Interestingly La Fontaine’s insects do not suffer from the ‘double otherness’ associated with insects in recent work, a result, perhaps, of their usual appearance as undifferentiated swarms, rather than as individuated creatures. On the ambivalent pedagogical effects of insect examples in ethical philosophy, see Undine Sellbach and Stephen Loo, ‘Insect Affects: the Big and the Small of the Entomological Imagination in Childhood’, Angelaki 20.3 (2015), pp. 79–88. 26. Wolfe, Animal Rites, p. 7, and cited in Susan Fraiman, ‘Pussy Panic Versus Liking Animals: Tracking Gender in Animal Studies’, Critical Inquiry 39 (2012), p. 102. 27. Lori Gruen and Kari Weil, ‘Animal Others: Editors’ Introduction’, Hypatia 27:3 (2012), p. 479. 28. Lori Gruen, ‘Navigating Difference (Again): Animal Ethics and Entangled Empathy’, in Gregory R. Smulewicz-Zucker (ed.), Strangers to Nature: Animal Lives and Human Ethics (New York: Lexington Books), p. 228. See also Lori Gruen, Entangled Empathy: An Alternative Ethic for Our Relationships with Animals (New York: Lantern Books, 2015). 29. Gruen, ‘Navigating Difference’, p. 229. 30. Cited in Harriet Rubin, ‘Elaine Scarry: Using Art to Encourage Empathy’, NBC News, 29 February 2008, (accessed 28 August 2017). 31. Derrida, Animal, p. 26. 32. Ibid. p. 29. 33. Fraiman, ‘Pussy Panic’, p. 2. 34. Derrida, Animal, p. 26. 35. Ibid. 36. See for instance René Descartes, ‘Animals Are Machines’, in Tom Regan and Peter Singer (eds), Animal Rights and Human Obligations (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1976). 37. Nadine Gordimer, ‘The Soft Voice of the Serpent’, in The Soft Voice of the Serpent and Other Stories (New York: Viking, 1952), p. 4. 38. Ibid. p. 5.

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39. Ibid. p. 12. 40. Thomas Mann, ‘Tobias Mindernickel’, in Death in Venice and Other Stories, trans. Jefferson S. Chase (New York: Penguin, 1999). See my longer reading of this story in Thinking Animals, pp. 63–9. 41. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, trans. Walter Kauffman (New York: Vintage, 1968), p. 199. On Hannah Arendt’s ‘rejection’ of Rousseau’s ‘politics of pity’, see Michael Aharony, Hannah Arendt and the Limits of Total Domination (New York: Routledge, 2015), p. 212. 42. Mann, Tobias, p. 10. 43. Théodor Adorno, ‘Freudian Theory and Fascist Propaganda’, in The Essential Frankfurt School Reader (New York: Continuum, 1982), pp. 118–37. Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz, trans. Stuart Woolf (New York: Touchstone, 1996). On the anthropological machine, see Giorgio Agamben, The Open: Man and Animal, trans. Kevin Attell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), p. 37. 44. Levi, Survival, pp. 41, 51. 45. Ibid. p. 106. 46. W. G. Sebald, ‘Air War and Literature’, in On the Natural History of Destruction, trans. Anthea Bell (New York: Modern Library Paperback Editions, 2003), p. 42. Here Sebald contributes to the ambivalent pedagogical examples mentioned in note 22. 47. On the contrasting ‘eusociality’ of ants, see Edward O. Wilson, The Social Conquest of the Earth (New York: Barnes and Noble, 2012). 48. Sebald, ‘Air War’, pp. 34–5. 49. Ibid. p. 34. 50. Ibid. p. 41. 51. Ibid. 52. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Use and Abuse of History, trans. Adrian Collins (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1957), p. 10. 53. Walter Benjamin, ‘Theses on Philosophy of History’, in Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968), p. 256. 54. Sebald, ‘Air War’, p. 42. 55. Jacques Derrida, ‘“Eating Well” or the Calculation of the Subject’, trans. Peter Connor and Avital Ronell, in Elisabeth Weber (ed.), Points . . . Interviews 1974–1994 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), pp. 255–87. 56. Judith Butler, Senses of the Subject (New York: Fordham University Press, 2015), p. 5. 57. Derrida, Animal, p. 23. 58. Ibid. p. 26. 59. Descartes, ‘Animals Are Machines’, p. 19. 60. Carol Adams, ‘The War on Compassion’, Antennae 14 (Autumn 2010), p. 7. This is the function of what she calls the ‘absent referent’. 61. Vinciane Despret, ‘The Body We Care For: Figures of Anthropo-zoo-genesis’, Body and Society 10:2/3 (2004), p. 128. 62. Charles Baudelaire, ‘Counterfeit’, in Paris Spleen, trans. Louise Varèse (New York: New Directions, 1970), pp. 58–9. 63. Baudelaire, ‘Counterfeit’, p. 58. 64. Derrida, Animal, p. 6. 65. I thank Alexandra Horowitz for noting this. There is some evidence that elephants shed tears, but they are the only other animals besides humans found to do so. 66. Baudelaire, ‘Counterfeit’, p. 59. 67. Baudelaire, p. 59. 68. Ibid. 69. Ibid.

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70. Jacques Derrida, Given Time: I. Counterfeit Money, trans. Peggy Kamuf (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), p. 167. In his later analysis of bêtise in Deleuze, Derrida finds it to be a particularly human trait (animals cannot be bête), tied to human sovereignty, free will, as well as cruelty. See Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign, vol. 1, trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2009), pp. 136–63 and my discussion of ‘ethical bêtises’ in Thinking Animals, esp. pp. 131–4. 71. Charles Baudelaire, ‘The Faithful Dog’, in Paris Spleen, p. 104. 72. Levinas describes the ethical as a state of being hostage to the face of the other wherein we experience the other’s existential vulnerability. Emmanuel Levinas, Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence, trans. Alphonso Lingis (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1998), p. 114. Whether animals have such a face and whether we must also be responsible to the animal is a point on which he wavers, however. See Emmanuel Levinas, ‘The Name of a Dog, or Natural Rights’, in Peter Atterton and Matthew Calarco (eds), Animal Philosophy (London and New York: Continuum, 2004), pp. 47–50. 73. Butler, Senses, p. 8. 74. For a lovely reading of Hans, see Despret, ‘The Body We Care For’. 75. Derrida, Beast I, p. 336. 76. Judith Butler, Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), p. 17. 77. Ibid. p. 24. 78. Marjorie Spiegel, The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery (Stamford, CT: Mirror Books: 1997). 79. Vicki Hearne, ‘Job’s Animals’, in Animal Happiness: A Moving Exploration of Animals and their Emotions (New York: Skyhorse, 1994), p. 237.

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10 Ethics Nicole Anderson

Introduction

O

n the last page of The Animal That Therefore I Am, Derrida invokes us to radically reinterpret ‘what is living . . . but not in terms of the “essence of the living,” of the “essence of the animal”’; and not by ‘giving to the animal what the human deprives it of’, that is, by ‘simply giving speech back to the animal’.1 This call to ‘reinterpret’, to think differently, is not an easy task, especially given the West’s metaphysical and philosophical dominant belief that animals lack language and therefore are unable to apprehend ‘something as something’, that is, unable to apprehend something ‘as such’.2 In other words, this relation between the logos and the ‘as such’ is what gives rise to, or is the condition of, the possibility that the human will apprehend something that appears to it, as something; as something that has an essence (the ‘as such’) and is what it is in and of itself regardless of its potential utility.3 The ability to apprehend, then, is the ‘essence’ of the Human. It is what constitutes the ‘I Am’: the self-reflecting (auto-affecting) autonomous human. This is why Derrida asks us not to simply reinterpret the ‘essence’ of, or give speech (language and logos) back to, the animal. To do this would contribute to fetishising the animal by perpetuating another form of the unethical anthropocentrism inherent in our Western metaphysical and philosophical system that keeps in place the sharp dividing line between the ‘Animal’ and the ‘Human’.4 The importance of Derrida’s work for this chapter on ‘Ethics’ is his revelation that ethics, too, is founded on the logos, and thus also continues to support the sharp human-animal divide. ‘Ethics’ may not be as ethical, moral or justice-orientated as we think, given that this divide institutes a discourse of speciesism that justifies not only sacrificing animals for human benefit, but, as Cary Wolfe argues, provides a discourse that relegates some humans (based on their ‘gender, or race, or class, or sexual difference’) to the category of ‘animal’ (in the derogatory sense).5 The first aim of this chapter, then, will be to provide an exposition on Derrida’s deconstruction of two of the five philosophers in his book (Descartes and Kant). This will serve to introduce and frame, and provide a further exposition on, the ways in which Western ethics (including animal ethics and rights discourse) works to sustain a metaphysical-anthropocentric system. The second aim is to take up Derrida’s invocation to think differently about our moral and ethical relations with animals. The remainder of this introductory section will disclose how exactly these two aims will operate throughout this chapter. In his book Derrida demonstrates in and through his deconstruction of five key influential philosophers in our metaphysical history (Descartes, Kant, Levinas, Lacan and Heidegger) how hard it is to break free of this metaphysical-ethical humanistic legacy. In fact, in a deconstructive move Derrida reveals Levinas, Lacan and

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Heidegger’s unsuccessful attempts to move beyond the metaphysical humanistic tradition of Descartes and Kant when they too argue that the ‘Animal’ does not have the ‘as such’: it does not have this particular apprehending relation. Given this difficulty, Derrida’s invocation to his readers is to use deconstructive strategies to undermine the construction of ‘essence’ or the ‘as such’ in order to challenge this Western metaphysical inheritance. While Derrida does not tell us how to apply these strategies (after all, deconstruction is not an application or method),6 he does say that they would consist in ‘pluralizing and varying the “as such”’, and suggests we question whether ‘man, the human itself, has the “as such”’ and might be ‘similarly “deprived”’.7 In other words, Derrida asks us to think pluralistically and to continually multiply the differences between non-human and human animals.8 However, to understand the profound implications and consequences of Derrida’s invocation means explaining the anthropocentric perpetuations and operations of the ‘as such’ and the ‘I Am’ that have taken place throughout the Western metaphysicalphilosophical tradition, and in which the Western self is situated. In its first aim, this chapter reveals the constitution of ‘ethics’ in and through the ‘I Am’. In other words, the ‘I Am’ or ‘as such’ can be defined as an anthropocentric construction characterised by what Derrida calls ipseity: self-reflection, self-determination, rationality and reason, autonomy, and a foundational and homogeneous ‘essence’ to the self that does not change and thus has one consistent meaning across time or place (autobiography). This description of the ‘I Am’ (or ‘self’) is very closely aligned to the common and foundational definition of ethics as those universal principles for regulating behaviour. As I have argued in Derrida: Ethics Under Erasure, what this definition makes absolutely clear is that ethics is prescriptive so that the ways in which we behave towards others is constructed and predetermined along binary and hierarchised oppositions, such as right/wrong and good/bad decisions and choices.9 And as we will see in Derrida’s deconstruction of Kant, the crucial link between ethics and the ‘I Am’ is that only those selves or subjects that are already characterised by ipseity can act ethically. Therefore ethics is a metaphysical construct if by metaphysics we mean the attempt to determine absolute or foundational structures or principles through ‘thought’ and reason alone.10 Consequently, I argue that metaphysics, the ‘I Am’ and ethics are imbricated to the point where our ethical relations with other animals are (in)formed in and through our anthropocentrism. As I also argue later in the chapter, while ‘animal rights discourse’ contributes to the awareness of animal suffering and cruelty at the hands of humans, and therefore enables the flourishing of animal protection agencies, it is nonetheless a form of metaphysical ethics that simply reinforces the ‘as such’, and the ‘I Am’, that constitutes anthropocentrism.11 If ethics is metaphysical for all the reasons just outlined, then what happens to those prescriptive ethical rules and principles when they, and when ‘I’, are challenged by personal encounters with non-human animals? To answer this question, this chapter will attempt to provide more than an exposition: while important, a simple exposition is not an adequate response to Derrida’s invocation to think differently or to reinterpret radically our relations with animals and what this means for our ethical relations with or to ourselves as humans. Taking seriously Derrida’s invocation, then, in its second aim this chapter also attempts a deconstructive strategy in and through a double writing.12 That is, this chapter provides an exposition of various animal ethics scholars as well as Derrida’s reading of how the animal continues to be ethically, metaphysically and philosophically defined and interpreted, but it also simultaneously implements an

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auto-ethnographic approach that reveals an experience of a singular animal encounter (with an Australian possum called Edna).13 The singularity of this encounter challenges the universalisation of our normative metaphysical ethics. The purpose of this auto-ethnographic approach, interspersed throughout the exposition, is deliberately not straightforward, but is deconstructive and performative: the auto-ethnography is placed inside ‘boxes’ in an attempt to visually, graphically and conceptually demonstrate the philosophically constructed binary between humans and non-human animals, and between Reason and emotion or personal experience. Yet, at the same time, these boxes are meant to jar against, in order to indicate, the philosophical deductive-inductive teleological flow of ideas so as to interrupt the anthropocentric and metaphysical ethical positions on animals (and the notion of the ‘essence of man’ or the ‘as such’) that are often inadvertently repeated in and through philosophical writing. However, within these boxes along with auto-ethnography there are also philosophical reflections so that there is a bleeding between the two writings and genres. This is meant to indicate that animals cannot be completely contained, categorised and captured within a binary opposition. In the concluding section, the auto-ethnography and philosophical reflection bleeds out of the boxes entirely so that there are no boxes at all. The aim here is not to blur the boundaries so that the differences between animal and human are, once again, encompassed and homogenised. Rather the attempt is to visually and graphically demonstrate a mixing of human and animal, of reason/rationality and personal reflection that enables a reinterpretation of what it means to be ‘ethical’ in our relations to animals, and thereby what it means to ethically ‘be with’ animals.

Following Our Tales/Tails I first met Edna in 2014. She is now the size of a cat, and has had a baby. Back then she was a baby on the back of her mother who used to come occasionally for some fruit, which I would leave by my open door. I encountered Edna’s mother five years ago sitting on the low wall that separates my apartment’s terraced veranda from the densely knotted trees that hang over the wall, and which are situated in a very small private park. My apartment is in Sydney’s CBD. There is always the background hum of traffic. One day, after a long absence, the possum turned up with Edna, who would lick her mum’s mouth for the taste of the sweet fruit. Then mum disappeared, leaving Edna (still kitten size) in the area, and from that day on Edna would come to me for fruit. Perhaps because of her early introduction to me as a human, she is braver than her mum. Edna would regularly take food from my hand, till eventually, maybe a year later, she would sit on the door frame or come inside as I lay on

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In his detailed readings of Descartes, Kant, Levinas, Lacan and Heidegger, Derrida reveals the various ways in which they all fall into an ‘anthropocentric reinstitution of the superiority of the human order over the animal order’.14 In doing so, they all either deliberately or inadvertently perpetuate a hierarchical opposition, limit or border between ‘Man’ and ‘Animal’ (with a capital ‘A’), precisely because ‘Man’ is valued and privileged as superiorly distinct and categorically ‘different’ from the non-human animal. This limit or border is not fixed and philosophers in general, Derrida reminds us, are not always in agreement on where the limit is and how it is to be defined and preserved. Yet despite these disagreements, what philosophers have in common is an assumption or judgement that the limit is

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ethics ‘single and indivisible’, so that on one side of that limit there is an immense group, a single and fundamentally homogeneous set that one has the right, the theoretical or philosophical right, to distinguish and mark as opposite, namely, the set of the Animal in general, the Animal spoken of in the general singular. It applies to the whole animal kingdom with the exception of the human.15

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the floor hand-feeding her. Sometime after this I could stroke her fur; she would sit on her haunches and put one of her hands in mine while she ate with the other. Perhaps Edna learnt from her mother, and perhaps all possums are opportunists? But while Edna, just like Derrida’s cat, is like any other possum, our relationship is absolutely singular. Edna, as Derrida puts it on page 9 of The Animal, ‘comes to me as this irreplaceable living being that one day enters my space, into this place where it can encounter me, see me’ (although unlike Derrida’s cat, Edna has never seen me naked). My encounter with Edna, a non-domestic animal, is an encounter with the other that could end at any time. But so far, since 2014, she has come nearly every night. I mourn already the day she will not or cannot come.

Consequently, for Derrida, many philosophers throughout the history of Western metaphysics, specifically the ones discussed in his book, make no allowance for the varying and multiple differences in kinds and degrees within and between humans and non-human animals.16 Rather, the border between Man and Animal has been retained precisely because Western philosophers, generally speaking, refuse to attribute to non-human animals certain characteristics and powers such as ‘speech, reason, experience of death, mourning, culture, institutions, technics, lying, pretence of pretence, covering of tracks, gift, laughter, crying, respect’, a sense of time and finitude, the ability to ‘see’ (not just look at) others, and the ability to respond to the other.17 This refusal, represented in and through this particular metaphysical oppositional construction between Human and Animal, is not just prevalent in philosophical circles. It is also deeply embedded, I would argue, in zoology, biology, behavioural science and so on, even despite the fact that Derrida refers to these fields, in some cases, as undermining anthropocentric assumptions (undermining precisely because some of these fields – such as ethology or primatology – provide evidence against our constructed boundaries and assumptions).18 What I would argue Derrida also demonstrates is how all these philosophers in fact sniff, chase or follow each other’s tails by building on or reinstituting, albeit differently, the tales of subjectivity or the ‘I Am’ that Descartes founded. Likewise The Animal That Therefore I Am reveals to its readers that they too, perhaps at times, follow the ‘tails’ (or tail bones) of these philosophers by inadvertently, or perhaps unconsciously, embodying and thus perpetuating the tale that the ‘Human’ is both morally or ethically and biologically distinct from, and thus superior to, the ‘Animal’. As if our morals and ethics have never been informed by our relations with other animals. As I argue elsewhere, in our evolutionary history humans co-evolved with dogs, which was a result of the early dog self-domesticating to humans when they first sought cohabitation.19 I go so far as to propose that perhaps our cohabitation with dogs helped constitute and define our moral values. Losing our tails so we are left only with tail-bones, then, is a result of our evolutionary move to walking on two legs. The tail-bone is symbolic of the autobiographical tale that we as a species tell ourselves, which is that we have completely moved

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beyond our animality. As we will see, it is this tale that contributes to depriving the ‘Animal’ of those characteristics, listed above, with which only the ‘Human’ is supposedly endowed. As Derrida tells us, what is common to these five philosophers, and indeed throughout the history of Western metaphysics, are two prominent characteristics denied the ‘Animal’ (that is, all animals regardless of their differences): first, the ability to ‘think’ and second, the ability to respond. In a nutshell, while the limit or border between Man and Animal is reinterpreted and shifts among Lacan, Levinas and Heidegger, they nevertheless continue to perpetuate a particular notion of the Cartesian or Kantian ‘I Am’, thus reinforcing the humanist and anthropocentric notion of the human subject or self as superior to the ‘Animal’.20 For this reason, in what follows I concentrate on Descartes and Kant – first because their positions on the ‘Animal’ are founded on a notion of what it means to be ethical and moral for a humanist (‘enlightened’) self, and second because Kant’s notion of what it means to be ethical is perpetuated by some prominent scholars of animal ethics and rights discourse. Descartes denies the ‘Animal’ reason, precisely because the ‘Animal’ is not an ‘I Am’; that is, it is not rational and it is deprived of language. Descartes puts it this way: ‘magpies and parrots can utter words like ourselves, and yet they cannot talk like us, that is, with any sign of being aware of what they say’.21 Consequently, animals do not have reason. Critiquing Descartes, Derrida argues that he uses this supposed ‘evidence’ to also argue that they are ‘incapable of responding’.22 And so, in Descartes’s tail-chasing argument, the Animal doesn’t speak because it cannot When Edna was a baby, in the first year of our relationship, she would sometimes accidentally bite my fingers, looking for grapes in my hand. It seems she was unable to distinguish between my hand, which smelled of fruit, and the fruit itself. When she did this, I would jump in pain and jerk my hand away. She would run to the wall. I would coax her, call her, and she responded by slowly making her way back to me and the fruit in my hand. After a few accidental bites and yelps of pain she eventually started to sniff around my hand to locate the fruit rather than bite randomly. Even now, sometimes she might inadvertently put her mouth around my finger, but she is now aware of my body and the texture and shape of my fingers, and quickly withdraws her mouth before biting down. Since those first few accidental bites she has never bitten me. She has responded (whatever that means) to my pain, and she is ever so gentle with me. What does this learning not to bite consist of: memory of my reaction? And does memory require some form of reflection, which in turn enables response? The fruit is always in a small ramekin or bowl on the inside of the door. For a long time, for months, she would come to the open door and sit and wait till I moved off the couch to the door. She would reach out with her nose towards my face, touching my nose with hers. Then she would wait till I picked up the fruit in my hand to give her. Only then she would eat. What was she waiting for? Once she smelled chocolate on my breath and sniffed my mouth. She put her paw on my face and very lightly and gently stroked my cheek. Animal behaviourists might say that she was trying to encourage me to give up what was in my mouth and was simply making a gesture or a request for some chocolate. I don’t know if she was asking for chocolate. But it feels like it is me that cannot respond and answer her request or question, if it is a question. In any case, are these not signs or forms of communication, or ways of indicating her requests, moods and feelings?

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ethics produce signs. Because it can’t produce signs it therefore doesn’t have autonomy, autobiography or reason. And if it doesn’t have reason the Animal therefore is unable to respond to questions, which in turn is part of a self-reflecting consciousness: an ‘I Am’.23 For Descartes humans can do all of this because they can ‘think’; in other words, as Derrida sums up Descartes’s argument, ‘[w]hat I am experiencing . . . is not that I am breathing but that I think that I am breathing’.24 According to Descartes this ability to know or think that I am thinking (our self-consciousness and reason: ‘I think, therefore I am’) is what makes humans superior to, rigorously distinct from, and possessed of power over animals. Without reason, responses or passions, animals are simply automatons (animal-machines that react to stimuli). Derrida’s reading uniquely highlights the ways in which Kant builds on Descartes’s ‘I think, therefore I am’. That is, Kant goes further, arguing that it is only ‘man’ that ‘can possess the representation of an “I”’, or to put it another way, only the human is an ‘“I think” that accompanies every representation’. This means that the ‘I Am’ not only knows that it thinks, but it knows what it means to be an ethical ‘I Am’, precisely because humans have the ‘power to respond, to answer for itself, before others and before the law’.25 Moreover, as Derrida critically points out, like Descartes, Kant makes a distinction between reaction and response, where the former is defined as the ‘law of nature’ (instinct) and the latter is defined as the ‘law of freedom’ (reason).26 The latter is what

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What if Edna’s stomping ground, her territory, is an autobiography of sorts? She is vigilant, at times chasing off other possum intruders. She has marked her territory. Other possums know that this is her ‘place’; a place that in turn marks her. A baby male (perhaps Edna’s brother?), who I named Nibs, used to come often. He would sit on the wall watching Edna eat fruit from my hand. She would chase him away, returning to eat her fill. When she left he would come over to me (perhaps imitating her), and he would very gently, almost in slow motion, take a piece of fruit from my fingers, but then he would run away. Compared to Edna he seemed shy: he was less used to my presence. But he was aware of Edna’s presence, she made herself known; she seemed to have marked or told her possum tale quite clearly. And am I not part of her tale?

If Edna has learnt not to bite my fingers, I too have learnt her moods through touch. Through her touch I can sense and feel her responding to a world that is not mine. I have come to know or associate certain touches with certain responses. Every time she eats she either closes her hand around one of my fingers, or she places it on the open palm of my hand. When her hand with its long nails is wrapped around my finger, along with other indicators I can gauge her moods by how tightly she grips. There is a certain grip: a tightening and at the same time a pushing down on my finger. Whenever this happens I know she is going to burp, and it happens when she gulps her food fast. When there is something happening in ‘possum world’ she sometimes acts jittery, or seems hyper-aware, and if she hears something (I know not what that something is because I am literally deaf to her world) her hand grips so tightly that her nails dig into my skin, she looks outside into the darkness and her ears are like antennae moving in all directions. At these moments in an anthropomorphic gesture I often stroke her and whisper words to comfort her (as if she needs comforting!) and she will sometimes

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constitutes the ‘I Am’, which Kant argues is characterised by ipseity, whereas the ‘Animal’ does not have the ‘power to make reference to the self in deictic or autodeictic terms, the capability at least virtually to turn a finger towards oneself in order to say “this is I”’. This is why Kant argues that the animal cannot be ethical because ‘the animal will lack any “I think”, as well as understanding and reason, response and responsibility’.27 However, as we will see, Derrida deconstructs this opposition between response and reaction; questioning where exactly the division lays, and questioning whether humans don’t also simply react.28 The implication of breaching this fixed dividing line is that ethics ceases to be solely tied to the Cartesian and Kantian ‘I Am’; that is, it ceases to be aligned solely with Reason and thus contained solely to the Human domain. Now, as Kant argues in The Metaphysics of Morals, the ‘law of freedom’ comes about precisely because of man’s ability to respond and to take responsibility (that is, to be ethical), both of which are results of the human capacity to reason (to ‘think’) as autonomous selves.29 Consequently, humans submit themselves to the rule of law (the unconditional categorical imperatives) that they themselves impose and institute, because according to Kant to do otherwise would not be of benefit to oneself or human others. Reason is what enables humans to understand the logic of obeying the rules or following the law (such as ‘telling the truth’, ‘keeping one’s promise’, etc.), and in using reason humans enact free will, that is, humans have autonomy to One day while Edna was with me, Nibs came choose between right and wrong.30 onto the terrace. Edna chased him away but he This use of reason and autonomy deceived her by circling back behind her so she gives the human the capacity for wasn’t aware of him, and then, while she was moral and ethical decision-making looking for him and patrolling her territory, he (that is, moral autobiography and would come over to me for fruit. He would moral auto-destination). Derrida then run away before Edna returned. He did argues that for Kant the human can this on a few occasions. Next to my door is a bonsai (about 40cm ‘think’ and therefore can morally high and 50 wide). It made me laugh when one respond to the other (responsibilday, being wary, Nibs decided to hide behind ity), but the Animal cannot; therethe bonsai. He would look out from behind it fore they are not subject to law or and, if he saw me looking, he would quickly ethics.31 What this implies is that move his head back. For me it was a comical animals do not know the difference game of peek-a-boo because he didn’t seem to between right and wrong; they canknow that he was about the size of the Bonnot know or practice evil, and as a sai and easily seen. An attempt at deception or result they do not have the ability pretence? Or a game? to deceive or pretend.32 As Leonard look at me, loosen her grip and then continue eating. Is she responding to my touch, my whispers? At other times there is no comfort I can give, and she shrugs off my touches, wanting to be left alone to eat. Then there are the times when she is very relaxed. At these times her hand rests gently and loosely on my hand, she is not jittery, she allows me to stroke her and spends time with me. She has at times also sat on my lap eating grapes. She teaches me to interpret and understand her differently. It is through touch and not only through sight and sound (the privileging of phono-logocentrism that characterises the ‘I Am’) that I come to be ‘with’ Edna.

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Lawlor astutely observes, for many metaphysicians animals’ lack of moral knowledge ‘seems then to imply a kind of perfection or plentitude to the animal’.33 Animals are, in other words, innocent because they are ‘prior to good and evil’. What the Animal lacks (ethics, morals, reason, autonomy and so on), means they are perfect. Unlike humans, they have not suffered a ‘fall’ and are therefore without fault or defect, ‘but the perfection that animals possess is that of a machine, the “animal machine”’ or automaton, as Descartes insists.34 In a strange logic Lawlor observes that this perfection is what makes animals both superior to humans, and yet ‘the superiority of animals makes them inferior to us’. Why? Because, as Lawlor explains, in the history of Western metaphysics, and as we see in Kant, it is the fault or defect of humans (the fact that we think we know the difference between good and evil, and are subject to the moral law, or categorical imperative) that ‘allows us to be masters over the animals’.35 It is because humans know and can enact good and evil that humans can master animals who don’t know what it means to be good or evil, or to deceive. On this logic, it follows that the ‘Animal’ is not subject to the law, to ethics or to decision-making (in the Kantian sense). If animals cannot think, deceive (pretend to pretend), feel, respond (hence be ethically responsible); in a word, if they are just automatons, and if as a result they are on the inferior side of a hierarchical binary opposition,36 then as Andrew Benjamin argues, this means that ‘[h]uman being exists without relation to the animal’.37 For Derrida, in retaining this opposition these metaphysical philosophers still perpetuate a hierarchy and thus an ‘all too human’ tale that reinforces a belief that humans are so different that we either have no animality or, if we do, it is inconsequential, thus in turn justifying the assumption that humans are superior. Our supposed superiority leads us to ‘hunt, kill, exterminate, eat, and sacrifice animals, use them, make them work or submit them to experiments that are forbidden to be carried out on humans’.38 On the one hand, the hierarchy and separation (the ‘without relation’) justifies humans treating animals unjustly or unethically without guilt or consequence. This is because if animals can’t ‘think’ then our ethical obligations to animals can be minimal or nonexistent. In other words, we do not have to be responsible towards animals. However, on the other hand, I would argue that the tale that animals are inferior and can therefore be treated badly is an opportunity to continue the anthropocentric tale in a different form: this time by extending ethics and rights to animals. As we will see in the following section, extending rights to animals – while absolutely necessary in order to help save, for example, the rapid extinction of species throughout the world – risks leaving intact what Derrida demonstrates is the one limit or division between ‘Human’ and ‘Animal’. Moreover, this indivisible limit endorses a metaphysical and anthropocentric ethics based on reason and autonomy, allowing an ethical application that ignores the differences or singularities of animals. As we will see in what follows, animal rights and welfare positions tend to perpetuate a metaphysical ethics and this limit between human and animal.

Animal Ethics: Rights vs Welfare Animal ethics can be defined as how humans ought to treat animals. Two of the most popular animal ethics positions include: ‘animal welfare or liberation’ and ‘animal rights’. The most widely-known proponent of the former includes utilitarian philosopher Peter

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Singer, who argues that consideration should be given to ensuring that standards of the well-being of animals are met by not inflicting or allowing suffering, pain, disease, etc. That is, Singer argues that non-human animals have interests and preferences, and feel pleasure and pain, and consequently, they ‘enter the sphere of moral concern. Moreover they enter it with a fundamentally equal moral status.’39 While one of the most widely known proponents of animal rights, Tom Regan, believes that animals possess moral rights and thus have inherent value in the same way as humans and that therefore humans are morally obliged to protect animals.40 However, Singer believes that the fundamental problem with the ‘animal rights’ position is that it fails to see that in arguing that animals have inherent value in the same way as humans, they inadvertently subsume animals into having to meet or comply with human values. Those values in turn are founded on those ‘special human characteristics’ such as ‘rationality, autonomy, self-consciousness, the ability to enter into contracts, or to reciprocate, or anything of this sort’.41 To put it another way, in order for one to exert one’s ‘individual human rights’ one has to be an ‘I Am’ (or self), and in order to be a self one has to be rational. For this reason, Singer disagrees with ‘rights’ for both animals and I felt angry when Edna left Pip with me. Pip humans, pointing out that it is very was at this time still travelling on Edna’s back, hard to draw the line between what and was the size of a small kitten. On this constitutes rational and irrational, let night Edna was sitting on the mat inside the door eating grapes I was feeding her (through alone draw a line that ‘separates those experimentation I have discovered that grapes, animals who are rational and autoncherries and bananas are her favourite). Every omous and those who are not’.42 time Edna had a grape Pip would jump on her Furthermore, being rational and and wrestle it from her hand. After the third autonomous as the basis for rights, or fourth wrestle and after Edna had swiped Singer argues, ‘would leave out those at Pip she just seemed to give in and, while humans who, through infancy or one of her hands gripped my finger and while congenital disability, never have had she looked me in the eyes, held out her other – and in some cases never will have – hand with the grape and let Pip have it. Her these special characteristics’.43 expression seemed fed up. I quickly fed Edna Now, while Regan acknowledges another grape, which she took and then ran outside and disappeared along the wall. What that animals don’t have ipseity, he the . . . ? No! states that nonetheless animals have Pip meanwhile was running around the mat the same rights as humans because trying to eat or, more aptly, suck the grapes. we share a ‘basic similarity’.44 In Noticing Edna was not around, Pip began to other words, Regan’s solution to cry. I was panicking. Where was Edna, why Singer’s critique is ironically to bring had she left Pip with me? What was I to do? I his position closer to that of Singer’s had no possum milk, nothing to help me look by basing animal rights not on cogniafter a baby possum. What was she playing at? tive, but rather ‘noncognitive criteria: Had she abandoned Pip entirely? After what criteria such as sentience (the capacseemed a long time, I picked Pip up and put ity to be able to experience pain and him in the tree in my garden. He immediately climbed down and made his way along the pleasure), emotion, memory, feelings wall. I hardly slept worrying about Pip and and desires’.45 In this way, not only what had become of him, and whether or not I will many more non-human animals qualify, but so too will many more

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ethics humans who do not qualify under the cognitive criteria.46 Yet, still, Regan believes that because animals have these similar attributes and needs, humans are morally obliged to protect animals, and we protect them by the conferral of rights.47 Paradoxically then, on the one hand, animals do not have the same ‘rights’ as humans because in order to have them they have to have Reason and to be able to act rationally, something that most animal ethics proponents (perpetuating the metaphysical-philosophical legacy outlined in the previous section) would claim animals cannot do. On the other hand, animals do have the same rights as humans because they share a ‘basic similarity’.48 The result of this paradox is that in conferring rights or morals to animals, what is perpetuated is human superiority. In this way, animals are in our debt. However, as Derrida also points out when discussing the ‘Universal Declaration of Animal Rights’ (which was submitted to UNESCO in 1989 by the International League of Animal Rights and made public by UNESCO in 1990),49 even if we can confer rights on animals, unlike human rights, these animal rights are not generally or universally enforced by law ‘and therefore [do] not possess the authentic status of a right, which in principle must always imply a means of constraint’.50 And they are not enforced by law precisely because in some respects they run counter to human rights. So while the Declaration has been made public, it has not been written into law. The implication of the unenforceable Declaration is that animals continue to suffer, and species continue to disappear.

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had done the right thing. The next night Edna was back with Pip. A few weeks later the same thing happened. Edna left Pip with me. Again Pip started to cry. I was sitting on the floor with my forearm on the ground by my leg. Pip snuggled and hid in between my waist and the crook of my elbow, which was dark and warm. I was more prepared this time with a hand-made possum pouch, but I didn’t need it. Edna returned 30 minutes later. Pip was still hiding his face in my elbow, and Edna walked in and put her hand on Pip’s back. He turned around and squeaked (with relief? Joy?). Edna started walking out the door with Pip close in tow. Was I the babysitter?

Some animal conservationists might argue that in feeding Edna I am interfering with nature. But am I not nature too? This conservationist discourse is a reinforcement of the natureculture, animal-human division, where we associate non-human animals with nature and humans with culture: another anthropocentric position. What is the ‘ethics’ around this treatment of animals as those beings we need to leave alone because they are part of nature? Edna is a possum that lives in a city. That city has encroached onto her habitat. Possums adapt to cities by living in people’s roofs, eating humans’ leftover food, rummaging in bins. Is that ‘nature/natural’? How do we define nature and culture in this instance (in any instance)? Isn’t the adaption to cities in fact cultural? How do we live together? Edna and I have found a way. But it is a way that perhaps challenges conservation and welfare ethics. Rather, I am responsible for the radically other (but not by conferring rights to Edna). I cannot decide to stop feeding Edna simply because I might not feel like it, or because things have changed or because I am ethically obligated by my anthropocentric metaphysical ethics, or even because she relies on my food. I see her eating native frangipani blossoms and insects. She once brought me a half-eaten lizard which she dropped on the floor next to the fruit, and

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It may seem that the ‘animal welfare’ position is a fairer way of protecting and respecting animals, but as Kelly Oliver summarises, what both welfare and rights positions have in common is that they are ‘based on analogies with human rights and human welfare’; that is, they base their arguments on ‘similarities between animals and humans’. It’s just that what they consider to be the ‘similarities’ slightly differ from each other.51 Therefore, one of the main problems is that these positions preclude paying attention to all the differences between humans and animals, and between individual animals as well as between species. In not doing so, what occurs is a reduction of animals to our standards, to our notions of personhood, ethics, morality, etc. It simply reaffirms the anthropocentrism and assumed human superiority that is constituted in and through both the notion of the ‘I Am’, and the single and simple division between ‘Human’ and ‘Animal’. Both of which, Derrida tells us, command ‘a form of mastery over the animal’.52 This mastery is a violent domination, not only because of the wrongs we do to animals in the belief that it is our ‘right’ to control and dominate, but also ‘through the forms of protest [such as animal rights, vegetarianism, the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights charter] that at bottom share the axioms and founding concepts in whose name the violence is exercised’.53 That is, humans continue to violate animals by refusing to respect their otherness. I would argue that this superiority, continually confirmed in and through the humananimal opposition, serves to detach or separate humans from non-human animals, and in turn works to found an ethical relation between human and animal that is onedirectional: only humans can be ethical, not animals. It is one-directional because again, as we have seen, if the animal cannot respond, then it cannot be ethical, and if it isn’t ethical or ‘responsible’, then that means that the human does not have to respond to an animal (and therefore does not have to account for an animal reflecting back our own unethical/immoral behaviours). Instead humans simply have to confer ethics and rights on the animal so that what remains, contradictorily, is both a hierarchised relationship between man and animal, and at the same time, an anthropomorphic ‘subsuming’ of ‘the differences between human and non-human animals’.54 In other words, because of the widely held metaphysical belief that the Animal is deprived of speech and reason, then the only way in which the Animal can have ‘rights’ is if those with the ability to reason and speak (that is, humans) give to or confer those rights on the Animal. This conferral discursively and structurally supports the notion that the Animal does not have the ability to apprehend (‘as such’) because the Animal does not have language or logos, and therefore cannot be ethical. But what this animal rights conferral also re-establishes is human superiority by once again privileging reason and ipseity. In this sense, as Derrida argues, it is through this conferral that animal rights advocates, in attempting to save animals from cruelty and physical violence, paradoxically continue a philosophical and metaphysical violence against animals. As Derrida puts it: then proceeded to eat the fruit. (Yeah . . . I would too!) No, Edna has a right to be fed by me not because she can’t get it elsewhere, but because we are friends in a relationship of mutual trust. She can decide if she wants to continue our relationship or not. There seems to be something other. In allowing me to sometimes stroke her (she let me stroke her pouch when Pip was just a writhing lump inside) we have developed a two-way relationship. In allowing me to touch, which I do to convey my affection, she gives me back, or communicates, her affection . . .

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One cannot expect ‘animals’ to be able to enter into an expressly juridical contract in which they would have duties, in an exchange of recognised rights. It is within this philosophico-juridical space that the modern violence against animals is practised, a violence that is at once contemporary with and indissociable from the discourse of human rights.55 Furthermore, as Cary Wolfe argues, the perpetuation of this violence is ironic because the philosophical frame used ‘remains essentially humanistic in its most important philosophers (utilitarianism in Peter Singer, neo-Kantian in Tom Regan), thus effacing the very difference of the animal other that it sought to respect’.56 Given all of this, Derrida asks: ‘Must we pose the question of our relations with the animot in terms of “right”?’57 In a similar vein I would ask: must we define our relations with animals in terms of ethics? Is this phrase, ‘animal ethics’, at all possible when ethics is part of a metaphysical system? And if we abandon the words ‘ethics’ and ‘rights’ altogether, then what do our relations with animals look like? Are ethics and animal rights discourse the only way humans can have relationships with nonhuman animals? Or, as Derrida asks: What would being-with-the-animal mean? What is the company of the animal? Is it something that occurs, secondarily, to a human being . . . that would seek to think itself before and without the animal? Or is being-with-the-animal rather an essential structure [of being human]?58 While Benjamin does not specifically refer to these questions, his discussion of what it means to ‘be with’ in the context of his wider discussion of Jews and animals is instructive, and offers an interesting perspective for thinking about Derrida’s latter question in particular. For Benjamin, ‘with’ or the ‘with relation’ is another form of opposition, again one that homogenises the animal and reduces all its differences to the same. This is because the ‘“with” is, of course, the marker of a generalised strategy of inclusion’ (or a reduction to the same): the ‘with is therefore the move in which absence [without] is taken to have been overcome by presence. In this context presence identifies a form of shared and enforced inclusion’.59 However, Benjamin warns that this inclusion (the ‘with’) does not counteract the exclusion (without); rather, what is reinforced is yet

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. . . then again, perhaps she is humouring me? I cannot stop feeding her because I would be abandoning some kind of friendship. I have become ‘hostage’ to her. Some nights she doesn’t come. She chooses when to come and how long to stay, and she has taught me to respect her right to be free, to come and go as she pleases. I do not possess her, she is not mine, I do not cage her or force her to stay in any way. I am not conferring a right so much as respecting her freedom to be a possum, to be other than what I am. I have to let her be, possum. This she demands of me (in the Levinasian sense). Her trust in me holds me hostage, it holds me to account, and it teaches me to respect an otherness that I don’t understand (hence my anthropomorphising). She teaches me responsibility and how to be ethical in the face of an absolute singularity; a singular context, when there are no rules, no prescriptions. I have to listen and watch her vigilantly so I don’t miss her subtle communications with me. Perhaps this respect for her can’t be defined as responsibility or ethics. Perhaps both her demand of me and my response to this demand is simply love.

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another binary opposition. In other words, to be with animals means we are ‘alongside’, and apply ethical rules and animal behaviourist theory on how to be around animals, or we are ‘with’ in the sense that we treat animals with respect. This is where, I would argue, that rights discourse (while necessary) mistakes extending to animals this so-called ‘inclusion’ or ‘with-ness’ as an ethical relation. But ‘to be in relation with’ suggests a two-way relationship, while conferring rights on animals is rather a one-directional ethical gesture on the part of humans. A number of questions pose themselves here: what does this ethical gesture do, and how does it reinforce the ‘as such’, the ‘I Am’ that in fact constitutes anthropocentrism? And what if the human world is narrowed60 precisely by not only depriving the animal of certain characteristics, but also by privileging those that are given to the human (such as logos, reason, response, ethics, etc.), so that what results is an ‘autoimmunity’: or a self-destructive blindness to what non-human animals and their multiple differences can offer? And finally, if ‘being-with’ is an essential structure, as Derrida phrases it, then with what or how is this structure composed? Is ‘being-with’ in fact always already an inevitable and oppositional structure (with/without), as Benjamin suggests? Or can ‘being-with’ operate ‘differently’? While Derrida doesn’t give an overt answer to the question he poses – ‘is being-with-the-animal . . . an essential structure [of being human]?’61 – he implicitly points to, if not an answer, a way of thinking about this question that may not fall into another dichotomy or opposition. For example, he claims that there are multiple animal differences and realms and suggests we take account of these differences in our relations to animals. But what would taking account of multiple differences entail? Donna Haraway suggests that we take account by being ‘attuned’ to those differences in animals more generally,62 but also in our relations with individual or specific animals (such as our cats or dogs). I also want to propose that in the process of taking account of these differences the ‘I Am’ and the ‘as such’ fragments, at least momentarily, and that any ethics is reformulated and renegotiated as a result. In summary, and generally speaking, Western philosophy and society While Edna looks at me a lot, particularly not only apply ethics to animals and when she is eating and has her hand wrapped confer on them rights (think of aniaround my finger and her face only an inch from mine so that I can feel her whiskers on mal welfare shelters, for example), my face, what I am about to recall has hapbut in doing so apply metaphysipened three times only. cal ethics to ‘Animals’. As a result, One day while eating from my hand she the Kantian idea that we should be suddenly stands on her haunches so that she is ethical in our dealings with animals slightly higher that my face (I was lying on the is maintained, only because to not floor, my head resting on my hand). She looks carry out ethical duties to animals down at my face. Our eyes lock. I don’t see reflects badly on humans; it damages the colour of her eyes (as Levinas says); instead humans’ dignity. Animals, of course, I see her recognising me, pondering me. I see for Kant, don’t have dignity. But our that she sees me looking back at her. ethical responses are thereby conI feel utterly exposed, in the same way Derrida felt exposed when his cat watched tained by the metaphysical prescriphim naked in the bathroom. I feel uncertainty, tive rules by which we bind each a little fear that comes with absolute wonder, other, and which we unimaginatively apply to ‘Animals’. Consequently,

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and ironically, I would argue that because I have been confronted by the absolute our ethical responses (or reactions?) other that ‘sees’ me (not as the ‘I Am’ or the ‘as are ‘automated’ (in the Cartesian such’), but it is a ‘seeing’ or recognition of my sense). Now if we accept Derrida’s presence that is different to hers. A recognition argument that there are a multiplicof my difference. And this seeing that comes in ity of animal realms, and not just her looking at me directly in the eye invokes one homogenised group that fall an existential feeling: one of nausea (as Sartre under the label ‘Animal’, it becomes would describe it). I feel nauseated every time I difficult to ‘apply’ our supposed unithink of this moment (three in total) because in that moment I don’t know who I am, because versal rules without doing violence she doesn’t see me as ‘I Am’ in the humanistic (as discussed above) to all animals. sense. And in not seeing the ‘I Am’, I seem to Rather, accepting the plurality of difbecome, or be, something different: heteronyferences across animal species, and mous rather than autonomous. Who is this me within species, allows (as Donna she apprehends in this moment of looking? Haraway argues) for humans to be In this moment I am no longer autonomous, attuned to the multiplicity of relarather I become constituted by my relation tional and moral contexts in which with her, by her gaze, by the absolute other, animals and humans are situated. and I recognise not the ‘I Am’ but the other Being attuned to this kind of con[Edna] that defines me. I also recognise the textual relationality brings to the animal other within me; the animal that I am. fore the singularity of every animal and the singularity of that relation with that animal (or indeed group of animals). From this point on the boxes dissolve, and autoethnography and philosophical exposition blur, so as to performatively highlight the contextual and singular relations that can be formed with animals and which undermine the constructed opposition between the ‘Animal’ and ‘Human’. In other words, Edna the possum, like Derrida’s cat, is like every other possum/cat, but also a singular and unique possum/cat. This contextual relationality challenges the supposed autonomy, the ‘I Am’, of the human by revealing that autonomy is conditional; and it is conditional because autonomy is structured by heteronomy. That is, the human is also structured by, and is therefore only possible because of, these singular but contextual relations with others, including animal others. Unlike the reductionist ‘with’ that Benjamin warns of, the multiple ‘being-withs’ in both Derrida’s and Haraway’s senses (there is no one way of being), puts pressure on a metaphysical ethics. ‘Being-withs’ reveal how ethics itself is structured by the contextual and contingent encounters with multiple others. As I argue elsewhere,63 our contextual, thus singular, ethical responses to others are always in negotiation with social, cultural and moral norms, because we cannot simply step outside of our metaphysical ethical heritages. Or as Vinciane Despret expresses it, we can only start to think otherwise from our ‘situated histories, situated stories’.64

Conclusion: Possum Tales/Tails Is ‘being-with’ Edna simply the reversal and thus reformulated opposition to the ‘without’ of which Benjamin speaks, where the ‘with’ is simply a reduction of the animal to the human world? Or is ‘being-with’ Edna more a ‘becoming-with’ as Haraway describes it? For Haraway becoming-with is to become attuned to and

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become connected with animal others,65 so that the relationship that comes into being involves mutual responses and ‘response-ability’.66 To use Haraway’s language, I am ‘attuned’ to Edna as she teaches me how to read her looks and her body language. For example, one day Edna was sitting on the door-frame on her back legs with her hand gripped around my finger, eating a grape (she eats cherries with both hands because of the pip). A cockroach approached the door. She looked at it, and then looked at my eyes, then back at the cockroach. I returned her gaze and looked at the cockroach so that she knew I had seen it. The cockroach, perhaps sensing our presences, moved off and Edna then crouched down and finished her grape, lost in her world of tastes and feelings. I didn’t know what she was thinking, or remembering, but her ears were twitching as she listened to a world I couldn’t hear or know, even though I inhabit the same space. In looking at me when the cockroach approached, what was Edna trying to convey? I felt that she was simply wanting me to know that a cockroach was there; I felt she was checking to see if I had seen it. Her hand around my finger was loose and relaxed, so I wonder if she was wondering what I was going to do, or how I was going to react. She certainly wasn’t afraid. And how could she possibly know I don’t like cockroaches? In my assumption that this was what she was trying to convey, am I anthropomorphising or am I simply attuned to her body language and looks? Is there a difference? Aristotle anthropomorphised, so too Darwin; but as John Berger remarks, since Descartes’s categorisation of the ‘Animal’ as an automaton, anthropomorphism has gone out of favour. This is because anthropomorphism can fall into anthropocentrism, where the ‘being-with’ as Benjamin posits is a reduction of animal differences to the same. But a number of philosophers and biologists are now starting to understand anthropomorphism differently, arguing that it is what makes accessible the emotive worlds of other animals.67 In fact, Berger argues that ‘[u]ntil the nineteenth century . . . anthropomorphism was integral to the relation between man and animal and was an expression of their proximity’.68 In other words, anthropomorphism creates a proximity (either physical or mental and emotional) that enables a ‘becoming-with’. Apart from Edna coming at night to eat, I don’t know anything substantial about her: I do not follow her into her habitat, I do not analyse or observe how she behaves in general. I have once fallen back on biological animal behavioural theory to try and understand her ways, to try and understand if her behaviour towards me is ‘typical’ for possums, but my fear in doing this is that I generate an anthropocentrism by falling back into a rational discourse and thereby perpetuating a superiority over the animal that comes with the ‘as such’ and the humanistic ‘I Am’. Resisting this, I have stopped searching for answers about Edna’s behaviour from these sources, or more aptly, I have stopped applying them to her. Furthermore, is my auto-ethnographic account of Edna simply an autobiography that does a violence to her and to our relationship? As Derrida might warn, perhaps I am falling into an apophantic logos as I write these words: I enunciate, declare, and produce an ‘exhibiting discourse’ that only highlights the ‘me’ that ‘I Am’. An autoethnographic approach nonetheless reveals at the very same time what can’t be declared and narrativised. In other words, this approach simultaneously reveals what Derrida, drawing on Aristotle, calls a ‘nonapophantic moment in the logos, a moment that isn’t declarative, enunciative’.69 Rather, it is a moment that ‘doesn’t show

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anything, which in a certain way doesn’t say anything’, such as requesting or prayer. It is this ‘nonapophantic moment’ within the auto-ethnographic narrative that perhaps ‘open[s] a breach in the whole [ethical and metaphysical] apparatus’,70 precisely because I hope that what is revealed is how Edna and I form a singular, unique relationship where our moral and perhaps ethical responses are co-entwined and formulated in and through our moment together each night. For instance, Edna does not appeal to my rationality or rational judgement; in nonapophantic style her presence, her face, is a request (for food, for babysitting). Her presence demands from me trust and a responsibility that cannot be defined by the metaphysical and anthropocentric term ‘ethics’. But sometimes I need to anthropomorphise to help ‘me’ understand Edna, yet our trust in each other tells me all there is to know: and that knowledge is not the knowledge of categorisation or animal behavioural theory and scientific observation applied to a species of animal. In his interview ‘Eating well’, Derrida suggests that being rational and autonomous does not necessarily mean this is the only way of being responsible. Instead, the self (subject) answers the call of the other before even being able to formulate a question, that is responsible without autonomy, before and in view of all possible autonomy of the who-subject. . . . Not only is the obligation not lessened in this situation, but, on the contrary, it finds in it its only possibility, which is neither subjective nor human. Which doesn’t mean that it is inhuman or without subject.71 While Derrida here is talking about responsibility between human subjects, it serves to highlight, as mentioned earlier, the way in which my autonomy is dissipated or disseminated in the presence of Edna. Without Edna acknowledging or recognising my autonomy, I am simply another animal in a mutual relation of trust and responsibility. In my responsibility to Edna I am not even aware (self-aware) of my humility (another form of the ‘I Am’, the ‘as such’ as superior to the non-human animal). Remember, the ‘as such’ is that which describes how ‘something’ appears to the human as it is. Edna does not appear to me as just a ‘possum’. To see Edna this way is a form of anthropocentricism; that is, it is a position in which the human names, and consequently positions, the appearing of something in a relation of domination and power. To me she is not only ‘possum’, she is also Edna, and while naming her is an anthropomorphism, it is also my acknowledgement of her singularity and her uniqueness as a being – no matter what her species. That is, my anthropomorphising is a counterpoint to the Cartesian automaton and the scientific categorisation of animal species. After all, as Tom Tyler argues, anthropomorphism is only a problem when it aids and abets anthropocentrism.72 Naming her, then, is my way of conveying our ‘proximity’. And this proximity (through naming and auto-ethnography) helps me understand, in ways I didn’t prior to my relationship with Edna, that while possums as a species might act in certain ways, each one of them, like Edna, has a personality and has a unique way of being (Nibs, for instance, in his relations with me, acts very differently to Edna). Yet despite this singularity and uniqueness which my naming of Edna highlights, she can never be ‘pinned down’ or ‘reified’ by naming.73 What my encounter with the absolute other that is Edna exposes, then, is my becoming other than what ‘I Am’ as I follow her into the unknown and as all the

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prescriptive rules and regulations on how to behave (ethics) gets tested and challenged and reformulated. Because if ethics is metaphysical and constitutes the ‘I Am’, and if in my encounter with Edna ‘I’ disappear precisely because ‘I Am’ is not acknowledged by Edna ‘as such’, then any responsibility and ethics that occurs between Edna and I is not only contextual, but inhuman. To be ‘with’, to ‘follow’ Edna, therefore, teaches me to be something else: a becoming different in my moments with Edna. Following Derrida: I move from ‘the ends of man,’ that is the confines of man, to ‘the crossing of borders’ between man and animal. Passing across borders or the ends of man I come to surrender to the animal, to the animal in itself, to the animal in me.74

Notes 1. Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am, ed. Marie-Louise Mallet, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), p. 160. 2. Derrida clarifies the notion of the ‘as such’ through his reading of Martin Heidegger. Heidegger uses the example of the lizard to argue that animals in general don’t have the ‘as such’: that is, the lizard ‘has a relation to the stone that appears to it, to the sun that appears to it, but they don’t appear to it as stone, as sun’. Derrida goes onto argue that for Heidegger this is because [t]he animal doesn’t know how to ‘let be’, let the thing be such as it is. It always has a relation of utility, of putting-in-perspective; it doesn’t let the thing be what it is, appear as such without a project guided by a narrow ‘sphere’ of drives, of desires. (Derrida, Animal, p. 159)

3.

4.

5. 6. 7.

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He deconstructs Heidegger’s philosophical treatment of the ‘Animal’, arguing that Heidegger continues to perpetuate a metaphysics that he is trying to move away from. For some excellent discussions of Derrida’s reading of Heidegger in relation to animals, see Leonard Lawlor, This is Not Sufficient: An Essay on Animality and Human Nature in Derrida (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007); David Farrell-Krell, Derrida and Our Animal Others: Derrida’s Final Seminar, the Beast and the Sovereign (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2013). Ibid. pp. 142–3. This notion of the human as that which has the ability to apprehend and to have the ‘as such’ is part of the ‘humanist’ legacies, which privilege particular characteristics or traits afforded only to the human, and to name only a few: language, reason, autonomy. This fetishisation can be seen in animal cartoons where animals are given speech and take on human personality traits along with physical traits of ‘cuteness’ or juvenilisation. Steven Jay Gould discusses this phenomenon in terms of evolutionary juvenilisation or what is known as neoteny. See his ‘A Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse’, in The Panda’s Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Co., 1980), pp. 95–107. Cary Wolfe, Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2003), p. 8. See Jacques Derrida, ‘Letter to a Japanese Friend’, in David Wood and Roberto Bernasconi (eds), Derrida and Différance (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988), pp. 3–6. Derrida, Animal, p. 160.

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8. Ibid. p. 31. 9. Nicole Anderson, Derrida: Ethics under Erasure (London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), p. 11. 10. For an excellent account of metaphysical ethics, see E. J. Lowe, A Survey of Metaphysics (Oxford University Press, 2002). 11. Some selected texts on animal rights, animal welfare and the moral status of animals more generally include: Jeremy Bentham, The Principles of Morals and Legislation (New York: Prometheus Books, 1988); Peter Singer, ‘Animal Liberation or Animal Rights’, The Monist: An International Quarterly Journal of General Philosophical Inquiry 70:2 (1987), pp. 3–14; Tom Regan, ‘The Rights of Humans and other Animals’, Ethics and Behavior 7:2 (1997), pp. 103–11, and The Case for Animal Rights (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983); Martha Nussbaum, ‘The Moral Status of Animals’, Chronicle of Higher Education 52:22 (February 2006), and Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006). 12. Derrida argues that ‘[d]econstruction . . . must, by means of a double gesture, a double science, a double writing, practice an overturning of the classical opposition and a general displacement of the system’. See Jacques Derrida, ‘Signature Event Context’, in Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 329. 13. Edna is a ‘common brush tail possum’ (so called because of its long bushy prehensile tail) and is a marsupial native to Australia. Possums are the most adaptive to urban environments, often making their homes in roofs of houses and sheds in suburban areas. Brush tail possums are the size of cats. 14. Derrida, Animal, p. 136. 15. Ibid. pp. 40–1. 16. Ibid. pp. 89–90. See also Nicole Anderson, ‘(Auto)Immunity: The Deconstruction and Politics of “Bio-Art” and Criticism’, Parallax 16:4 (2010), pp. 101–16. 17. Derrida, Animal, p. 135 and p. 89. 18. Ibid. p. 89. Providing evidence that some animals do have languages and communities, and can mourn (elephants, for instance), does not mean that Derrida wants to privilege a biological continuism, in which all the differences between animals and humans are homogenised: another kind of violence. 19. Nicole Anderson, ‘Pre- and Post-Human Animals: The Limits and Possibilities of AnimalHuman Relations’, in Jami Weinstein and Claire Colebrook (eds), Posthumous Life: Theorizing Beyond the Posthuman (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017). 20. Derrida, Animal, p. 90. 21. René Descartes, ‘Discourse on Method’, in Elizabeth Anscombe and Petre Thomas Geach (eds), Descartes: Philosophical Writings (Nelson’s University Press, 1954), p.42. See Derrida, Animal, p. 77 and p. 32. 22. Derrida, Animal, pp. 79–80. 23. Ibid. p. 89. 24. Ibid. p. 86. 25. Ibid. pp. 92–3. 26. Ibid. p. 83. 27. Ibid. p. 94 and p. 111. 28. Ibid. p. 3. 29. Immanuel Kant, ‘The Metaphysics of Morals’, in J. B. Schneewind (ed.), Moral Philosophy from Montaigne to Kant (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 653–4. 30. Ibid. 31. Derrida, Animal, p. 94. 32. Ibid. p. 126. 33. Lawlor, This is Not Sufficient, p. 67.

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34. Descartes, ‘Discourse on Method’, pp. 38–44. 35. Lawlor, This is Not Sufficient, p. 67. 36. Andrew Benjamin, Of Jews and Animals (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), p. 12. For Benjamin, being on the inferior side of the opposition means that the animal is marked by a ‘dominating but inadequate form of difference’. 37. Ibid. p. 11. 38. Derrida, Animal, p. 89. 39. Singer, ‘Animal Liberation’, p. 3. 40. Regan, ‘The Rights of Humans and Other Animals’, pp. 103–11. 41. Singer, ‘Animal Liberation’, p. 3. 42. Regan, ‘The Rights of Humans and Other Animals, p. 109. 43. Singer, ‘Animal Liberation’, p. 3. 44. Regan, ‘The Rights of Humans and Other Animals’, p. 110. 45. Ibid. 46. Ibid. 47. Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald (eds), The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings (Oxford and New York: Berg Publishers, 2007), p. 15. 48. Regan argues that human rights generally include, among many other things, the right to food and clean water, shelter, and ‘the right to bodily integrity’, which means disallowing ‘physically assaulting another person’s body simply on the grounds that others might benefit as a result’. See Regan, ‘The Rights of Humans and Other Animals’, p. 105. 49. See Derrida, Animal, pp. 87–9. There are ten articles that make up the Declaration and therefore it is too long to quote in full here. However, Derrida has quoted the Declaration in full in n. 37 in The Animal. 50. Ibid. p. 87. 51. Kelly Oliver, Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), p. 28. 52. Derrida, Animal, p. 89. 53. Ibid. 54. Benjamin, Of Jews and Animals, p. 97. 55. Jacques Derrida and Elisabeth Roudinesco, For What Tomorrow . . . A Dialogue (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), p. 74. 56. Wolfe, Animal Rites, p. 8. 57. Ibid. p. 88. 58. Derrida, Animal, pp. 79–80. 59. Benjamin, Of Jews and Animals, p. 96. 60. I pose this question in contradistinction to Heidegger, who argues that the animal world is narrowed by its relations of utility, drives and desires. See Derrida, Animal, p. 159. 61. Derrida, Animal, pp. 79–80. 62. Donna Haraway uses the term ‘attune’ in When Species Meet (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008). 63. See Anderson, Derrida: Ethics Under Erasure. 64. See Vinciane Despret, ‘Why “I Had Not Read Derrida”: Often Too Close, Always Too Far Away’, in Louisa Mackenzie and Stephanie Posthumus (eds), French Thinking about Animals (Ann Arbor: Michigan State University Press, 2015). See also Donna J. Haraway, ‘Preface: A Curious Practice’, Angelaki 20:2 (2015), p. 8. 65. Haraway, ‘Preface’, p. 97. 66. Ibid. p. 71. 67. See James A. Serpell, ‘People in Disguise: Anthropomorphism and the Human-Pet Relationship’, in Lorraine Datson and Gregg Mitman (eds), Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005); Marc

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68. 69. 70. 71.

72. 73.

74.

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Berkoff, ‘Wild Justice and Fair Play: Cooperation, Forgiveness, and Morality in Animals’, Biology and Philosophy 19 (2004), pp. 489–520; Clinton R. Saunders and Arnold Arluke, ‘Speaking for Dogs’, in Kalof and Fitzgerald, The Animals Reader, pp. 63–71. John Berger, ‘Why Look at Animals?’, in Kalof and Fitzgerald, The Animals Reader, p. 255. Derrida, Animal, p. 157. Ibid. Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy, ‘“Eating Well” or the Calculation of the Subject’, in Eduardo Cadava, Peter Connor and Jean-Luc Nancy (eds), Who Comes After the Subject?, trans. Peter Connor and Avital Ronell (New York and London: Routledge, 1991), p. 100. Tom Tyler and Manuela Rossini (eds), ‘Introduction’, in Animal Encounters (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009). Tom Tyler, ‘Quia ego nominor leo: Barthes, Stereotypes and Aesop’s Animals’, Mosaic 40 (2007), p. 59. Tyler elaborates on why Derrida in The Animal does not reveal the name of his cat, as opposed to Haraway who, while indebted to Derrida’s work, is also critical, arguing that he did not go far enough to understand ‘what the cat might actually be doing’ staring at him naked in the shower. See When Species Meet, pp. 19–21. Derrida, Animal, p. 3.

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11 Evolution Thom van Dooren and Vinciane Despret

Lessons from Some Cooperative Ravens

S

ince the middle of the 1980s, the ravens of Vermont and Maine have been the recipients of some strange gifts: carcasses, some of them weighing 150kg, some of them of animals never before seen in the region, have been mysteriously appearing in the forest. If these birds took a strong interest in the matter – which they likely did – then they may have noticed that a man, the same man, was the source of all of this meat: cows, deer, moose, sheep, goats, slaughterhouse offal, rabbits, snowshoe hares, raccoons, beavers and even squirrels. This man was a biologist named Bernd Heinrich. Even at this early stage in his career, Heinrich was already well on his way to becoming one of the world’s foremost experts on the behaviour of ravens. In laying carcasses out for them in the way that he did, he was acting like some primatologists once did with baboons or chimpanzees: as these animals could hardly be approached and would run away each time the primatologist wanted to get closer, some researchers finally found it to be more convenient to attract them with food. Indeed, ravens were rarely seen in Maine or Vermont in the absence of baits like these. Heinrich himself estimates that without his baits, on average, he saw one pair of ravens for every 5.6 hours of watching: ‘to randomly accumulate 20 birds should thus require 1,120 hours of daylight, or 140 days given 8 hours of daylight per day’.1 Clearly this was no way to go about assembling a reliable understanding of these birds. But Heinrich’s needs were even more specific than this. He was not interested in seeing ravens doing just anything. He laid these carcasses out for them because he wanted to understand if, how and why ravens might share these miraculous ‘food bonanzas’ with one another. That was the point. Heinrich was initially drawn into this research by an accidental observation. While out in the forest studying bumblebees (his initial specialisation), he happened upon a pair of ravens ‘doing something solitary animals are not “supposed” to do: They were sharing valuable food.’2 These ravens did not quickly and quietly eat carcasses they found. Instead, they tended to call out loudly, seemingly advertising the find to others. As a biologist steeped in the lessons of evolution by natural selection, he could not readily understand why they should act in this ‘irrational way’.3 How could such a generous approach to others be evolutionarily adaptive, and so selected for? As Heinrich put it: ‘I always look for some evolutionary, self-serving reason why animals do things . . . [t]his time my mind failed to provide a clearly selfish, evolutionary cause for the apparent sharing.’4

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And so he was left with a puzzle. Alongside a range of other fascinating questions, Heinrich’s subsequent research and publications over roughly the next two decades have sought to provide the solution to this puzzle: to explain how this behaviour might – as it must(?) – enhance the fitness of those who engage in it, such that it becomes possible at all in the world that Darwin (perhaps) taught us that we inhabit. Taking these ravens and their food sharing proclivities as a starting point, this chapter explores the ‘puzzle’ of cooperation. We are interested in ravens and their interactions, but equally in how their biologists have made sense of, and with, them. What does it mean to cooperate in an evolutionary context? How have ‘self-interest’, or even ‘selfishness’ and ‘evolution by natural selection’ become almost interchangeable concepts for many biologists, as in the quotes from Heinrich above? How has this situation, in turn, created such a stubborn puzzle out of cooperation? Answering these questions requires us to ask how it is that competitive self-interest came to occupy a position as the assumed norm against which sharing and other similar behaviours stand out as oddities. Michael Ghiselin offered what has become a very well-known example of this dominant framing of our (biological) world when he commented that: The economy of nature is competitive from beginning to end . . . What passes for cooperation turns out to be a mixture of opportunism and exploitation. The impulses that lead one animal to sacrifice himself for another turn out to have their ultimate rationale in gaining advantage over a third. . . . Given a full chance to act in his own interest, nothing but expedience will restrain him from brutalising, from maiming, from murdering – his brother, his mate, his parent or his child. Scratch an ‘altruist’, and watch a ‘hypocrite’ bleed.5 From this perspective, one raven stealing from another is just nature; one raven giving to another is a perversion in want of an explanation – ideally an explanation to show how the giver is actually benefiting more than it costs him, and so in a sense, according to this framing at least, not really giving at all. Figuring out who gets what from an interaction is, in many ways, the central question of biology after Darwin. From this perspective, every trait, including every behaviour – assuming that it is adaptive, which one ought not to do lightly6 – must be able to produce a cost/benefit ratio in which the fitness of the individual actor/bearer (or its genes) is enhanced by its possession.7 According to contemporary evolutionary theory, cooperative behaviour should be selected against because, using the language of the game theory that is often deployed here, ‘free riders’ or ‘cheaters’ would inevitably emerge who would attract the benefits from others’ cooperative behaviour while avoiding any of the costs associated with contributing (introducing a relative cost for cooperators). In this context it is usually argued that free riders would inevitably out-compete others, and so undermine any fragile forms of cooperation that did begin to take hold.8 From this perspective, altruism is even more puzzling. While cooperation merely requires that an individual act in a way that benefits others as well as self, altruism demands self-sacrifice of some sort and so poses what is thought of as a severe distri-

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bution problem. Importantly, in this context neither altruism nor cooperation have anything to do with the motivational state of an actor. Bacteria can be altruistic or cooperative if they evolve to grow in ways that make room for each other. As Elliot Sober has succinctly put it, ‘a mindless organism can be an evolutionary altruist’.9 All that is relevant is the ‘bottom line’ of evolutionary fitness: does the behaviour sacrifice or compromise one’s own fitness for that of another?10 Of course, despite all this focus on self-interest, cooperative behaviour is not at all peculiar to the ravens of New England. All over the world, many different kinds of animals – but also plants, bacteria, fungi, in fact members of all the kingdoms of life – form cooperative associations with others. Amongst the broader crow family (genus Corvus) to which these ravens belong, there are a great many active and creative cooperators. Some crows collaborate to mob larger predators in coordinated ways; others work together in groups of all sizes to rear their young.11 In the lab, rooks (Corvus frugilegus) and other species have shown their willingness to work together on difficult tasks – for example, the coordinated pulling of a string – to gain access to food rewards.12 These rooks have invented new forms of cooperation in the face of a puzzle scientists have created for them. There is a double puzzle at play here, both of its facets coming from the two major traditions that have questioned animals, experimental psychology and natural history: one puzzle is constructed out of bits and pieces of string and timber in the lab, while the other, larger, puzzle is one that we have made for ourselves through a history of understanding biological life as, at its foundation, driven by competitive individualism. To pre-empt the punchline, this chapter argues that cooperation only becomes a puzzle when we understand competition and selfishness so broadly that they consume the world; from this perspective, cooperation is indeed fragile and perplexing, if not outright impossible. The reality, however, is far more interesting. As such, this chapter asks what kinds of narratives have been proposed to explain (seemingly) cooperative associations, what kind of constraints do they take for granted and thus impose on the ways that we might think evolution, and how might other narratives help us to reopen, to renew, to re-engage, to disclose, other hypotheses and so other ways of being with others?13 In taking up these questions, this chapter is an effort to challenge some ‘routine’ biological thinking about evolution (that is, modes of thinking grounded in ossified habits that rigidly impose their own schemas). Increasingly, this routine thinking is today being rejected – but it still lives on amongst many biologists, in much of the humanities and social sciences and in popular understandings. This chapter does not take up all of the issues that animal studies scholars will likely have with evolution: ranging from biological determinism and adaptationism through to various forms of genetic reductionism. Instead, the chapter aims to grapple in a serious way with one little set of questions: what is cooperation, and what does thinking about it through the lens of evolution by natural selection have to teach us about our world?14

Why Cooperate? Crows fascinate us, in part at least, because they have managed to captivate a group of passionate and intelligent biologists like Heinrich; biologists who have given them more chances than many other creatures have had to be ‘interesting’.15 These biologists

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have sought out a variety of intriguing sites to document and explore cooperative associations. Called in a serious way by the puzzle of cooperation, they have been required to painstakingly create the conditions for an observable cooperation in the context of an enigmatic sharing of food: to build blinds, lug carcasses through the snow, spend hours crouched down in the cold watching birds, and to all the while maintain their relentless curiosity about what this all means. As Thelma Rowell has noted, animals are more interesting when they cooperate because cooperation asks them to do more things, it requests more cognitive and social competencies, such as the ability to coordinate collective actions and to learn to pay attention to others over time, to communicate in a reliable manner, to take into account what others need, or in the more specific case of ravens (or Arabian babblers),16 to cultivate bravery.17 Through the exploration of these cooperative behaviours, crows have in some cases been able/enabled to fly against the predominant headwinds of biological understanding, with their focus on competition to the exclusion of all else. Even still, as we have already seen in the case of Heinrich, there is a tremendous intellectual inertia here that constrains interpretations, that constrains what it is that crows are able to do within the worlds of even generous and attentive biologists. Heinrich’s analysis creates opportunities to understand these birds, this behaviour, and indeed biology more broadly, otherwise. In some places, we have been required to push Heinrich and his collaborators in directions they wouldn’t necessarily want to go. This act of ‘pushing’ the scientists is similar in form to the way that generously imaginative scientists like Heinrich interact with the ravens or other animals that they are interested in: we address a proposal to them, a sort of ‘what if . . . ?’, inviting them to contest it or to accept it. The textual material of our hypothesis is, in this case, the device – the ‘what if . . . ?’ – that should be put to the test. For Heinrich, the ravens of New England were particularly fascinating research subjects because they presented him with a puzzle within a puzzle. While there are certain kinds of answers that are now readily available within the discourses of contemporary biology for the question of how cooperation and (seeming) altruism can evolve and endure, this particular food sharing behaviour seemed not to readily submit to them. This is what struck Heinrich so profoundly in his initial encounter with these birds. When a raven finds food, she calls out in a general way. She calls out loudly. In short, she calls to anyone who can hear. As such, it seemed to Heinrich that ravens were sharing indiscriminately. The two broad explanations that are now usually offered by biologists to explain altruistic and cooperative behaviours can be grouped under the general headings of kin selection and reciprocal altruism. The theory of kin selection (or ‘inclusive fitness’), associated with the pioneering work of W. D. Hamilton, offers an explanation for altruistic behaviour when it occurs within groups of (relatively) closely related individuals.18 In these cases, while an organism might act in a way that compromises its own self-interest, if in doing so it benefits closely related individuals, then it is ultimately benefiting its own genetic material. Because we share much of our genetic material with close relatives, from a larger evolutionary perspective this behaviour can still be selected for because the (selectively) altruistic genes of one individual are likely to also be found in its relatives (assuming that the altruistic trait is inherited genetically). Behaviour that is disadvantageous at the level of the organism is thus advantageous at the level of the gene. Thus, biologists have

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suggested that the proportion of genetic material that one organism shares with another might be some guide to the degree of self-sacrifice that the individual will be willing to undergo. As Haldane is said to have once commented: ‘I would lay down my life for two brothers or eight cousins’.19 Reciprocal altruism, on the other hand, offers an explanation for cases in which the group of cooperators is not composed of closely related individuals (or even members of the same species). This approach also attempts to explain this behaviour in a way that allows it to be, and to remain, evolutionarily advantageous for the individuals who engage in it. This approach is not a competitor to kin selection, but an alternative avenue through which cooperative behaviour might evolve. On the surface, a behaviour that is advantageous to both cooperators would not seem to need much explanation. What does require further elucidation, however, is ‘the critical mechanisms stabilizing cooperation’20 that prevent other individuals from taking advantage of this behaviour and out-competing the cooperators, or one cooperator from defecting in a way that free-rides on the other’s effort. Drawing on the ‘prisoners’ dilemma’, biologists have argued that in a straightforward encounter between individuals it never makes sense to cooperate. This ‘prisoners’ dilemma’ puzzle was eventually solved by Trivers, and further developed by Axelrod and Hamilton.21 Their modelling indicated that in an ‘iterated prisoner’s dilemma’ – in which individuals can reasonably be assumed to meet again, and they are able to alter their behaviour in relation to their past experiences (especially if they’re capable of recognising individuals and remembering specific past interactions) – the numbers shift and strategic cooperation can deliver fitness payoffs. Subsequent research has revealed a range of other scenarios and mechanisms whereby individuals might benefit from cooperation in ways that limit or prevent ‘cheating’.22 But the ravens that Heinrich observed in New England weren’t just sharing food with close relatives (which might – but not necessarily – enable a kind of kin selection), nor were they just sharing with a fixed group of other birds (which might enable – still not necessarily – a more conventional pattern of reciprocal altruism). If this was the case, then how did the announcer benefit from the act of sharing?23 Why didn’t the lucky raven just keep the valuable find to herself, eating as much as she could now and carefully caching bits away in the snow for later (caching being widely practised amongst ravens and many other corvids)? But share they did. Again and again Heinrich observed the same pattern. When a raven discovered one of his carefully placed carcasses in the forest, she would cautiously check it out, perhaps over a period of a day or two. Then, without eating herself, she would loudly announce the location of the food. Heinrich observed that: If the birds respond to each other’s calls and behavior . . . as well as a human can, then those in the neighborhood for several square kilometres . . . could hardly fail to be alerted, and in a minute or two they could probably determine the source and/ or reason for the calls.24 Heinrich explored this call and response relationship using live birds who had discovered bait carcasses as well as the replaying of recorded raven calls from other bait sites. Ravens seemed to be well attuned to one another’s calls. In almost all cases, once a carcass was announced, other ravens quickly began arriving.

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But these ravens took their sharing even further. Heinrich observed that large groups of birds often arrived together at a carcass early in the morning, likely coming from a communal roost occupied overnight. Many of those arriving had not previously seen the carcass, and so it seems that these roosts may operate as ‘information centres’. According to Heinrich, the groups of ravens arriving together were not close relatives, and they weren’t even fixed groups: raven populations in the area are dynamic and shifting, with juvenile and vagrant birds dispersing widely and moving around frequently.25 Why do ravens share if there is little chance of their actions primarily benefiting their kin (and so their genes) or themselves? Even ‘group selection’ – a possible third category of explanations for cooperative behaviour – has trouble here, as there is no fixed group to benefit from this behaviour. In this context, in terms of evolutionary games, what is there to stop individual ravens from keeping their own finds a secret, but benefiting from the finds of others that were announced – presumably, eventually, leading to the breakdown of sharing altogether as the ‘secret keepers’ got the upper hand on the altruistic ‘announcers’? In fact, Heinrich observed that birds that had had their fill of a carcass (and cached some away for the future) did not just sit around saving their energy – like ‘good’ self-interest-maximising neo-Darwinian actors – but took to the sky, expending energy, to find more carcasses that they would then (presumably) share with others too. What could explain this perverse behaviour, this seeming (because it is always only ‘seeming’?) refusal to conform to the dictates of natural selection?

Key Concepts in Cooperation Before answering these questions it will be helpful to make a small detour to consider a little more closely the way in which notions of selfishness, competition, altruism and cooperation are commonly deployed in the biological literature. The first thing to note in this regard is that in an evolutionary context, selfishness and altruism are not at all concerned with motivations (as previously noted). This situation is in stark contrast to more standard (‘psychological’) definitions of these terms which are specifically focused on motivations: ‘altruism’ requiring that an action be deliberately directed towards another’s well-being (often at cost to oneself), and ‘selfishness’ that one deliberately act in one’s own interest with little or no regard for others. As Frans de Waal has noted, there is an important distinction here between ‘function’ and ‘motivation’ (also presented as a distinction between ‘ultimate’ and ‘proximate’ causes). In his words: Evolutionary biology persists in using motivational terms. Thus, an action is called ‘selfish’ regardless of whether or not the actor deliberately seeks benefits for itself. Similarly, an action is called ‘altruistic’ if it benefits a recipient at a cost to the actor regardless of whether or not the actor intended to benefit the other [or even intended to perform the act].26 We will return to this important distinction in more detail in the final section of this chapter. For now, however, we are interested primarily in another aspect of the common biological usage of these terms: namely, the way in which they tend to be taken up in a highly dualistic manner.

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For evolutionary biologists, altruistic behaviours are those that have a higher cost than benefit (in the ‘single currency’ of [reproductive] fitness). These acts are commonly viewed as being in the interest of others, and consequently not in the actor’s own selfinterest. But, as we have seen, it is generally accepted that such a behaviour could not be adaptive. And so, those behaviours or traits that seem to be altruistic must have their foundation in some self-benefiting mechanism – either for the organism or its genes. As such, evolutionary altruism is, by definition, an empty category – an impossibility. In evolutionary discussions, the term is simply a placeholder in a puzzle; it names a curious facet of the world that has not yet been properly explained. In revealing the mechanisms that enable ‘altruism’, the biologist explains how the behaviour is not really altruistic at all. To some extent this is all quite reasonable. Even though this is not at all what we mean, or ought to mean, by the term ‘altruism’ in other contexts, this is yet another piece of biological terminology ‘protected by the stipulation of a technical meaning’.27 This situation becomes particularly problematic, however, when everything outside of this sphere of altruism – that is, everything – is labelled as ‘self-interested’ in a way that readily slips into ‘selfishness.’ Val Plumwood taught us to see the destructive and highly political nature of this kind of dualistic notion of altruism. Her focus was not on evolutionary but rather ethical frames. She noted that within Liberal political philosophies, ‘egoism and selfdenying altruism are presented as an exhaustive set of alternatives’. This ‘polarised division of the world creates a false dichotomy’ in which altruism (in its ‘pure’ form) is easily viewed as unachievable and even undesirable.28 And so the rationality of egoism – which quickly slips into its ‘pure’ form – becomes commonsensical. For Plumwood, however, ethical forms of life take place in the grey spaces between these simplistic categories which can only lead to ‘inappropriate strategies and forms of rationality that aim to maximize the share of the “isolated” self and neglect the need to promote mutual flourishing’.29 Similarly, in an evolutionary context, a whole range of fascinating encounters and relationships happen in the grey spaces between those acts that solely benefit others and those that solely benefit the self (indeed, within complex ecologies these black and white spaces don’t actually exist). This grey space is a terrain of complex mutualisms and commensalisms, of shared benefits and becomings, that is at present often conceptually reduced to a space of ‘selfishness’ because the actor also benefits in some way – because they are not ‘genuinely altruistic’. While adaptive traits cannot cut against an organism’s own self-interest, this in no way implies that they must be competitive or selfish (in any meaningful sense of these terms). Given the right conditions – conditions that we see all around us in countless different contexts – self-interest is perfectly compatible with enhancing the interests of self and others in cooperative relationship. ‘Selfishness’ and ‘self-interest’ are in no way equivalent concepts. Treating them as such covers over a range of important differences, a diverse range of strategies for life, and so a range of fascinating questions that might be drawn out in more theoretical and empirical detail. This broad notion of ‘selfishness’ is closely linked to a similarly broad notion of ‘competition’. Evelyn Fox Keller provides insight into the historical and conceptual foundations of this situation.30 She argues that biologists have tended to assume that, in

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a finite world, resources are scarce and scarcity necessarily gives rise to competition.31 In such a world, two organisms needn’t ever encounter each other, but simply by virtue of overlapping resource demands they are competitors. As Keller notes, this ‘technical’ understanding of competition means that it incorporates a wide range of interactions that are not at all hostile or aggressive.32 If, for example, one group of crows develops a more empathetic response to their young than another (meaning that they produce a higher number of healthy offspring), and this response is hereditary, and as a result this trait eventually replaces the less empathetic one within the larger population (through interbreeding), the conventional logic requires us to read this as a ‘competitive’ interaction. It is in this way that selfishness and competition have come to be treated as substantially equivalent to natural selection.33 Both terms have effectively become synonyms for ‘successful’ or ‘effective’:34 with all adaptive traits and behaviours – whatever outward form they take – being labelled as ‘competitive’ and understood to maximise the individual’s well-being (the impact on others is usually either treated as negative or irrelevant). But in using terms like ‘selfishness’ and ‘competition’ in this broad way, they are rendered entirely meaningless; they tell us nothing at all about the specific interactions in question. If, however, we make a distinction between a more conventional understanding of competition (in the sense of contest) and cooperation, a range of new and interesting questions become visible. For example, we can begin to ask: how is a behaviour or other trait successful? At what cost or benefit to self and others? As Joan Roughgarden notes: It’s an open empirical question whether effective cooperation . . . versus effective competition . . . underlies most evolutionary progress[?]. But to stipulate that evolutionary success equals selfishness means we can’t ask the question of which, cooperation or competition, is the more common route to evolutionary success.35 In short, while differential survival and reproduction may be the name of the game in natural selection, the routes to this kind of ‘success’ are complex and diverse and can’t be assumed to be ‘competitive’ or ‘selfish’ (in any meaningful sense of these terms) at the outset.

Selfish Ravens? The ravens of New England offer an ideal example of the complex space that opens up when a distinction is drawn between ‘selfishness’ and ‘self-interest’, and ‘competition’ is no longer treated as a synonym for success. Food sharing is a behaviour that has been well documented amongst many species of mammals and birds,36 but Heinrich’s analysis of this behaviour is particularly rich and developed, paying serious attention to the ecological and social context. For him, the key to understanding food sharing in this case is ‘the great advantage of reciprocity given the birds’ specialisation on ephemeral and scarce food bonanzas in fall and winter’.37 In other words, carcasses are infrequent resources that are unevenly distributed in

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the landscape. They also often contain more food than any individual raven can reasonably consume. Heinrich argues that this specific ecological context creates a relatively low threshold for sharing to evolve: as mammalian carnivores are the main consumers of carcasses in the area, a bird that shares with others likely gives up little (that wouldn’t have been lost anyway when a mammalian predator discovered the carcass); likewise, ‘cheating’ (in the form of not sharing with others) is unlikely to produce much of a benefit in this ecological context. But this is not the full story according to Heinrich. Across his broader body of work, he considers a range of other factors that might contribute to this food sharing dynamic, from the improved predator vigilance of groups to their capacity to better keep a carcass from being covered by snowfall. Ultimately, however, two hypotheses emerge from his discussion as central: what Mesterton-Gibbons and Dugatkin have referred to as the ‘status-enhancement’ and ‘posse’ hypotheses.38 The first of these hypotheses centres on the idea that calling other ravens to a carcass may play a role in enhancing the status of a bird, helping to secure desirable mates, etc., in the future. The second hypothesis relates to the fact that young ravens are often chased away from carcasses by resident breeding pairs who have set up a territory – and don’t announce and actively share carcasses that they find. In this context, Heinrich hypothesises that being part of a loose posse – formed by the act of announcing a carcass – may enable juvenile and subadult birds to gain or maintain access to food in the presence of dominant adults.39 And so neither kin selection nor reciprocal altruism (in a narrow sense, at least) can explain this behaviour for Heinrich. Instead, the key factors that cement this behaviour are not cooperative at all, and certainly aren’t altruistic – basically amounting to improving one’s own social status and necessary collaboration to overpower a third party (breeding adults). Over the years Heinrich has written about raven food sharing in several sole authored works, journal articles and books, and in collaboration with John Marzluff, another eminent crow biologist.40 This broad body of work is grounded in the notion that, as Heinrich and Marzluff succinctly put it: ‘self-sacrificing behavior, or helping, buys delayed or hidden benefits. In other words, selfishness lies behind seemingly selfless behavior.’41 From this perspective it makes sense to argue that: ‘Attraction of a crowd [at a carcass by calling] can yield a great variety of different costs and benefits. But the balance must be positive for attraction signals to evolve.’42 Much is revealed in this final, simple sentence. The balance must be positive. But positive for whom? Again and again in this work, the puzzle of sharing is reduced to one of explaining the benefit to the caller: ‘the challenging task at hand is to determine how helping behavior can evolve in terms of individual fitness’.43 But cooperation is, by definition, much more complex than this. What distinguishes cooperation from competition is that it cannot be brought into the world and maintained simply by maximising one individual’s fitness. A different kind of ‘balance’ is at work here: not the individual’s costs versus benefits, but the balancing of multiple organisms’ well-being. In keeping the focus on a single bird – the caller, the (seeming) altruist – Heinrich and Marzluff’s account too readily lends itself to individualistic and competitive analyses. When a raven calls, other ravens do not simply come like mindless automata to

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a stimulus. In fact, recent work by Thomas Bugnyar and colleagues on the same species of ravens in Austria has revealed a varied and nuanced landscape of response in which listener birds likely understand much about who is calling and what is being called about, and presumably make decisions about whether or not to attend on this basis.44 However this happens, the key point is that the behaviour of calling can only be selected for within a specific social context in which (some) other birds respond, and it also benefits them to do so. As Barlow and Rowell note: ‘because communication must involve both a sender and a receiver, it must be a coevolved system. The sender is part of the environment to which the receiver must adapt, and vice versa.’45 And so the relevant behaviour is not signalling in isolation, but rather the entangled practices of signalling, responding and sharing. Costs and benefits of signalling mean nothing outside of this context.46 In short, this is a cooperative behaviour: it only ‘works’ (in the sense of cost-benefit analyses) for the caller because it also works for the receivers; because it is mutually advantageous. Of course, it is mutually beneficial in unequal ways. Interestingly, in this case the caller is not necessarily, perhaps usually not, the primary beneficiary: according to Georgine Szipl, Bugnyar and colleagues’ research, birds respond more readily to calls from subordinates who often get less food in a crowd than the more dominant responders.47 It is these entangled sets of interrelated costs and benefits – of give and take, of compromise – that make this a fundamentally cooperative behaviour that no single calculus can adequately account for. For Heinrich, however, starting from a framework of assumed individual selfinterest, the only behaviour that is a puzzle is the calling. The responding and consuming of meat – the taking – require no explanation. It is perhaps for this reason – in addition to the obvious practical challenges – that in his large body of work in the area Heinrich has not studied which birds respond (unlike Bugnyar and colleagues). As a result, the story that he and Marzluff tell is one in which a behaviour that ‘had at first sight seemed to be a mutually beneficial reciprocal altruism . . . was more likely to be a device for gaining access to otherwise unavailable food [and status enhancement]’.48 But why are these mutually exclusive possibilities, such that the discovery of a benefit to the caller somehow undermines or replaces the possibility of a mutualism? Why can’t it be a ‘mutually beneficial altruism’ and a means of gaining access to food and other goods (prestige, relations, possible alliances . . .)? Indeed, our position is that in order for it to be the latter – in the meaningful, long-term way that it seems to be – it must also be the former. Fascinatingly, recent work by Bugnyar and colleagues also reopens this question, indicating that ravens recognise who is calling and respond accordingly: joining social allies and avoiding dominant birds.49 If this is the case, social relationships may enable calling to primarily benefit kin and allies, and so throw kin selection and reciprocal altruism back into the mix as at least partial explanations for the evolution of this behaviour. In contrast, it only makes sense to describe this behaviour as one in which ‘selfishness lies behind seemingly selfless behavior’50 if we are operating within the context of the aforementioned black and white framework in which anything but ‘pure’ altruism is deemed to be selfish (and pure altruism is by definition impossible to sustain in the context of natural selection). But perhaps this criticism of Heinrich and Marzluff is

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unfair. It is difficult to tell because the language that they use does not always tease out the relevant nuances. Perhaps they simply mean that selfishness is also part of this behaviour, not that it is selfish instead of being selfless. Indeed, at points in their work they do seem to be saying something like this – for example, when they call carcass sharing a unique ‘combination of self-interest and common good’.51 Also, perhaps when they say that selfishness ‘lies behind seeming selfless behaviour’ they don’t mean ‘is more fundamental’ or ‘is the reality’, but rather just that selfishness is less obvious, hidden from view, but also present as a relevant factor. These differences make a difference. We suspect that Heinrich and Marzluff know this, but their language doesn’t always hold open this complexity – and in the context of what have become reductive and routine descriptions in biology, their account is very likely to be read in this unhelpful way. This situation is compounded by the fact that the most simplistic statements of their position have tended to be those produced for ‘popular’ audiences.52 In using terms like ‘selfishness’ in such a broad way we lose the capacity to describe dynamic interplays of balanced costs and benefits that are by definition adaptive and responsive to the needs of a diverse range of participants. Interwoven forms of balanced cooperation and competition, self-interest and altruism, produce this successful form of life (which is anything but straightforwardly ‘selfish’). It is also important to note that in places Heinrich’s analysis clearly refuses to lock down any singular ‘explanation’ for this behaviour and attempts to tease out some of the multiple interwoven factors, multiple kinds of costs and benefits for different individuals involved.53 In focusing on two key factors – status enhancement and posse formation – and situating them within a specific ecological environment of scarcity and mammalian competitors, Heinrich pushes us towards narratives and explanations that complicate instead of simplifying or purifying. But in other places in his work it is clear that there is a hierarchy of causes at play. Other possible mechanisms – like the way in which many ravens working together might keep a carcass free of snow, or the way in which more birds might lead to improved vigilance for predators – are pushed to the side, a little or a lot, as not being ‘prime factors’ or ‘main reasons’.54 Like so many biologists, Heinrich is – a fair bit of the time at least – working with an epistemological framework of competition: he presents multiple possible causes and has them compete with each other for dominance (an ‘either/or’ model). In contrast, we’re most interested in the places in his work that are characterised by a ‘cooperative’ relationship between hypotheses, highlighting the many reasons that ravens might do the things they do in particular contexts (at a functional, not to mention a motivational, level). This is a logic of multiplication, of cooperation: ‘and, and, and’. To put it simply, the same explanation might not hold at all times; just because a factor isn’t the whole of the story doesn’t mean that it isn’t part of it. There is, of course, nothing wrong with searching for something like ‘key mechanisms’ in the evolution of this behaviour, but multiplicity needs to be kept in the frame: the fact that there might be a variety of ultimate causes, with differing significances at different times, and that the benefits to the caller will only ever be one part of a much more complex biosocial field of interactions. Amongst other reasons, this multiplicity matters because the more we narrow, the more we rank relevant causes and make them compete with each other, the easier it becomes for complex behaviours, with their

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complex forms of compromise, balancing and mutualism, to look like simple, singular, winner-takes-all competition.55 And so, much of Heinrich’s analysis, like that of so many other biologists, takes place underneath a general assumption that (or at least readily lends itself to a reading in which), if we dig deep enough, if we look hard enough, in all cases we will find that self-interest is the ultimate cause of the observed behaviour. Like a law of physics, maximising self-interest has become the law of evolutionary biology. In this context, our suggestion is simply that we do away with the rhetorical framing that simplifies a complex context away, reducing the explanation to one of ultimate self-interest – which, in this ‘ultimate’ form, renders the fitness of the self somehow evolutionarily more significant, prior to, the fitness of others. The diverse needs and benefits of both calling and responding ravens must be held in the frame. We might also note that Heinrich’s own intervention reproduces this complexity. To solve the puzzle of their cooperation he had to (re)create situations in which ravens may choose to call others. In doing so he was himself ‘calling’ out to the ravens, offering to share food with them. Of course, he did not ‘call’ like ravens do – although in some situations he did, attracting ravens to his baits with the use of their previously recorded calls – but even in other cases, the baits he generously offered could be understood as ‘calls’ in their own way. Was Heinrich selfish here in his own act of sharing? In some sense the answer is surely yes: he shared food in order to gain something – his own satisfaction and understanding. But his action was not only for himself, it was also for multiple others: for the ravens who were fed during a long winter, for the interested people (like ourselves) who get to know them a little better as a result, and so perhaps also ‘for’ the ravens again, through the complex possibilities of enhanced protection and care that sometimes – but definitively not always – travel along with being deemed to be interesting.56 Ultimately, what we learn here is that species do not only emerge and endure in the world by virtue of their capacity to cut others down, to outrun and out-compete them. They also endure and are shaped by their capacity to cooperate, to achieve mutual advantage (in both inter- and intra- species relationships). This second possibility is ignored within a worldview in which all interactions are ultimately zero-sum games. As Keller notes, drawing on the work of Richard Lewontin, ‘payoff matrices are necessarily more complex than those described by a zero-sum dynamic’.57 Through various cooperative approaches, organisms generate new resources (perhaps through increasing efficiency, reducing absolute requirements or opening up access to new environments). In the forests of New England, cooperative strategies likely played a role in making possible year-round inhabitation for ravens where it otherwise would not be (by dealing with winter food shortages). Whatever the mechanism that stabilise this highly successful behaviour turn out to be, it didn’t arise through one raven taking another’s resources in a straightforward act of zero-sum competition, but rather through a shifting population of ravens – sometimes engaged in cooperative projects of shared (even if unequal) advancement, sometimes in competitive interactions – opening up a new environment, with new resources. This complexity cannot be reduced to simple competition or self-interest. At the very least, we need also to pay attention to the fact that cooperation doesn’t just reshuffle resources within a fixed world. It is also

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world-forming, opening up new evolutionary trajectories, new collective and behavioural forms, but also new biological forms that simply would not be possible in its absence. And so, whatever the genesis of raven food sharing, a distinct form of social life emerged here in which cooperation has profoundly shaped what it means to be a raven in this place.58

Multiplying Raven Motivations The notion that what evolution teaches us is that life is, at some fundamental level, selfish and competitive, gives rise to another important set of ideas that demand attention. All too often, black and white accounts of the ultimate causes of a behaviour have been allowed to shape the range of possible explanations for the proximate or motivational causes. In this way, simplistic evolutionary mechanisms become simplistic organisms in terms of the cognitive and emotional competencies afforded them. When such an approach is taken, the only options available to account for the motivations of animals present them as either mindlessly playing out the ‘cost-benefit calculus of [their] genes’, or alternatively, as mindful entities who are nonetheless required by the imperatives of survival to engage in the cold and calculated exploitation of their fellow creatures.59 At the heart of such accounts, however, is a confusion between functional and motivational factors. As we have seen, at a functional level selfishness (and altruism for that matter) does not in any way imply a correlating motivational orientation (or even the capacity to have motivations at all). In some cases animals may well choose to help one another in part or in full because of an obvious benefit to themselves. But, as de Waal notes, in a broad range of other cases something else must motivate this behaviour. For example, it seems highly unlikely that even birds as intelligent as ravens are aware of the complex long-term ‘inclusive fitness’ advantages associated with nest helping and some other cooperative acts.60 In the absence of a raven-Darwin, how could they be? If they have psychological motivations at all, complex behaviours like these, behaviours without rewards that would make sense to the actor, must be motivated in some other way. De Waal argues that it seems likely that ‘empathy evolved in animals as the main proximate mechanism for directed altruism’.61 So, while an act like helping at the nest in the rearing of someone else’s’ chicks may be evolutionarily advantageous to the actor (its ‘ultimate’ cause or functional explanation lying in the complex fitness advantages of kin selection), at a proximate level it may well be motivated by feelings of care and concern, perhaps love, for another. Of course, this isn’t the case with all cooperative behaviours, but we cannot afford to assume that we know which are which. The key point is that ‘selfishness’ is a highly unhelpful concept in this context too. Sadly, however, these kinds of simplistic understandings have been actively promoted by some biologists. Perhaps most famously, Richard Dawkins has argued for the ‘selfishness’ of genes as a fundamental evolutionary driver. In his words: ‘I shall argue that a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness.’62 While Dawkins has claimed that selfish genes do not equal selfish organisms, his own rhetoric frequently makes this connection. As he goes on to note: ‘This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behavior.’63 And in other places he has commented: ‘Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish,’

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and ‘Blindness to suffering is an inherent consequence of natural selection . . . Nature is neither kind nor cruel but indifferent.’64 A broad range of animals respond to the suffering of others in a range of different ways – they are not ‘blind’. ‘Nature’ doesn’t exist as an abstract entity capable of orienting itself in any way – be it kindly, cruelly or indifferently. Rather, ‘nature’ – insofar as this term means anything at all – is a composition of living (and non-living) beings of diverse species, most of whom are very far from being indifferent about a whole range of things – including their own lives and deaths, and for many species, also the fates of their close social companions. There are very good explanations for how these kinds of responsiveness towards others, grounded in a broad range of emotional and intellectual competencies, might have arisen not in spite of, but as a direct result of, natural selection (as de Waal has argued in relation to empathy). Of course, many other organisms are not involved in recognisably empathic behaviour. What is needed is attention to ecological, social and evolutionary specificity, rather than the assumption that statements can be made about ‘nature’ or ‘life’ in general – which, as decades of feminist and postcolonial theory have taught us, is usually just part of an effort to ignore specificity and read one’s own biases onto the world.65 But Dawkins’s statements here are equally concerning because they are grounded in a pervasive slippage between ultimate and proximate causes that allows ‘selfishness’ at the former level to colour, and in some cases completely subsume, our understanding of the latter. Keller drew our attention to this tendency decades ago. She noted that the use of colloquial language as technical terminology in biology – ‘competition’ and ‘selfishness’ were among her examples – ‘permits the simultaneous transfer and denial of . . . colloquial connotations’.66 In Images of Animals, Eileen Crist offers an insightful account of the many ways that the emotional, intellectual and experiential lives of animals have often been ignored and denied within the biological sciences. She notes that within evolutionary biology: Economic terminology is so pervasively deployed that it simply takes over animal life . . . The impact of the economic idiom on the domain of experience and lived action involves the erasure of an animal lifeworld – an everyday experience of activity and leisure, pleasure and pain, abundance and hardship, exhilaration and fear, rivalry and affection.67 And so, animals’ motivational states tend to be either ignored (not part of the ‘big picture’ of ultimate causes) or read as echoing these ultimate causes in a way that leaves animals working to maximise their self-interest as best they can. ‘Whether run by selfish genes, wary bodies, or crafty minds, animal life exudes an atmosphere of unrelenting coldness . . . [which ultimately] creates a picture of essential isolation.’68 Heinrich and Marzluff are perhaps two of the best examples of biologists who are passionate and creative about exploring the thick complexity of corvid lifeworlds, a situation made clear in their broader bodies of research and writing. In their discussions of food sharing, however, they don’t do as much as they might to escape problematic, routine positions. In one key article on this topic they note that ‘juvenile ravens possess immediately selfish reasons for this apparently altruistic act’69

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and that ‘our data show that carcass sharing behaviour did not evolve because of altruism, acting through intelligence and foresight, or generosity . . . Surprisingly, harnessing the most selfish of motivations in an extremely aggressive species creates amazing cooperation for the common good.’70 These claims are grounded in some earlier research in which Heinrich and Marzluff argued that the proximate cause (motivation) for calling to announce food is likely not a deliberate effort to establish a crowd (or posse), but rather an effort to advertise one’s status, as well as subordinates making ‘plaintive’ or begging calls to encourage dominant birds not to harass or harm them.71 This work explicitly points to a strong difference between ultimate and proximate factors.72 Even though attracting others may be a key ultimate cause for this behaviour, Heinrich and Marzluff argue that it is not relevant at a proximate or motivational level – pointing to the fact that if it were, we would expect to see more calling in the presence of adults (and this isn’t the case) and wouldn’t expect dominant vagrants to inhibit the calls of others (rather, they should encourage them if they were trying to establish a posse).73 For our purposes, what is most interesting about Heinrich and Marzluff’s account is the fact that they explicitly acknowledge the important distinction between ultimate and proximate causes, but when they turn to exploring the proximate domain they nonetheless begin with, and focus on, the same self-interested mechanisms that they have identified as ultimate causes. Why not start with the desire to share food (a desire that is in some cases suppressed by dominants)? Or perhaps even the desire to be seen sharing food; to be seen to be an efficient and generous sharer? There is no reason why – at a proximate level – this explanation should be any less likely than a competitive one. Birds who call, or don’t call, might be motivated by any number of factors, including hunger, frustration, dominance, the need for a posse (to access food and/or prevent aggression from others). Self-interest may underlie many of these calls; but birds may also be motivated by other factors: a desire to share with others, some of whom they care for; a desire to contribute to the collective good; a desire to reciprocate for past gifts. Perhaps good old self-interest is a more likely motivator for this behaviour, but this question needs to be asked. Motivations cannot be assumed on the basis of supposedly ‘selfish’ ultimate causes. As with the discussion of ultimate causes above, we propose that a tendency towards singular (or heavily streamlined) explanations resulting from competing causes might instead be opened out into a shifting field of motivations. In this context, the gift of a carcass cannot provide insight into ravens’ real motivations for sharing (that can then be generalised to all situations) – is it ‘this or that’ that motivates them – but can only add one more ‘and’ to the list: revealing only whether or not a raven is interested in sharing in a given situation. Each ‘gift’ that Heinirch (and Marzluff) made to the ravens created a unique site. Following Isabelle Stengers, we would suggest that, like all experimental devices, these gifts do not have the power to reveal anything; rather they create, crafting new possibilities for animals to respond to each proposal.74 As such, raven responses – even over innumerable instances – cannot provide a complete, or even an ‘in general’, picture of what is possible. Any time that they are interested in a carcass, or in making or responding to the calls of other ravens, we may find new motivations, according to the manner in which the situation was constructed by and for them. As Rowell notes, animals

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live with ‘different agendas’ – even for doing one and the same thing.75 Complicated creatures – and ravens are certainly that, a fact that Heinrich has been instrumental in teaching us – demand more sophisticated explanations than the standard ‘either/ or’; they demand a kind of science for which the very truth of one hypothesis may only emerge in dynamic interaction with the truth of the others.

Conclusion We hope to have offered another way into the puzzle of corvid cooperation, and in doing so to have challenged some basic but unhelpful assumptions about evolution. Our key suggestion is that we ought not to rush to solve this puzzle on the terms in which it is ordinarily posed, but rather to ask why it is a puzzle at all. Doing so requires us to acknowledge that there is no fundamental level at which nature, or evolution, or natural selection can be deemed to be anything, whether selfish, cooperative, altruistic or even ‘indifferent’. Instead, we inhabit a world of richly diverse living beings, each exploring and taking up their own ways of being with others. There is no essence here, just creation, invention and multiplicity. The only way that all of this can be boiled down to narratives of fundamental selfishness and competitive individualism is through adopting expansive definitions of these terms that are simply wrong at a motivational/proximate level, and meaningless at a functional/ ultimate level. What’s more, these accounts walk a dangerous line: frequently painting pictures of animal life (including, sometimes, human life) as slave to ‘higher’ processes beyond our control. This might be part of the picture, part of the time, but it certainly doesn’t yield a complete understanding and isn’t at all a valid starting point for scientific inquiry. While we have focused on cooperations amongst ravens, the same points might, of course, also be made about interspecies cooperation; about how different species strike up mutualisms of all kinds to produce new ways of life, like the ravens that lead wolves and other canids to carcasses. Or we might think of the gifted Torresian crows (Corvus orru) who seem to have very quickly learnt to remove ticks from introduced banteng in Australia, a situation in which cooperative tendencies, perhaps originally developed through interactions with other corvids, spill out into the world creating new opportunities for living together.76 Ultimately, terms like ‘cooperation’ and ‘competition’ are themselves too vague and simplistic for this complex space of interactions. But they are a first step towards an opening out into a world that is not, at least not necessarily, ‘red in tooth and claw’. Rather, ours is a world that is put together by diverse living beings over immense periods of time. Most of these living beings are, of course, unaware of this larger picture – at least in an explicit, conscious manner. But many of them are intimately aware of their daily worlds and make decisions that have consequences. In this way, evolution is not something that just ‘happens to us’. All of us, to a greater or lesser extent, craft evolutionary futures.77 Amongst their many other flaws, the dominant evolutionary stories that we now tell strip this kind of agency out of the world; in many contexts even enabling crude forms of ‘justification’ for human selfishness and competitiveness of all kinds. And so, paying attention to cooperative ravens should also remind us that, however limited our powers, however partial and incomplete our knowledge, we are

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always already shaping worlds. The question then, of course, is: how might we shape better evolutionary futures with others?

Notes 1. Bernd Heinrich, ‘Food Sharing in the Raven, Corvus corax’, in C. N. Slobodchikoff (ed.), The Ecology of Social Behaviour (San Diego: Academic Press, 1988), p. 290. 2. Bernd Heinrich, Ravens in Winter (New York: Summit Books, 1989), p. 12. 3. Ibid. p. 11. 4. Ibid. p. 12. 5. Michael T. Ghiselin, Economy of Nature and the Evolution of Sex (University of California Press, 1974), p. 247. 6. Richard C. Lewontin, ‘Adaptation’, Scientific American 239:3 (1978), pp. 212–31; Simon J. Gould and Richard. C. Lewontin, ‘The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme’, Proceedings of the Royal Society B 205 (1979), pp. 581–98. 7. Deborah M. Gordon, ‘What We Don’t Know about the Evolution of Cooperation in Animals’, in Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce and Brett Calcott (eds), Cooperation and Its Evolution (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013), p. 195. 8. Joel L. Sachs, Ulrich G. Mueller, Thomas P. Wilcox and James J. Bull, ‘The Evolution of Cooperation’, The Quarterly Review of Biology 79:2 (2004), pp. 135–60; Robert Axelrod and William D. Hamilton, ‘The Evolution of Cooperation’, Science 211:4489 (1981), pp. 1390–6. 9. Elliott Sober, ‘The ABCs of Altruism’, in Stephen G. Post, Lynn G. Underwood, Jeffrey P. Schloss and William B. Hurlbut (eds), Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy, and Religion in Dialogue (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2002). 10. It is debatable to what extent we can meaningfully think about a (single) ‘bottom line’ here. See Gordon, ‘What We Don’t Know’; Susan Oyama, Evolution’s Eye: A Systems View of the Biology-Culture Divide (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2000), pp. 208–10. 11. Vittorio Baglione, José M. Marcos, Daniela Canestrari, Michael Griesser, Guido Andreotti, Cristiana Bardini and Giuseppe Bogliani, ‘Does Year-Round Territoriality Rather Than Habitat Saturation Explain Delayed Natal Dispersal and Cooperative Breeding in the Carrion Crow?’, Journal of Animal Ecology 74:5 (2005), pp. 842–51; Derek Goodwin, Crows of the World, second edition (London: British Museum, 1986). 12. Amanda M. Seed, Nicola S. Clayton and Nathan J. Emery, ‘Cooperative Problem Solving in Rooks (Corvus frugilegus)’, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 275:1641 (2008), pp. 1421–9. 13. For instance, the term ‘harem’ usually refers to a group composed of one male mating with several females. This semantic choice implies a particular scenario: that of a dominant male exercising control over his females. However, who says that the male chooses the females? That he appropriates them, that he takes possession of them? Nothing does; it is only the term ‘harem’ that encourages this meaning. Another way of describing this type of organisation has been proposed, however, notably by some feminist researchers working in the framework of the Darwinian theory of sexual selection. See Jane Lancaster, Primate Behaviour and the Emergence of Human Culture (New York: Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1975), p. 34. 14. One of us, VD, has already written about these ravens and Heinrich’s work with them. The other, TvD, started work on this chapter without having read that paper (only recently translated into English). Both being captivated by the same ravens, we continued this

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16. 17. 18. 19.

20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

26. 27.

28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34.

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conversation together and this chapter is the result. See Vinciane Despret, ‘The Enigma of the Raven’, trans. Jeffrey Bussolini, Angelaki 20:2 (2015). Bruno Latour, ‘A Well Articulated Primatology: Reflexions of a Fellow Traveller’, in Shirley Strum and Linda M. Fedigan (eds), Primate Encounters: Models of Science, Gender and Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000). Amotz Zahavi and Avishag Zahavi, The Handicap Principle: A Missing Piece of Darwin’s Puzzle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997). Thelma Rowell, interview in the document base, ‘Non Sheepish Sheep’, Vinciane Despret and Didier Demorcy, document made for the exhibition Making Things Public, 2003. William D. Hamilton, ‘The Genetical Evolution of Social Behaviour, I and II’, Journal of Theoretical Biology 7:1 (1964), pp. 17–52. Jennifer Ackerman, Chance in the House of Fate: A Natural History of Heredity (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002), p.141. This statement is a good example of a general tendency in many evolutionary discourses that is discussed in more detail below. Haldane’s overly rational, overly quantified claim bleeds over into a motivational space. While insisting that behaviour is the result of evolutionary forces (ultimate causes) and cannot be equated with conscious motives (proximate causes), framing like this – ‘I would lay down my life . . .’ – ends up presenting the motivational drives of individuals as mere copies of evolutionary forces: as if cooperative actors were some kind of rational economic agents ‘really’ just taking care of their genetic patrimony. Sachs et al., ‘The Evolution of Cooperation’, p. 137. Robert L. Trivers, ‘The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism’, Quarterly Review of Biology (1971), pp. 35–57; Axelrod and Hamilton, ‘The Evolution of Cooperation’. Sachs et al., ‘The Evolution of Cooperation’. As is discussed below, this understanding has been challenged in recent work by Thomas Bugnyar and colleagues. Heinrich, ‘Food Sharing in the Raven’, p. 294. Ibid. p. 294. But see the discussion of the work of Thomas Bugnyar below for an alternative account of group formation amongst this species in Austria. It remains an open question as to whether Common Raven food sharing in New England is at all similar to that practised in the Austrian Alps. The question needs to be asked, but we certainly can’t assume commonality of behaviour on the basis of species. Frans B. M. de Waal, ‘Putting the Altruism Back into Altruism: The Evolution of Empathy’, Annual Review of Psychology 59 (2008), p. 280. Evelyn Fox Keller, ‘Competition: Current Usages’, in Evelyn Fox Keller and Elisabeth A. Lloyd (eds), Keywords in Evolutionary Biology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), p. 69. Val Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 143. Val Plumwood, Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), p. 34. Keller, ‘Competition’, pp. 68–73. See also Robert McIntosh, ‘Competition: Historical Perspectives’, in Keller and Lloyd, Keywords. Keller, ‘Competition’. Ibid. p. 72. Joan Roughgarden, The Genial Gene (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009), p. 12; Denis Noble, ‘Neo-Darwinism, the Modern Synthesis and Selfish Genes: Are They of Use in Physiology?’, Journal of Physiology 589:5 (2011), pp. 1007–15. Roughgarden, Genial Gene, p. 12. We have omitted some of the more ‘gene-centric’ phrasing in this quote, which, in our opinion, overemphasises the significance of genetic

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36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

41. 42. 43. 44.

45. 46.

47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55.

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thom van dooren and vinciane despret inheritance in these processes. This change has not altered the relevant aspects of this quote for the purposes of the current discussion. In addition, we remain uncertain about this characterisation, which seems to imply a hard – even if complex – distinction between cooperation and competition (as is discussed in more detail below). Lee A. Dugatkin, Cooperation among Animals: An Evolutionary Perspective (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). Heinrich, ‘Food Sharing in the Raven’, p. 306. Michael Mesterton-Gibbons and Lee A. Dugatkin, ‘On the Evolution of Delayed Recruitment to Food Bonanzas’, Behavioral Ecology 10:4 (1999), pp. 377–90. Bernd Heinrich and John Marzluff, ‘Why Ravens Share’, American Scientist (1995), pp. 342–9. Bernd Heinrich, ‘Winter Foraging at Carcasses by Three Sympatric Corvids, with Emphasis on Recruitment by the Raven, Corvus corax’, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 23 (1988), pp. 141–56; ‘Food Sharing in the Raven’; Ravens in Winter; Bernd Heinrich and John Marzluff, ‘Do Common Ravens Yell Because They Want to Attract Others?’ Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 28:1 (1991), pp. 13–21; ‘Why Ravens Share’. Heinrich and Marzluff, ‘Why Ravens Share’, p. 342. Heinrich and Marzluff, ‘Do Common Ravens Yell’. Heinrich, ‘Food Sharing in the Raven’. See, for example, Anna Braun and Thomas Bugnyar, ‘Social Bonds and Rank Acquisition in Raven Nonbreeder Aggregations’, Animal Behaviour 84:6 (2012), pp. 1507–15; Anna Braun, Thomas Walsdorff, Orlaith N Fraser and Thomas Bugnyar, ‘Socialized SubGroups in a Temporary Stable Raven Flock?’, Journal of Ornithology 153:1 (2012), pp. 97–104; Thomas Bugnyar, Maartje Kijne and Kurt Kotrschal, ‘Food Calling in Ravens: Are Yells Referential Signals?’, Animal Behaviour 61:5 (2001), pp. 949–58; Georgine Szipl and Thomas Bugnyar, ‘Craving Ravens: Individual “Haa” Call Rates at Feeding Sites as Cues to Personality and Levels of Fission-Fusion Dynamics?’, Animal Behavior and Cognition 1:3 (2014), pp. 265–80; Georgine Szipl, Markus Boeckle, Claudia A. F. Wascher, Michela Spreafico and Thomas Bugnyar, ‘With Whom to Dine? Ravens’ Responses to Food-Associated Calls Depend on Individual Characteristics of the Caller’, Animal Behaviour 99 (2015), pp. 33–42. This work challenges the foundation of Heinrich’s solution to this puzzle, discussed below. George W. Barlow and Thelma E. Rowell, ‘The Contribution of Game Theory to Animal Behaviour’, Behavioural and Brain Sciences 7:1 (1984), pp. 101–3. Nor can this be taken up as a straightforward comparison in which the question is ‘do they benefit more from sharing than not sharing?’ This question assumes that both options are open to them, it ignores all of the other social, environmental, etc., constraints that play a role in the emergence of the behaviour. This is a general problem with this scholarship on cooperation. Szipl et al., ‘With Whom to Dine?’ Derek Ratcliffe, The Raven (London: A. & C. Black, 2010), p. 104. Szipl et al., ‘With Whom to Dine?’ Heinrich and Marzluff, ‘Why Ravens Share’. Ibid. p. 349. Heinrich, Ravens in Winter; Heinrich and Marzluff, ‘Why Ravens Share’. Heinrich, ‘Food Sharing in the Raven’. Ibid. pp. 302–3. In part this approach is also a product of the practicalities of doing science: it is much harder to isolate and test if multiple causes are part of the explanation. In this context, good explanations require purified causes. There is a related pattern at work in the desire to understand altruism and selfishness themselves in black and white terms: from this

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57. 58.

59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65.

66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71.

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perspective both are easier to give an account of, to predict and measure. When both parties benefit in complex mutualisms, when both parties’ interests must be weighed and balanced, there are now two (sets of) reasons. Two reasons is too many. In corvid worlds it is remarkable how much public relations work is grounded in efforts to cultivate human respect and care on the basis that these birds are intellectually and emotionally complex creatures. Keller, ‘Competition’, p. 71. Questioning the centrality of competition in this way also draws our attention to the assumed priority of ‘individualism’ in our accounts, the two having tended to go hand in hand. It is, therefore, no surprise that underlying a great deal of work on the evolution of cooperation is an assumption that ‘life in common’ is fragile and fleeting; that it readily breaks down and disintegrates without constant maintenance. Unfortunately, we do not have the space here to offer a detailed analysis of the problematic nature of assumed individualism in evolutionary theory. Eileen Crist, Images of Animals: Anthropomorphism and Animal Mind (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999), p. 139. de Waal, ‘Putting the Altruism Back’, p. 281. Ibid. p. 282. As de Waal notes here, there are many forms of empathy; not all of them involve clear motivational states or intentions to help others. Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 2. Ibid. p. 2. Richard Dawkins, A Devil’s Chaplain: Selected Essays (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003), pp. 2–9. See for example Linda Fedigan and Laurence Fedigan, ‘Gender and the Study of Primates’, in Sandra Morgan (ed.), Critical Reviews of Gender and Anthropology: Implications for Teaching and Research (Washington, DC: American Anthropological Association, 1989); Evelyn Fox Keller, ‘Feminism and Science’, in Elizabeth Abel and Emily Abel (eds), Women, Gender and Scholarship (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1983); Donna Haraway, ‘Animal Sociology and a Natural Economy of the Body Politic, Part 1: A Political Physiology of Dominance’, in Abel and Abel, Women, Gender and Scholarship; Donna Haraway, Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science (New York and London: Routledge, 1989); Londa Shiebinger, Has Feminism Changed Science? (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999). Keller, ‘Competition’, p. 69. Crist, Images of Animals, pp. 141–2. Ibid. p. 142. Heinrich and Marzluff, ‘Why Ravens Share’, p. 342. Ibid. p. 349. Heinrich and Marzluff, ‘Do Common Ravens Yell’. Our discussion of this article also draws on an email dialogue with John Marzluff in late 2015 where he generously provided feedback on a draft of this paper and our interpretation of his research. Ibid. p. 13. Here we can only speculate. Dominant birds might inhibit others’ calling for a range of reasons, including because they want only their social allies to attend, or because they don’t like listening to other ravens. If these additional callers are not needed to establish a posse, then why share the calling with others? Most fundamentally, however, we have trouble understanding how ravens who hear and respond to the food-related calls of others wouldn’t have some sense that their calls would be heard and elicit similar responses. Might calling birds be doing multiple things at once, balancing multiple agendas and outcomes (theirs and others’)? Some of these findings – which it should be noted were generated within the confines of an aviary, with all of the associated social consequences (see Rowell,

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thom van dooren and vinciane despret ‘The Concept of Social Dominance’) – differ from those of Bugnyar and colleagues, who, for example, found that subordinates did most of the calling amongst free-living ravens in Austria. See Szipl et al., ‘With Whom to Dine?’ Isabelle Stengers, Power and Invention: Situating Science (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997). Thelma E. Rowell, ‘The Concept of Social Dominance’, Behavioural Biology 11:2 (1974), pp. 131–54. Corey J. A. Bradshaw and Warren W. White, ‘Rapid Development of Cleaning Behaviour by Torresian Crows Corvus orru on Non-Native Banteng Bos javanicus in Northern Australia’, Journal of Avian Biology 37:4 (2006), pp. 409–11. Carla Hustak and Natasha Myers, ‘Involutionary Momentum: Affective Ecologies and the Sciences of Plant/Insect Encounters’, differences 23:3 (2012), pp. 74–118.

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12 Extinction Matthew Chrulew and Rick De Vos

W

e live in an era of extinction. Blockbuster films and nightly news stories fixate on threats to human existence, whether viral contagion or alien annihilation. Scientists warn of humanity’s destructive impacts, endangering other species and the fragile ecologies on which all depend. Orangutans in shrinking forests and polar bears on melting ice floes threaten to go ‘the way of the dodo’ – or the mammoth, passenger pigeon, thylacine or any other in the litany of animals whose name has come to signify above all their very non-existence, and the spectre of human culpability in their disappearance. These encroaching extinctions take on enormous significance – global, species-wide, evolution-historical, preventable, blameworthy – even as we despair of their irreversibility and meaninglessness. In each case, as each unique way of being in the world slips away, we are shaken by existential nothingness anew. What is the role of the humanities in understanding and responding to extinction? What contribution might be made by animal studies – that most recent, still developing and heavily contested interdisciplinary field – to this vexing problem? And how might confronting the disquieting question of extinction transform or clarify the methods and motives of animal studies itself? Extinction matters. It is not just an evolutionary inevitability or an apocalyptic obsession but a confronting, annihilating event. It demands more than quantifying lists and managerial interventions, more than appeals to save species and genes. It calls for the invention of modes of multispecies scholarship and storytelling capable of articulating the full diversity of subjects, relationships and responsibilities involved. In particular, what extinction reveals is the fragile labour that goes into the reproduction of unique forms of life: both animals’ own modes of intergenerational cultural transmission, and the anthropogenic apparatuses that work to protect them. To become adequate to the problem of extinction, animal studies must tarry at these extremes and make itself a space of truly interdisciplinary innovation. Paying attention to the cultures of extinction – both the human cultures that produce, understand, articulate and resist it, and the often objectified animal cultures that are so crucially threatened and trickily secured – reveals the complex interconnections of humans and non-humans in the making and unmaking of meaningful worlds. *** Once upon a time . . . there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of ‘world history’, but

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nevertheless, it was only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die. (Friedrich Nietzsche)1

*** The humanities have taken up the provocation of extinction in a number of curious ways. One particular strand of theory has reflected on the inevitability of human extinction, or that of the universe itself, as a thought experiment designed to upset our conceptual indolence. At some point in the future (as in the past), humans will not exist, the world will be without us – and we need to face up to this fact, to think beyond the limits of the human. Often beginning from Nietzsche’s famed fable of the clever ape on a minor planet, whose invention of truth matters naught given the inexorable end of human and indeed all life, the nihilistic truth of extinction is revealed as the ultimate horizon of thought.2 For Claire Colebrook, extinction as a thought experiment and cultural imaginary poses a distinctive challenge to the humanities, and demands a theoretical response that takes into account the finitude of the human and pushes beyond it to the disembodied image and a world without bodies.3 Beginning from ‘looming extinction’ as ‘the condition of the present’ – both the anthropogenic extinction of other species, and the contemporary cultural obsession with human self-extinction (whether by destroying our climate or impairing our very neurological identity) – she pushes against the reaction formation of much humanities theory, with its focus on life, embodiment, affect, experience, practice and indeed animals, and its concepts of environment, climate, globe and cosmos, and advances the creative destruction of a radical inhumanism that might offer a counter-ethos beyond life and the human as we know it.4 Extinction is indeed productive (or destructive) to think with, a fundamental horizon for philosophy today. Yet alongside the profound consequences of the threat of global destruction or the inevitability of cosmic entropy, the extinction of animal species is often disregarded as mundane and trivial. Compared to the scandal of human extinction, that of other species – when it is even thematised – is figured chiefly as a sign of human destructiveness, with non-human animals confined to the status of material evidence, meekly testifying to the power of a world-forming and worlddestroying species. Indeed, Colebrook dismisses animal studies and much posthumanism as a reactive, organicist detour, an ultimately nihilistic and ultrahumanistic hangover.5 Yet the real looming extinction, the most imminent threat of annihilation, menaces not human beings but the worlds and lives of other species. Rather than imagined human destruction, it is the actually occurring extinctions of non-human animals that are the most pressing challenge to thought and practice, that most urgently call us into question. While imagining the future disappearance of Homo sapiens might help to reevaluate our values in revealing ways in this time of posthumanism, climate change and the Anthropocene, it remains inadequate to treat extinction merely as a ‘formal problem’ and a ‘thought experiment’, albeit an ‘unsustainable’ one.6 We are existentially confronted by the widespread and escalating disappearances of animal species, those

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others who make us human even as we unmake their worlds.7 Animal extinctions matter in themselves – acutely, uniquely, unspeakably. And, therefore, they matter for us, wounding our profound dependence on this diverse non-human multitude, not only economically or ecologically but cognitively, culturally and spiritually. Genuine horror lies in the ordinary meaning of biological extinction, the irreversible loss of a form of life, a uniquely evolved non-human kind whose perspective on and vital involvement in the world has forever been extinguished. Our contention is that confronting this horror and its significance is an essential task for the contemporary humanities. Indeed – if it is willing to open itself up to wider problems and approaches, to find itself destabilised in the face of the question of extinction – it is one which animal studies is uniquely equipped to undertake. The devaluation to which animals have long been consigned within humanism seems only to be repeated in these inhuman thought experiments. Perhaps the fable our era most needs to confront is not that of disanthropy, the extinction of humankind,8 of the finitude of human cleverness or the ultimate disappearance of all worlds, but what is, in a sense, its inverse, or at least a more particular and desolate emerging horizon or dead end: a world in which the human is the only animal remaining. A world bereft of animal worlds, a world in which the valuation of animal life as nothing has been made true. *** Dunkleosteus terrelli, a colossal armoured prehistoric fish, lived in inshore waters around what are now the continents of North America and Europe about 360 million years ago. Their heads were covered in heavy, articulated plates, their bodies and tails in scales.9 As apex predators, they hunted and devoured large fish, sharks and each other with their quick and powerful jaws equipped with sharp, blade-like plates, swallowing and regurgitating the bones of their prey.10 The late Devonian period experienced a widespread anoxic event in ocean regions, where either increases in volcanic activity, the slowing of ocean currents or increased levels of nutrients resulting from the flourishing of terrestrial plant life caused massive algal blooms and a severe depletion of oxygen. Corals and marine invertebrates were immediately affected, their deaths triggering a catastrophic wave of extinctions that came to be known as the Kellwasser Event. As a large, endemic inhabitant of shallow tropical seas, Dunkleosteus terrelli was particularly vulnerable to these adverse changes and, along with nearly three-quarters of all animal species at the time, disappeared forever. The marine species that emerged around twenty million years after the event, including sharks and predatory fish, tended to be smaller and less specialised than the armoured giant that preceded them. *** Extinction is not just a supercharged fantasy or uncanny certainty: it is a fundamental part of life. Taking an evolutionary and ecological point of view, extinction can be understood as ‘natural’ or ‘normal’. Nearly all species that have ever existed have gone extinct – either evolved or died out. Indeed, the transformation or disappearance

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of species can be seen as an operative creative force in the evolution of the living. It was not always understood as such; Christian theology could not countenance God’s neglect of his creatures, and Victorian scientists penned numerous justifications for inexplicable fossils before the possibility of them no longer inhabiting the earth was admitted.11 Yet by the time Darwin and Wallace propounded their theories of evolution by natural selection, extinction had come to be conceived as a central, destructively productive element of the struggle for existence and the diversification of life. From ankylosaurus to pteranodon, from Dunkleosteus terrelli to Tiktaalik roseae – from the perspective of deep time, every life form that has worked its way into any success at survival has ultimately met with death. (Except, of course, those presently existing.) Yet the rate of extinction is not always constant. Drawing on the conventional scientific distinction between background and mass extinction, David Raup argues that Darwinian accounts of extinction as constituent of evolution fail to account for why some adaptable species have died out in a short space of time. For this to take place a widespread, rapid, novel environmental shock is necessary, one that transgresses the reach of natural selection.12 Mass extinction events fundamentally transform and reshape the biosphere, giving rise to unlikely survivors in the wake of the disappearance of established forms of life. While such changes are neither natural nor selective in an ordinary evolutionary sense, they have shaped future evolution in decisive ways.13 And today? Those presently existing are fewer and fewer. Historical losses recapitulate deep time impacts in widespread, rapid, novel, shocking ways. Still we are offered that jaundiced banality: everything goes extinct . . . what does it matter? Yet the how and why of any one extinction is not that of another. Our present moment has its particularities, its kinks in the continuity and catastrophe of ‘natural’ history. A meteor is not a volcano is not an eight-lane highway. Extinction is all around us, and we are caught up in processes contributing to the loss of many kinds of life. They all have their own sets of historical entanglements – colonisation, capitalism, development, deforestation, disease – and they all have their own stories. Some we know about, fret about, list and film and shelter; others quietly slip away without our even knowing who they were. But each of them matters. Each is the loss of a unique way of being in the world. The deep time temporality afforded by evolution and geology does not give licence to entirely relativise or devalue the significance of historical extinctions with clear political and economic drivers. Extinction matters; animal extinctions matter – though as we will see, it is not always straightforward to whom they matter and how. It is important to ‘stay with the trouble’, as Donna Haraway puts it, and to stay ‘in the here and now’, as Johannes Fabian might – that is to say, to refuse to deny coevality, in the way that anthropological writing historically consigned research participants and interlocutors to the role of ‘other’, representatives of cultures past.14 Human and non-human animals are both coeval and co-constitutive. And it is particular species, and ecosystems, and communities that are consequentially entangled each time in spirals of destruction and its resistance. *** On 25 June 2012, news outlets throughout the world announced that Lonesome George, the last surviving Pinta Island tortoise, had died the day before at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz in the Galápagos Islands. The Pinta Island

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tortoise population had been decimated by French and British buccaneers and whaling crews, who hunted and ate them between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. By the mid-twentieth century they were presumed to be extinct until a field scientist saw Lonesome George in 1971. No other Pinta Island tortoise has been found since. George had frequently been referred to in his final years as the rarest creature in the world. *** The anthropogenic extinction of other species is not a far-off inevitability or fantastical thought experiment: it is the very situation of the world today. Animal kinds are disappearing at excessive rates and scales that are recognisably the result of human activity. Any philosophy that purports to do its duty of thinking from contemporary events must confront this horrifying eventuality in its full existential significance, as both alarming fact and revaluing fable. These extinctions matter – clearly, to conservationists, who expend enormous effort in identifying, protecting and rescuing threatened species. Yet extinctions and attempts to combat them are also entangled with numerous other cultural values, often in conflict, with ways of mattering that exceed those of science and conservation. Lonesome George was one of those charismatic individuals who became a lightning rod for the melancholic narration of extinction – ‘the last of his kind’.15 His death added to the overwhelming succession of extinctions that characterises this current epoch, in which an estimated one hundred out of every million species disappears each year, at a rate up to a thousand times higher than natural background rates.16 The range of animals affected and the accelerated pace of the loss signals another mass extinction event, but this time one generated by a living species, that Homo sapiens that seems for some to find its apotheosis, and very identity, in destroying the environment of itself and others. It is this extraordinary spike of faunal extinction among many other climatic and ecological factors that has provoked some to dub the current geological era the Anthropocene.17 And it is the diagnosis of the anthropogenic drivers of these extinctions – including habitat loss, overexploitation, pollution, introduced species, climate change and further cascades of collapse – that consumes environmental and social scientists as they seek to stem the tide. Yet, if one probes a little further, the story of Lonesome George also problematises these overarching narratives and their universalising tendency. As Jill Constantino relates, the evolutionary time frames by which the tortoises are scientifically categorised as endemic to the archipelago collide with the historical time frames by which local residents articulate belonging and recognition.18 The Galápagos Islands have themselves become metonymic for evolutionary interconnectedness, the web of variation, adaptation and selection discerned by Darwin on the Beagle voyage. Today, Western conservation work on the islands – which seeks to exclude human presence and eradicate the non-native flora and fauna that accompany it, all while diminishing its own impact – overshadows the claims of Ecuadoran fishermen who have lived there for generations (but not long enough to be considered ‘natives’). Yet while conservation science might only see endangered native species and interloping human threats, taking an anthropological perspective reveals how human and non-human communities are inextricably intertwined – and in conflict – in this celebrated ‘evolutionary

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laboratory’. The value attached to faunal endemism (and pristineness) in general, and the ‘tortoise dynasty’ in particular, personified in Lonesome George, diminishes the fishermen’s legitimacy and pits their livelihoods against conservationism. Their very presence becomes out of place; speaking for themselves only signals their unnatural disturbance. In this context, identifying with protected non-human kin becomes a strategy of belonging and survival, a troubled negotiation between historical and evolutionary time. It is these sorts of conflicts and contexts that are often lost in grand narratives about a species out of place and homogenising models of human impact. In scientific generalising about extinction, an embedded biological anthropology tends to reduce all forms of human activity and social organisation to disturbance and destruction, disregarding the specificities of political and economic systems, the different vulnerabilities of racialised or impoverished groups, and indeed, often, the creative and restorative possibilities of human involvement. In some of these grand narratives, the prehistoric megafauna extinctions and those resulting from modern colonialism and development all form part of the single broad sweep of a uniquely destructive species.19 The opening up of deep time perspectives can be an important counter to tropes of pre-colonial wilderness and the noble savage. But when biology and ecology overshadow economy and society and forms of cultural difference, evidence for the environmental transformations produced by early human migrations often has the effect of defusing postcolonial critiques of the environmental and cultural devastation accompanying European invasion and settlement.20 Faced with the reality of the current mass extinction event, it is easy to get drawn into such abstract, epic modes of thought. But staying with the trouble in the here and now means paying attention to the specific contexts and entanglements of extinction, its multiple and contested causes and the varying ways in which systematic processes are played out in local circumstances. Rose and van Dooren point out that extinctions (and other ecological risks and harms) are unevenly distributed geographically, accumulating in certain critical zones and disproportionately affecting poor and rural communities.21 They do not only affect single species but often spiral into co-extinctions, as diseases and poisons spread, or as the loss of pollinators, apex predators or other niche actors wounds entire ecosystems. They do not only affect animals, but also the human communities who rely on them as kin for meaningful and material co-existence. And often attempts to halt these declines, whether the enclosure of zoos or the interventions of in situ conservation, impoverish the animals’ lives in their own ways. Without losing sight of the overall problem, it will be important to problematise extinctions in the plural, along with the multiple discourses and silences, practices and counter-practices by which they come to matter. Anthropological and cultural approaches attending to conflicts around conservation and biodiversity, and to the genres and narratives by which extinction is known and represented, have helped to pluralise extinctions and to draw attention to their diverse and contested meanings. The work of Ursula Heise and Genese Sodikoff has been important in highlighting the competing values attached to endangered species and the cultural logics by which extinction is mobilised. Indeed, extinction can be seen as a driver of contemporary cultural production and consumption: ‘Just as the death of biotic species clears space for emergent creatures, extinction events propel the evolution of cultural productions, including science and technology, politics, history, and art.’22 Alongside forms of quantification and measurement, practices of

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enunciation, representation and performance are central to the problematisation of extinction, to the valuing of rareness and nostalgia for the declining.23 Analysing the cultures of extinction enables a wider understanding of the values and narratives, anxieties and impulses at play, and of ‘how extinction events have been experienced, recognised, interpreted, and deployed as catalysts for social change’ – that is, the new ways of understanding the world that extinction produces.24 Such analysis helps negotiate the emerging and conflicted spaces where the politics of decolonisation and environmental justice challenge and find new alliances with those of ecology and animal rights, towards new visions of what Heise calls eco-cosmopolitanism and multispecies justice.25 Yet as much as such approaches enable us to think critically about the concepts, tropes and narratives that shape and often limit the options available to think about and respond to extinction, relying on a culturalist approach alone – conceiving of extinction chiefly in terms of its meaning and value for humans – leaves in place a certain anthropocentric disciplinary limit to understanding its significance. A broader, interdisciplinary biocultural approach seeks to comprehend the interconnection of ecological, biological and behavioural dimensions with the cultural, political and economic. The approach of the Extinction Studies Working Group, a scholarly collective researching the significance of extinction in hybrid multispecies communities, has been to pay attention to the contested, biocultural entanglement of each extinction story, the different ways in which human and non-human forms of life become entwined and unravelled.26 Combining in particular the perspectives afforded by anthropology, science studies and philosophy, and paying attention to questions of time, death and generations in revealing case studies, our aim has been to tell multi-layered, multispecies stories that articulate different modes of response and responsibility on the edge of extinction. In his exemplary work, Thom van Dooren argues that extinctions are not discrete taxonomic events but profound losses felt in myriad ways by all those living things whose past, present and future are intricately connected with those of the animal who has disappeared.27 The understanding of species as a far-reaching intergenerational lineage reveals extinction as a slow falling apart of entangled ways of living, interacting and surviving, an undoing with drastic implications for future generations. As Deborah Bird Rose writes, ‘if animal deaths are not “mere”, one way of understanding their fullness is through recollecting connectivity. The death of an animal creates a loss in the fabric of life, a loss that reverberates across other living beings, human and others.’28 *** Steller’s sea cow, a large marine mammal related to dugongs and manatees, inhabited the coastal regions of the North Pacific Ocean from the Ice Age, its numbers and range gradually contracting until they were restricted to the kelp forests surrounding the Commander Islands about two thousand years ago. Shipwrecked survivors from the Russian imperial voyage of exploration led by Vitus Bering encountered them in the winter of 1741. Georg Steller, a zoologist and botanist, noted that they were numerous in the shallow inlets surrounding the islands, with herds congregating so close to the shore that hunters could simply wade out to them. Upon returning to Russia the following year, Steller reported that the islands were rich in sea otters, Arctic blue foxes and northern fur seals. He also reported his discovery of the sea cows, providing an enthusiastic recommendation of their meat and fat. This almost

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immediately triggered a slew of private hunting and trading expeditions from Russia. While the traders and hunters targeted the prized fur of the sea otters, sea cows were killed indiscriminately to provision the hunting trips. It is estimated that the species was extinct by 1768, just twenty-seven years after Steller had proclaimed their existence and abundance.29 *** The majority of animal extinctions recorded since the late seventeenth century, when dodos were believed to have disappeared from the island of Mauritius, have been attributed to European imperialism and colonialism, in particular the activities of sailors, traders and settlers. Many species had disappeared in the preceding two centuries, before they had even been identified and described, particularly those endemic to islands where they had no escape or defence from sailors, soldiers, cats and rats. Political, legal and military forces and discourses were employed in effecting and justifying new commercial activities in Africa, Asia and South America. European scientists also profited from these activities, their modes of knowledge facilitated and reinforced by colonial regimes and in turn helping to justify the colonising project. Territories were invaded and settled, indigenous inhabitants subjected to violence and new structures and technologies of control, and natural resources exploited. Animals were killed for food, for commercial profit, for sport and for research, without any concern that their numbers might be decreasing or that populations might not survive such targeted slaughter. While cultural representations of colonised spaces and their inhabitants as exotic and desirable reflected political and economic ambitions, their dissemination also had the effect of consigning the violence of colonial encounters to elsewhere, in frontiers far removed from metropolitan centres. Other perspectives and experiences were silenced and written over. The animals and plants present before such archived encounters were already engaged in relationships with each other and their environment. Oceanic environments in particular both contain and transgress enunciations of colonial subjection. Steller’s version of his encounter with sea cows conforms to a natural history narrative that elides spatial and temporal specificity. It is possible that the behaviour witnessed by Steller showed creatures in distress, or subjected to a loss of regular habitat or food supplies. The Commander Islands sea cow population, argued in recent studies to have been underestimated by eighteenth-century witnesses and subsequent estimates, represented the survival of the species for an estimated two million years in the face of dramatic environmental changes and sustained hunting.30 The agency and perspectives of non-human animals present in such encounters are forgotten in colonial stories of both discovery and extinction, enabling these narratives to be told and re-told as celebrations and condemnations of human actions. *** Great auks were large, flightless seabirds which once lived over a wide area of the North Atlantic along the North American and northern European coastlines. They spent almost all of their lives at sea, only coming ashore to breed on rocky, unpopulated islands. From the sixteenth century, European sailors viewed great auks as an almost inexhaustible

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source of meat, eggs and oil for marine voyages, while Icelandic, Norwegian and Russian feather traders saw them as a new source of wealth. As auk numbers dwindled, stuffed specimens, skins and eggs were relentlessly pursued in auctions, private galleries and the drawing rooms of collectors. By the start of the nineteenth century, only the islands off the Iceland coast appeared to be visited by great auks. Museum collectors, desperate to garner specimens for their institutions before the birds’ ultimate demise, despatched numerous parties to the islands constituting the great auks’ last refuge. The last pair was killed in 1844.31 *** As both a constitutive practice and as a consequence of colonial conquest, humans have collected live animals, and their skeletons, skins, feathers, shells, eggs and other body parts, drawing scientific, aesthetic and economic benefit from these activities. Collecting has the cultural effect of converting living or dead animals into exhibits or specimens, representatives of a particular country, geographical space, moment in time, or species. Zoos and museums use animal collections as points of reference for comparative knowledge, exchanging live, voucher or type specimens with other collecting institutions. Commercial trade in colonial specimens has generated new markets and market values, both of which have endured to the present day, fuelling an often illegal and lethal process of accumulation, expropriation and exchange. Collecting practices have entailed a high degree of animal mortality from trapping, snaring, stunning, shooting, electrocution, baiting, poisoning and drugging. Guns and other weapons have been specifically designed to kill animals in a way that produces as little damage as possible to the specimens thus produced. The display of specimens thus obscures the violence involved in producing them. The history of collecting in colonial contexts and its capitalist intensification is intertwined with that of extinction. The value of an animal as a life lived is violently transformed. The rarity of a specimen, particularly as a representative of an endangered or extinct animal, enhances its economic and social value. Specimens hold within them stories of discovery and accomplishment, affording exhibitors a degree of social status or scientific authority. At the same time they also hold stories of greed and barbarity, and a lack of regard for what is lost in the process of collection. While collections work to fix their meaning as wondrous and valuable objects, concealing the violence of their extraction, the fact that they are displayed and exposed provides an opportunity for other stories to be told, for other perspectives and lives to be revealed, and for new narratives to retrieve the absent experiences and ways of being. *** The baiji is or was a large freshwater dolphin found exclusively in parts of the Yangtze River. A number of legends in oral Chinese literature portray the dolphin as having transformed from a woman. Indeed, the baiji had been commonly referred to as the ‘goddess of the Yangtze’, and fishermen were said to have avoided purposefully catching them. The legends were intertwined with those of the ju, or Yangtze finless porpoise. Mixed schools of the two mammals were commonly seen up to the early 1960s.32 The Great Leap Forward ended their traditional veneration and led to targeted hunting.

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Once the top predator in a healthy riverine ecosystem, living sociable lives and feeding on a large range of fish, baiji fell victim to a dramatic increase in human population, shipping traffic and industrial activity, whose sewage, chemical and industrial waste poisoned their world, making it more turbid, less visible, and increasingly devoid of prey species. Fatal collisions with boats, entanglement in fishing gear, and illegal fishing practices led to smaller family groups and less contact with other baiji. The level of noise pollution was devastating for a mammal that made sense of its world through echolocation. The construction of the Three Gorges Dam, completed in 2006, coinciding with the last sighting of a baiji in the Yangtze, literally set in stone a world that no longer made space for them. The last baiji in captivity died in 2002, after spending 22 lonely years at a research institute.33 *** As the course of the twentieth century saw the colonial world cede to one of modernisation, with commercial and industrial progress reinforced by persistent colonial perspectives, rivers like the Yangtze experienced disintegration and reformation, fragmentation and rapid change. Their significance as bodies of water has been transformed by the concerns of modern society: order, speed, mobility, communication, travel, dynamism, revolution, reason. Their banks have changed from rural communities to urbanised societies and their flows have become articulated to capitalism, state regulation, industrialisation and globalisation. The significance of extinction is shaped in relation to modernisation: endangered species present a problem for administration, surveillance and local development regulations. Proposed solutions such as relocation and captive breeding perceive of loss and absence in terms of a scientific conception of species rather than the ending of a way of life tied to specific places and the generations of animals that have lived there. Heise argues that public discussion of species extinction often reduces it to simple notions and formulae. In particular, the concepts of species and biodiversity, subjects of detailed debate and contested definitions, are treated as resolved objects of knowledge.34 Accounts of individual species extinctions conflate scientific evidence, historical studies and value judgements to reflect both a general conception of the decline of nature and an emergent anxiety regarding modernisation. Her analysis of cultural artefacts of extinction – from toys, photos, novels and films to endangered species databases and laws – suggests the need to find alternative modes of environmentalism beyond such stories of decline and loss. In contrast to the tragic and elegiac modes of narrative utilised in response to modern development, other cultural forms such as comedy or fable might suggest an alternative understanding of nature – as informed by indigenous engagements and as continually and contingently changing in ways beyond control and prediction – and also enable us to recognise the entanglement of extinction in different stories, modes of resistance, surprising possibilities and new beginnings.35 *** Quaggas, equids related to plains and mountain zebras, lived in grazing herds on the Karoo, an arid region of the Cape provinces of southern Africa. They migrated west each winter to meet the monsoonal rains, along with springbok, black wildebeest and

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ostriches. Quaggas lived there for over a hundred thousand years, their lives shaped by their family groups, the animals they grazed with, their predators and their seasonal migrations. Over successive generations, quaggas accumulated embodied knowledge of their times, places and relationships, what was required to survive in their arid environment. European colonisation and the establishment of farms in the nineteenth century led to their exclusion from prime grazing sites and impeded their migrations. They were hunted for sport as well as for meat and hides. By the 1870s, the last quaggas in southern Africa had been killed, with the last captive dying in Amsterdam in 1889.36 Their way of life ended, however, not in the death of the last quagga in captivity, but much earlier, in the territorialisation of the Karoo, in the end of the migratory patterns by which they forged their identity, interacted and cooperated with black wildebeest and ostriches, and learned to survive. Attempts to bring them back from the dead led to the births of a number of selectively bred zebras that resembled quaggas, but lacked their knowledges, behaviours, social habits and connections to the rhythms of the Karoo. *** The recognition of ongoing habitat and biodiversity loss has given rise to numerous counter-extinction practices. Conservation biology was established as a forthrightly political science aiming to assess and combat the ecological crisis. And numerous lay practices of care and rehabilitation have emerged that contribute to the observation and protection of precarious animal lives. New communities and relationships are thus formed at the edge of extinction, new types of value and indeed new modes of being and relating. Yet the frontlines of the battles over wildlife are fraught and heavily contested. The preservation of ‘natives’ often involves the eradication of ‘invasives’, while the reproductive management of endangered species is often invasive in its own way. Such forms of smothering love or violent care have prompted calls for more compassionate conservation practices.37 The dominant mode of scientific environmental management, with its censuses and databases, often objectifies its targets as discrete genes and populations rather than communities of many interconnected species, lives and ways of being. And as much as conservation biologists attempt to erase their own disturbing effects on wildlife, important questions remain about the ways in which common practices such as trapping, sedation and tagging, and even observation itself, disrupt or transform the behaviour of the very animals being saved – undermining, or at least changing the meaning of, the preservationist work being performed. Such issues are intensified in the reintroduction to protected areas of captive-born animals, whose cognitive and cultural capacities for living in the wild, learned within intergenerational apprenticeships, have been disrupted or determined by the anthropogenic scientific apparatus in which they were raised. Such last-ditch efforts are justified as the only options remaining for species on the brink. Most controversial are the de-extinction projects to resurrect totemic creatures such as the Tasmanian tiger or woolly mammoth.38 Proposals to clone endangered or extinct species (including the gaur, banteng, South African wildcat and Sardinian mouflon sheep – as well as Lonesome George) from rare or preserved DNA, or to return long gone subspecies (or at least their characteristics) through backbreeding, often

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seem only to perpetuate the fantasies of technoscientific mastery and intervention that for many feminist and postcolonial critics are at the root of the environmental crisis itself.39 As Stephanie Turner argues, the ascendancy of genetics transforms the temporalities of evolution and history: ‘genome time’ and its vision of species as permutable information enables these heroic, redemptive projects to imagine the reversibility of extinction.40 Tracey Heatherington has likewise analysed the growing role of gene banking and cryopreservation as ex situ biodiversity conservation strategies alongside assisted reproduction and other forms of captive management. The rise of biotechnology produces new, often essentialist visions of what nature is and how it is produced, decontextualising endangered species from embedded relationships and cultural meanings.41 Yet technologies such as cloning are not only deployed in the service of genetic reductionism. Carrie Friese, for example, argues that cloning is in fact articulated with a range of visions and practices of diversity that open onto questions of epigenetics, behaviour and environment.42 Indeed, that which perhaps most profoundly emerges as a problem throughout scientific counter-extinction practices, from sampling and translocation to reintroduction and cloning, is the question of animal behaviour and culture. In their efforts to rescue endangered species, scientists often encounter failures or surprising results – whether the inadvertent taming of tagged animals, unexpected deaths on reintroduction, or the low viability of clones – as their objectifying models are tested and come up against their limits. In particular, what the after-effects of these interventions reveal is the significance of intergenerational inheritance in the perpetuation of species, an inheritance not only genetic but learned and cultural in often unrecognised ways. It is this fragile and complex relational gift – by which an animal relates to its ancestors, by which the wisdom of the dead is passed on – that extinction most harmfully unravels and to which counter-extinction practices must attend. *** September 1st, 1914, 1 p.m., Cincinnati Zoo, Ohio. Martha, the last female [passenger pigeon], miraculously preserved in captivity until then, passed away on the floor of her cage. She was 29 years old. Her companion had died four years earlier. The two had been the species’ last chance. They declined. They preferred not to leave any descendants behind. (Vinciane Despret)43 *** Extinction matters. And it is essential to attend to the cultures of extinction – to the varied discourses and practices by which extinction becomes known and problematised, by which it is spread and resisted – to understand how and why extinction comes to matter for different people, at different times and places. Yet it is imperative not to allow human ‘culture’ to become a methodological or epistemological limit obscuring animal lives, but to open it up to what has often been its disavowed other: the meaning-making, world-forming cultural capabilities of animals. For it is in fact just this which the cultural analysis of many conservation and de-extinction practices reveals: their tendency to reduce animal life and behaviour to genetic, biological and ecological mechanisms, to focus on sexual reproduction at the expense of cultural reproduction.

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The poverty of this attitude is laid bare in the poverty of the worlds often created for the animals purported to be rescued or resurrected – animal as ‘poor in world’ indeed. Yet what this reminder demands of both the cultural approaches of the humanities and the biological approaches of the sciences is to attend to the ethopolitical domain in between, the realm of animal sociality, custom and significance, of character and charisma, of habits and rituals by which they form their lives and give meaning to their worlds.44 This is revealed most palpably by attending to extinction. Martha – the last of her kind, another endling icon of species death – embodies the bleak spectacle of an animal excised from its world, lacking wingmates, a creature so overwhelmed by capitalist modernity’s interspecies economic warfare as to be left bereft of her entire species. Such crushing oblivion. So much is lost. More than just another futile imagined death of the human, it is this that the multispecies multiplication of the existential meditation we opened with ought to produce: a deeply unsettling awareness of the subjective, communal voids with which each animal extinction wounds the world. The loss of a species does not simply evacuate an ecological niche or disrupt the exchange of metabolic energy or cycles of pollination; it is not just the loss of genes holding potential knowledge or benefit for human beings. The world loses musical and meaningful cries, the sky-darkening and earth-trampling of migrating flocks and herds. Distinctive ways of sensing and perceiving, of being in and with the world, irreparably withdraw into silence.45 As Vinciane Despret puts it in her philosophical and poetic meditation on the disappearance of the passenger pigeon, and the desert skies they left behind: ‘It is an entire world that has disappeared.’ This wounding recognition is itself often lost in the burdened and didactic discourse around animal extinctions. Mick Smith explores the question of interpreting and ethically responding to the loss of a unique species: ‘A moral tale of past malpractice, an indictment of modernity’s darker side, an emblem of environmentalism: the “passenger pigeon” is all of these. Yet, strangely, with every telling, such histories seem only to ensure that the bird itself recedes further into the background.’46 This is what Despret evokes so touchingly in her fable, decentring the question of how and for whom extinction matters. To forget it would be criminal, but for all that we work to memorialise and even to mourn this vanished voyageuse – and certainly, for all that might be done today to restore its genetic replica – it is the passenger pigeon itself that is gone, and it is the entire world that has lost this singular clamouring presence and that now ‘bursts with its absence’. Smith has elsewhere fleshed out the singular loss of a world that is each extinction.47 Like every individual death, an extinction is eternal – irreplaceable lives irredeemably lost. Reading Jakob von Uexküll as a phenomenologist of animal worlds alongside Jean-Luc Nancy on the singular plural ‘sense of the world’, he articulates a notion of ecological community comprised of appearances, effects, meanings and experiences, from which humans are neither excepted nor exempt (as much as they might try).48 Such ecological community is irrevocably altered with every extinction – the loss of a species of manifestations and creative involvements in the world, a loss of significance for it and experiential openness on to it. All these things are missed, all these things matter – though often opaquely so – and the loss echoes through and touches every other being constituted in common. Indeed, ‘Perhaps, one might even say, the realisation of ecological community only begins to make sense through the

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senseless event of extinction.’49 It is here on the edge, at the existential extremes to which extinction leads us, bearing witness to the collapse and ruination of forms of life, that we are most disturbingly made aware of the precarious entanglement that constitutes the hybrid communities we share. This burgeoning diversity exceeds the nihilistic and narcissistic obsession with the future disappearance of human beings: ‘While thinking about extinction might bring to mind both our own, all too short residency, as somewhat singular beings in this world (after all, eternity is a limit we all have to our being in common) it might also bring to mind the ecological plurality that precedes, informs and may (or in many cases may not) survive us.’50 The existential loss of extinction does indeed matter: tremblingly confronted, it revalues values and unsettles thinking. It should also bring us to reconsider and reshape our ways of being, to seek out new ways of composing multispecies worlds. *** Once upon a time, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented the nothingness of dumb beasts. This was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of ‘world history’, a minute that compressed and released the geological power of an epoch. With every breath of the clever beasts, the dumb beasts had to die. Yet it came to pass that the ‘clever’ beasts were mortally wounded by the invented and accomplished nothingness of these familiar others . . . *** Extinction, and the practices and cultures that surround it, takes us to the edge. It reveals the fullness of relationships to the living and the dead that are necessary for a form of life to survive, let alone to live well. It thus reveals the range of problems and methods to which animal studies must attend if it is to respond adequately to the alarming deterioration of such interknitting gifts. Beyond questions of rights and suffering, animal studies must open itself up to these wider processes of intergenerational inheritance, and their unravelling. Given that, as Bateson said, ‘the unit of survival is a flexible organism-in-its-environment’51 – and that these sustaining milieus are and must be renewed as meaningful as well as corporeal – animal studies must engage productively with, and indeed itself become a zone of translation for, other interdisciplinary fields, from the environmental humanities and the sciences of conservation to biosemiotics, phenomenology and philosophical ethology. It must understand and analyse human cultural understandings and representations of animals without being bound by them. Rather, it must confront the nature of animal cultures – an empirical as well as theoretical question – and give shape to animal perspectives and worlds. Only such an integrative approach will be adequate to the multifaceted problem and existential question posed by extinction today. Animal studies seeks to challenge the nothingness to which humanism has consigned animals – the very nothingness that humanist exceptionalism has in fact produced in driving species after species to extinction as if they do not matter, as if ‘man’ were truly an island, perpetually drawing his own face on a lonesome shipwrecked shore. Animal studies insists that human evaluations are not all that matters; that animals make their own meaningful, valuing and valuable worlds; that we are constituted

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with other beings, and cannot live, materially or meaningfully, without the nourishment of the diversity of animality. It insists that animals matter – and it must insist that extinction matters too, for us, for animals, for the world. Facing up to the era of mass extinction and its destruction of non-human worlds disrupts the all too human imaginary of apocalypse at the same time as it replenishes our awareness of the colourful significance and precious precarity that we share with animal lives.

Notes 1. Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘On Truth and Lie in a Nonmoral Sense’, in Daniel Breazeale, ed. and trans., Philosophy and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche’s Notebooks of the early 1870s (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1979). 2. Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction (Houndmills and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). 3. Claire Colebrook, Death of the PostHuman: Essays on Extinction, vol. 1 (London: Open Humanities Press, 2014). 4. Ibid. p. 43. 5. Ibid. pp. 159–61, 167–9ff. 6. Ibid. pp. 32, 27, 28. 7. Paul Shepard, The Others: How Animals Made Us Human (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1996). 8. See Greg Garrard, ‘Worlds Without Us: Some Types of Disanthropy’, SubStance 41:1 (2012), pp. 40–60. 9. Robert K. Carr, ‘Paleoecology of Dunkleosteus terrelli (Placodermi: Arthrodire)’, Kirtlandia 57 (2010), pp. 36–45. 10. Phillip S. Anderson and Mark W. Westneat, ‘Feeding Mechanisms and Bite Force Modelling of the Skull of Dunkleosteus terrelli, an Ancient Apex Predator’, Biology Letters 3:1 (2007), p. 77. 11. A. Bowdoin Van Riper, Men among the Mammoths: Victorian Science and the Discovery of Human Prehistory (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993); Mark V. Barrow, Jr, Nature’s Ghosts: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2009). 12. David M. Raup, ‘The Role of Extinction in Evolution’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 91:15 (1994), pp. 6758–63. 13. Ibid. p. 6762. 14. Donna J. Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2016); Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983). On temporality and extinction, see Michelle Bastian, ‘Fatally Confused: Telling the Time in the Midst of Ecological Crises’, Journal of Environmental Philosophy 9:1 (2012), pp. 23–48. 15. On such endlings, see Rick De Vos, ‘Extinction Stories: Performing Absence(s)’, in Laurence Simmons and Philip Armstrong (eds), Knowing Animals (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 183–95. On the melancholic modes by which extinction is most often narrated, see Ursula K. Heise, Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2016), pp. 32–50. 16. J. M. De Vos, L. N. Joppa, J. L. Gittleman, P. R. Stephens and S. L. Pimm, ‘Estimating the Normal Background Rate of Species Extinction’, Conservation Biology 29:2 (2014), p. 452. 17. See HARN Editorial Collective (eds), Animals in the Anthropocene: Critical Perspectives on Non-human Futures (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2015).

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18. Jill Constantino, ‘Tortoise Soup for the Soul: Finding a Space for Human History in Evolution’s Laboratory’, in Genese Marie Sodikoff (ed.), The Anthropology of Extinction: Essays on Culture and Species Death (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2012), pp. 89–102. 19. See Tim Flannery, The Future Eaters (Sydney: Reed New Holland, 1994). 20. See Vine Deloria Jr., Red Earth – White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact (Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 1997); Tom Griffiths, ‘Traveling in Deep Time: la longue durée in Australian History’, Australian Humanities Review 18 (2000); Paul Gillen, ‘Response to Tom Griffiths’, Australian Humanities Review 18 (2000). 21. Deborah Bird Rose and Thom van Dooren, ‘Extinctions’, in Barney Warf (ed.), Encyclopedia of Geography (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publishing, 2010). 22. Genese Marie Sodikoff, ‘Introduction: Accumulating Absence: Cultural Productions of the Sixth Extinction’, in Sodikoff, The Anthropology of Extinction, p. 2. 23. De Vos, ‘Extinction Stories’. 24. Sodikoff, ‘Introduction’, p. 3. 25. Heise, Imagining Extinction. 26. Available at (accessed 28 August 2017). We are members of this group, though not representatives. Our thought here is indebted to that of our colleagues and collaborators. See Deborah Bird Rose, Thom van Dooren and Matthew Chrulew (eds), Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death and Generations (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017). 27. Thom van Dooren, Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014). 28. Deborah Bird Rose, Wild Dog Dreaming: Love and Extinction (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011), pp. 22–3. 29. Leonard Stejneger, ‘How the Great Northern Sea-Cow (Rytina) Became Exterminated’, The American Naturalist 21:12 (1887), p. 1053. 30. S. T. Turvey and C. L. Risley, ‘Modelling the Extinction of Steller’s Sea Cow’, Biology Letters 2:1 (2006), p. 95. 31. B. A. Minteer, J. P. Collins, K. E. Love and R. Puschendorf, ‘Avoiding (Re)extinction’, Science 344:6181 (2014), p. 260. 32. Samuel T. Turvey et al., ‘First Human-Caused Extinction of a Cetacean Species?’ Biology Letters 3:5 (2007), pp. 537–40. 33. Samuel Turvey, Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River Dolphin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). 34. Heise, Imagining Extinction. 35. Ibid. pp. 50–4. 36. Rick De Vos, ‘Stripes Faded, Barking Silenced: Remembering Quagga’, Animal Studies Journal 3:1 (2014), pp. 29–45. 37. See Matthew Chrulew, ‘Managing Love and Death at the Zoo: The Biopolitics of Endangered Species Preservation’, Australian Humanities Review 50 (2011), pp. 137–57; Thom van Dooren, ‘A Day with Crows – Rarity, Nativity and the Violent-Care of Conservation’, Animal Studies Journal 4:2 (2015), pp. 1–28; Marc Bekoff (ed.), Ignoring Nature No More: The Case for Compassionate Conservation (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013). 38. See Carol Freeman, ‘Ending Extinction: The Quagga, the Thylacine and the “Smart Human”’, in Carol Gigliotti (ed.), Leonardo’s Choice: Genetic Technologies and Animals (New York: Springer, 2009), pp. 235– 56; Amy Fletcher, ‘Bring ’Em Back Alive: Taming the Tasmanian Tiger Cloning Project’, Technology in Society 30:2 (2008), pp. 194–201; Matthew Chrulew, ‘Hunting the Mammoth, Pleistocene to Postmodern’, Journal for Critical Animal Studies IX:1–2 (2011), pp. 32–47; Matthew Chrulew,

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40. 41.

42. 43. 44.

45. 46. 47. 48.

49. 50. 51.

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‘Reversing Extinction: Restoration and Resurrection in the Pleistocene Rewilding Projects’, Humanimalia 2:2 (2011), pp. 4–27. See Val Plumwood, Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason (London and New York: Routledge, 2002); Thom van Dooren and Deborah Bird Rose, ‘Keeping Faith with the Dead: Mourning and De-Extinction’, Australian Zoologist 2015. Stephanie S. Turner, ‘Open-Ended Stories: Extinction Narratives in Genome Time’, Literature and Medicine 26:1 (2007), pp. 55–82. Tracey Heatherington, ‘From Ecocide to Genetic Rescue: Can Technoscience Save the Wild?’, in Sodikoff, The Anthropology of Extinction, pp. 39–66. See also Matthew Chrulew, ‘Freezing the Ark: The Cryopolitics of Endangered Species Preservation’, in Joanna Radin and Emma Kowal (eds), Cryopolitics: Frozen Life in a Melting World (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017). Carrie Friese, Cloning Wild Life: Zoos, Captivity, and the Future of Endangered Animals (New York and London: New York University Press, 2013), p. 176ff. Vinciane Despret, ‘It Is an Entire World That Has Disappeared’, trans. Matthew Chrulew, in Rose et al., Extinction Studies. See for example Dominique Lestel, Jeffrey Bussolini and Matthew Chrulew, ‘The Phenomenology of Animal Life’, Environmental Humanities 5 (2014), pp. 125–48; Dario Martinelli, A Critical Companion to Zoosemiotics: People, Paths, Ideas (Dordrecht: Springer, 2010). For a similar argument see Eileen Crist, ‘Ecocide and the Extinction of Animal Minds’, in Bekoff, Ignoring Nature No More, pp. 45–61. Mick Smith, ‘Environmental Anamnesis: Walter Benjamin and the Ethics of Extinction’, Environmental Ethics 23:4 (2001), p. 360. Mick Smith, ‘Ecological Community, the Sense of the World, and Senseless Extinction’, Environmental Humanities 2 (2013), pp. 21–41. Ibid. p. 26. For further articulation of the notion of ecological community, see Mick Smith, ‘Epharmosis: Jean-Luc Nancy and the Political Oecology of Creation’, Environmental Ethics 32:4 (2010), pp. 385–404. For Dominique Lestel extinction is not only a biological but ‘above all, an existential catastrophe’. See Dominique Lestel, ‘The Withering of Shared Life through the Loss of Biodiversity’, Social Science Information 52:2 (2013), p. 31; Matthew Chrulew, ‘The Philosophical Ethology of Dominique Lestel’, Angelaki 19:3 (2014), pp. 17–44. Smith, ‘Ecological Community’, p. 29. Ibid. p. 39. Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1987 [1972]), p. 457.

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13 Farming Henry Buller

Meat, meat, meat. Every animal is made of meat. I’m meat, y’all asses is meat. Everything is part of the buffet of the Universe.1

Introduction

M

uch of the animal studies literature, as a broad multi-disciplinary field, condemns livestock farming and particularly its contemporary industrialised practice as a violent and exploitative form of human-animal interaction. From Nicole Shukin’s and Cary Wolfe’s strategic biopolitics, which collectively offer an alternative analytical frame to the overly simplistic human/non-human separation, to the more overtly engaged work of ‘critical animal studies’ with its purposeful agenda of change, modern animal farming is defined as an unacceptable ‘Holocaust’.2 Elsewhere, animal studies scholars have often avoided farm animals to focus upon companion or wild animals, fearful perhaps of being judged as complicit in relations than can never be symmetrical. Such approaches have their limitations; limitations perhaps of recognition but more importantly of imagination. Farm animals are mindful as well as ‘bodyful’ subjects, not simply object categories of our own making (and finishing). Moreover, they share and co-define spaces, environments, lives, living, corporeality, states as well as work with human animals who, we must hope, take their responsibilities for care seriously. The question we should ask should not be how soon can we rid ourselves of this human stain, but rather, as Haraway asks, ‘how to honour the entangled labour of humans and animals together’ even in the context of animal husbandry.3 It remains axiomatic that, whether we like it or not, our human society is intimately and inexorably intertwined with the lives, deaths and materialities of, at any one time, millions of farmed animals. Even if we do not eat them and their products directly, farmed animals fill the (human) world with their presence – whether visible or not. Their total biomass greatly exceeds ours and around a third of the Earth’s land surface is given over to feeding them.4 Everything from capitalist biopower to national individuality, from the brand images of corporate enterprise to consumer culture is constructed and woven from their symbolic and carnal currency within a global bio-economy.5 This chapter is all about that entanglement; how farm animals are semiotically and materially entangled within our human histories, our economic structures, our biologies and our labour practices, but also how animal studies have engaged with these entanglements. We might regret – or even be ashamed of – many aspects of that entanglement but to deny them existence under the universal condemnation

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of abolitionist animal rights is to also negate those multiple animal co-presences that remain so co-constitutive of our own humanity.6 In the first instance, I trace, albeit briefly, those formative entanglements that have, to a large degree, shaped the humanist narrative from the outset and continue to do so. John Berger in his seminal essay reminds us that animals first entered the imagination not as meat or leather, but ‘as messengers and promises’.7 Although meat and leather arguably followed fairly swiftly and dramatically, farm animals have continued to offer humanity promises. Today’s livestock industry, with its high degree of mechanisation, the sheer numbers of animals involved and the abject materialism of our interaction with them, speaks however to a very different relational repertoire. In a second section I argue, following Wolfe, that the ‘biopolitical frame’ of modern intensive farming creates a distinctive animalia, along with a distinctive set of animal sciences and ethical justifications, whose ultimate destination may well be a partial, or indeed a total, de-animalisation if not of our barns and fields, then of our humanist narrative.8 Finally, and in an attempt to regain some of that distant promise of conviviality that Berger mentions, I want to look beyond the livestock systems, the economic structures and the technologies of animal farming to think about the daily practices and affective relations of husbandry and care that take place on that primary site of human/animal interaction, the farm. Despite the fact that the numerical ratio of animals to stockpersons is changing fast as production numbers grow and husbandry units expand while, at the same time, the agricultural work force inexorably shrinks, farms remain sites of encounter, of individual interaction, of interspecies mingling, of living together.

Shaping the Humanist Narrative Livestock and livestock farming permeate the full extent of the humanist story, though rarely, if ever, on their own terms.9 The becoming of Homo sapiens sapiens is closely bound up in the processes of animal domestication – at least in the hegemonic European telling of it –which produced a critical transcendent or metaphysical shift in the human understanding of non-humans: Traditional hunters typically view the animals they hunt as their equals. They exercise no power over them, although they may hope to persuade the animal to be more easily captured by means of certain magical or religious practices. This essentially egalitarian relationship disappeared with the advent of domestication. The domestic animal is dependent for survival on its human owner.10 This triumphant, almost Copernican moment of human-animal relations, and as such arguably the most critical stage in the emerging anthropocentrist distinctiveness of the human, heralds the fundamental separation of the sublime individual self-hood of humanitas from the collective (baser) plurality of animalitas.11 The ‘existential dualism’ where animals were both worshipped and consumed was lost, even though early domesticated animals continued to retain, under pastoralism and husbandry, powers of agency which require respect; either through their own corporeal rhythms and needs as social, sentient, biological creatures, or via their responsiveness to (and, to a degree, dependence upon) positive human contact, care and nurturance.12

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Domestication includes all sorts of manipulations of the animal’s body and world; for example, the castration of all but a few male animals – a real and a symbolic denaturing. Though, as Russell points out: The key change in animal domestication [is] not in the animals’ bodies, nor even in human-animal relations, but in the social definition of animals as a resource. It is a change in human social relations. People share wild animals; they husband domestic ones. It is ownership that makes this husbanding possible.13 Is this where humanity’s many failures begin?14 Certainly, it is linked to the genesis of private ownership and property, to orderings of human social structure and to formative political organisation.15 Ingold shows how the shift from hunting to pastoralism in early northern European societies led to a parallel shift from more egalitarian forms of human social organisation to relations of dominance and subordination between a more hierarchical human society.16 Similarly, Netz writes: The fact is, control over animals is rather like control over humans; you can either make them do what you like them to do or else get them out of the way. This is how societies are made: human societies as well as the larger multispecies societies that humans have created.17 From here, it is an easy jump to pastoralism and pastoral power, which Foucault distinguished as beneficial care over beings rather than forceful control over territory.18 Such power is exemplified by the shepherd and the flock and is identified as the early technique of governmentality where individualisation is transformed into the governing of multiplicity.19 Although this interpretation has drawn criticism from certain quarters within contemporary animal studies, notably for its failure to see the unforgiving instrumentality and violence inherent in the human/animal relations of pastoral power, we see in pastoralism an emergent version of the model for human/farm animal relations that has endured for centuries; one of ambivalence and contradiction, care yet violence, objectification yet also subjectification, instrumentalism and yet also empathy; animals as hybrid critters occupying a ‘wasteland’ where they are neither wholly ‘natural’ nor wholly artefactual, owned chattels yet sentient agents; in all, fellow occupants of a domesticated multispecies Umwelt.20 Although Medieval theology and philosophy intensified the differences between the human and non-human (until eighteenth-century science began to stitch them together again), relations with domestic animals as ‘subsidiary members of the human community’ were always more intimate.21 In the wider human history, farm animals have been vectors of human dominance; unwitting agents employed to distinguish, dehumanise and impose power relations amongst and between both human and animal communities.22 In this, they have been the instruments, agents and victims of geographical and colonial expansion displacing indigenous species and, often consequentially, indigenous peoples along with their often distinctive cultural relations to non-humans.23 In DeJohn Anderson’s account of the early English colonisation of North America, the various stock animals brought over to the New World by the settlers shape the course of colonial history through their interactions with settlers, Indians [sic] and environments.24 Livestock, she argues,

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‘deserve a place in the narrative of American history. In a real sense these creatures, even more than the colonists who brought them, won the race to claim America as their own.’25 Farm animals have, throughout human time, borne meaning and conveyed instruction through fable and storytelling, from Aesop to Orwell, from Jemima Puddleduck to Atwood’s pigoons. For McHugh, the current animal turn is ‘reconceptualising animals as key players in all sorts of cultural productions’, with the film Babe providing an overtly less antagonistic account of human-farm animal relations.26 Typically positioned somewhere that includes both ‘art’ and ‘science’, husbandry and animals are now acknowledged as genuine ‘co-producers’, both of scientific knowledge and artistic creation.27 In Despret’s account of ‘anthropo-zoo-genetic’ practice , the ethologist Konrad Lorenz both domesticates and is domesticated by a goose.28 A later paper sees Despret argue that animals co-invent the practice of knowledge about themselves. In the field of farm animal welfare, which I shall come to below, animals are nothing if not active partners in the construction of science.29 Representations of farm animals in (European) art are extremely well documented, from the Minoan bulls via George Stubbs to Picasso and beyond, ultimately extending into a broader rural aesthetic of ‘landscape with animals’. It has often been these representations, rather than any direct experience of animals, that has driven much of our understanding of non-humans and their lives, but as Fudge points out, such representations are, despite that, grounded in use. For farm and related animals this is particularly so, with various forms of cultural representation often acting to legitimate instrumental uses of farm animals through a ‘veneer of affectivity’.30 Such an argument may explain, at least in part, the problematic place of farm animals in emergent nineteenth-century welfare and anti-cruelty legislation. While we might evoke the novel emphasis on the ‘humane’ treatment of animals as further evidence of their newly affected moral status (and hence silent agency and subtle pedagogy within our humanist ethical narrative), the irony is that farm animals were not only absent from much early anti-cruelty legislation, which was aimed predominantly at domesticated and urban ‘pet’ animals, but that particular legislative history had a lot more to do with regulating human behaviour, and particularly working-class human behaviour, than preventing animal suffering.31

Poor Relations From the mid-1960s onwards, there has been a significant change both in the representation and in the material presence of farmed animals. If, as historians of nineteenthcentury human-animal relations claim, early disquiet for the condition of animals was more often than not a surrogate for concern about human conditions, the mid-twentieth saw the powerful lexicon of human oppression being used to describe the treatment of animal lives. Peter Singer in Animal Liberation famously develops the notion of speciesism out of racism, controversially evoking the history of human slavery to decry contemporary industrialised farm systems.32 Elsewhere, scholars as diverse as Wolfe, Patterson and Sax draw contentiously on the metaphor of an animal Holocaust.33 Here, an altered sense of human-farm animal relations is identified; one that reflects back on and defines humanity in very different terms. Here farmed animals cease to be individual creatures but intentionally excessive forms of multitudinous

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and killable life with high-density production, dramatically foreshortened lives and acceptably high mortality rates.34 One hundred years before, it was already obvious to Thomas that ‘the gulf was now very much wider between human needs on the one hand and human sensibilities on the other’.35 Despite newly minted legislation governing animal cruelty, ‘Western’ society began to engineer new forms of industrial-scale animal husbandry that made ‘pork units’ of pigs and ‘crops’ of poultry flocks. At this point the animals really do disappear into the concealed indoor structures and undifferentiated massivity of productive breeds – ‘emptied of experience and secrets’: here is the real ‘swinish multitude’.36 In her book Animal Machines (which greatly contributed to the emergence of a societal and a scientific concern for farm animal welfare), Harrison identifies the five essentials of ‘factory farming’ (another phrase that reverses the traditional metaphoric directionality): rapid turnover, high-density stocking, a high degree of mechanisation, a low labour requirement and efficient conversion of food into saleable products; every one of which, in some ways, allows the possibility for a denial of the animal.37 The farming industry that Harrison confronted in 1960s Britain, which remains to this day the dominant model of husbandry, maximised the profit to be obtained from livestock at a time of growing demand for cheap food for a rapidly expanding population that was being encouraged to spend less and less of their household budgets on food – as there were so many other things to spend money on. There is a great deal one could say from the perspective of human-animal relations about contemporary livestock farming, and there is a great deal that needs to be said, but here I want to draw out just three points.38 The first is that modern livestock farming, by its sheer volume and scale, its massivity, its rapidity, its technology and also its contemporary ‘rendering’ (in all the senses of Shukin’s penetrating phrase), fundamentally alters the modern context for human-animal relationality.39 As such, it becomes, in Wolfe’s words, ‘constitutively political for biopolitics in its modern form’; indeed, it becomes the ‘ur-form’ (Wolfe again) of biopolitics itself.40 Going far beyond the commonplace procedures and technologies of animal confinement, mutilation and medicalisation that have been present since the onset of factory farming, the ‘farming’ of ‘livestock’ now precedes animal birth, even conception through processes of gene selection and artificial insemination, and persists post-slaughter (for example, through the post-death electrical stimulation of hearts to ‘pump’ blood from carcasses). Individual animal lives become metricated moments in pre-determined productive cycles, animal bodies are materiality-in-the-making driven by feed-weight ratios in an industry where technology and biology, machine and animal, medicines and matter are increasingly intertwined. High levels of mortality and intentional culling are the consequence both of post-natal gender selection and of animals being pushed to their metabolic limit by production systems. There is an increasingly fine line between maximum food conversion efficiency and maximum physiological (and psychological) capability. Few cows eat grass today, few pigs play in mud and few chickens can even see the sky that might, one day, fall on their heads. Thus, and this brings me to my second point, we move from the symbolic and representational power of the farm animal within human society, historically co-constitutive of humanity’s own story , to a biopolitical materiality which, though it might be largely hidden from view, is in fact all-pervasive.41 The technologisation and industrialisation of twentieth-century animal husbandry has moved consistently away from

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the animal as individual living being to focus increasingly upon the specific materiality of the product, be it eggs, milk, breast meat, bacon or steak. The animal is a ‘site of accumulation’; or, in Haraway’s words: ‘Muscles linked in evolutionary history and religious symbolism to flight, sexual display and transcendence, instead pump iron for transnational growth industries.’42 The animal/bird itself ultimately becomes little more than a support or frame defined by the product grown upon it. Towards the end of his rich celebration of the animal in contemporary art, Baker cites a recent piece by Burt in which the latter introduces the figure of the ‘post-animal’.43 Though this is only mentioned in passing, Burt (and Baker) go on to define it: ‘the time when the postanimal stage is reached is when it is animal matter, rather than the animal body that is hooked up into technical apparatus, the body becoming irrelevant’.44 Or, in Miller’s words, ‘from the trope of the body as factory we move to that of the body as information’.45 Perhaps the ultimate expression of this post-animalisation is, or will be, ‘in vitro’ forms of ‘meat’ and other forms of edible tissue-cultured life. Of course, much of this is speculative; in vitro meat has yet to become a commercial concern. Yet the debate is engaged.46 Many see in the development of these alternative forms of animal product an ‘animal-liberation-oriented promissory narrative’.47 With PETA famously coming out strongly in its favour, in vitro meat will allow humans to consume meat without the need to kill animals. Industrial husbandry units will be replaced by in vitro meat factories.48 The non-human disappears in a post-animal cellular potage from which are grown just the cuts we need, while humans achieve a different sort of post-animal/post carnivore state entirely consistent with their post-natural supremacy. Wouldn’t it be easier to simply become vegetarian? asks Fudge.49 In terms of human/farm animal relations, these materialist transgressions raise a number of questions.50 Clearly, farm animals would not completely disappear. Humanity uses them for far more than just meat. Differential access to mass-produced in vitro meat would leave some regions and many communities still very much dependent upon more traditional husbandry. Contrarily, ‘real’ meat would become a luxury item in others. Donor animals, providing the cellular base upon which in vitro products are derived, would likely exist in highly confined, sanitised and technologised environments, a long way from the hypothesised ‘naturality’ that is invoked. Third, the progression of intensive livestock farming and meat production has been achieved through an array of industrial, technological, pharmaceutical and genetic advances.51 It is legitimated and made socially acceptable, to a degree, by the expanding field (and accompanying institutionalisation) of farm animal veterinary science and, within it, the more specific area of farm animal welfare.52 The latter, a relatively new (post-1960) and distinctive science, emerging out of ethology, philosophy and animal behaviour as much as more conventional veterinary science and animal biology, has become an important and necessary adjunct to animal production.53 It serves to ensure that intensively reared animals are able to cope physiologically and psychologically with the stress of confined and automated environments and with the care practices of the modern production units. It also underlies the standards and provides the assessment methodologies needed to monitor, measure and maintain the levels of welfare that society, and regulators, deem necessary. Yet farm animal welfare science has never been a mere ‘handmaiden’ to animal productivism. From its earliest years, it has been critical of the excesses of intensive husbandry and its impacts upon the individual animal.54 For its leading exponents,

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animal welfare brings together animal ethics and animal science into an ’integrated field’.55 As such, it provides a necessary counterbalance and evidence-based critique to the more abjectly instrumentalist approaches of much productive animal health science.56 In this, animal welfare science has opened up new and genuinely profound avenues for a greater understanding of (and responsiveness to) farm animals, their behaviours (both ‘natural’ and adaptive), their sentiency, their needs and wants, their feelings and fears.57 The science of farm animal welfare is the science of ‘what matters to the animal’ and, while that does not in itself evoke a relational epistemology, in the context of farming and husbandry what matters to the animal is very much the consequence of a relational achievement involving humans, other animals and the multiple paraphernalia of the modern farm. In this, contemporary farm animal welfare science has taken on board an increasingly critical and post-instrumentalist view of farm animal life, one in which concepts like the ‘life worth living’ come to replace former welfarist fundamentals such as the ability to ‘cope’ or the ability to exhibit the so called ‘Five Freedoms’ (freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom to express normal behaviour; freedom from fear and distress).58 Equally importantly, welfare science and its translation into statutory (and private) welfare standards provides consumers of animal products with the means to achieve a potential, but more distant, relational or ethical engagement. The lives (and deaths) of farm animals have become one of a growing number of ethical concerns within food consumption practice, promoted by well-known and active NGOs such as Compassion in World Farming, the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals or the American Humane Association. These concerns are mediated through assurance and labelling schemes, offering ‘guarantees’ that animal lives have been respected. Whether this emanates from a genuine wish to improve farm animal lives, or is in part constructed through product or brand segmentation as a marketing device, is a moot point.59 Welfare labelling, however, can go one of two ways. For the vast majority of consumers, certainly, it facilitates an ethical substitutionism that allows them not to have to worry too much. As has been shown by countless surveys, people describe themselves as concerned about farm animal welfare, yet they are also keen to see this ‘taken care of’ by science-driven welfare standards. For others, though, for whom farm animal welfare is an important consideration, it provides the mechanism for a more engaged, albeit possibly compromised, relationality-at-a-distance.60 Products that carry labels and messages relating to the welfare of the animal, such as the ‘Happy Chicken’ brand, do operate as vehicles for visibility, engagement and ultimately remedial social action.61

Back on the Farm ‘Those who are to be in the world are constituted in intra- and interaction’, writes Haraway: ‘species of all kinds . . . are consequent on a subject- and object-shaping dance of encounters’.62 Behind the multiple rhetorics associated with animal farming, from liberationism to carnophallocentric excess, are the daily encounters of that oddly worded form of human/animal relations known as ‘husbandry’. As mentioned at the start of this chapter, it is noteworthy that animal studies often ignores the actual

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practice of farming, conscious perhaps of the ethical asymmetries, instrumentalism and ultimate killing that are inherent within it.63 Too often, critical a prioris sidestep an attentiveness both to the performances of care for dependent non-humans and to living together within what are often intimate proximities. The human/animal relations played out on the livestock farm – messy, physical, affective, mutual, empathetic, caring, co-constitutive – are very different from those between a meat consumer and the distant animal from which their meal originated. They are often different too from those of the committed liberationist for whom any such apparent interaction can only ever be only anthropocentric and violent and is therefore unequivocally unacceptable. In this final section I return to the farm, whether large or small, and the practices of farming with animals. In doing so, I want to come back to the possibility of ‘promise’, as Berger had it, for the opportunity of recognising some kind of flourishing and conviviality between human and non-human.64 One way I begin to approach the contemporary livestock farm as a less inevitably asymmetrical site of human/animal relations, as opposed to one of purely instrumentalist domination, is to think of it as a place of work, practice and living together. Both farmer and animals, as fellow labourers, work together to achieve certain common goals; those of productivity and mutual well-being. This is collective labour and is valuable as such, demanding our respect.65 Adam Smith infamously wrote in the Wealth of Nations, referring to the farmer: ‘Not only his labouring servants, but his labouring cattle are productive labourers,’ a statement that drew the ire of Karl Marx.66 In this way, we might come to think of the farm worker and the farmed animal as sharing bonds of corporeal and emotional work that promotes an ethic of common concern, interest and well-being in which emotional states are shared: Positive interactions between farmers and their animals increase job satisfaction. This in turn is central to improving work performance and maintaining positive perceptions of and motivations for ensuring animal care, while mediating the effects of occupational and other sources of stress . . . as well as reducing animal stress and improving animal well-being.67 In the livestock systems studied by Porcher that work is, for both, exhausting, stressful and difficult. Workers and animals succumb to diseases generated by intensive conditions.68 Both are increasingly medicated and health failures in the one will frequently impact upon the other.69 Yet it is in the impossibility of either’s emancipation from this collective and shared cross-species suffering that she locates her critique of contemporary livestock agriculture, rather than in terms of a more singular speciesism.70 Generally, farms are not places of slaughter. The unnecessary death or culling of an animal or animals on the farm often causes considerable personal stress and anxiety amongst farmers, as the example of the 2001 Foot and Mouth epidemic once again demonstrates: ‘Although much of the expressed concern was financial, there was an overwhelming sense of distress about what for many appeared to be unnecessary killing which affected the close relationship between those involved in farming and their animals.’71 Farm animals themselves, being generally social and gregarious animals, are affected both positively and negatively by human contact.72 Attentive and caring relations impact positively on individual animal health and welfare, and responses to

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such relations can be communicated and shared across interspecies social groups.73 Such relationships are, for Hemsworth, ‘true relationships’, in that the interactions have reciprocal effects on both human and animal.74 Farm work accommodates bodies in various ways: The products of farming, food, accommodate consumer bodies. But more important, perhaps, working with animals is corporeal work and contains aspects of care work and emotional work. Animals need to be fed, kept clean, warm and content. They may get sick or die.75 And yet, poor care practices increase animal fear and anxiety.76 We need better understanding of human-animal relations in livestock husbandry, which is, certainly, often poor.77 Of course, the contemporary industrialisation and intensification of livestock farming makes many of the traditional practices associated with good and caring husbandry, such as regular and frequent contact and interaction with individual animals, more difficult. Porcher, for example, writes ‘The industrial organisation of work, the denial of the intersubjective bond between farmers and animals and the repression of work rationales that are not economically based have triggered a deterioration, if not a perversion, of the relationship between workers and animals.’78 In such contexts, where animals exist in high numbers, in high densities, growing at vastly inflated metabolic rates and for significantly foreshortened lives, talk of human/animal conviviality, even relationality, seems farfetched. Some production systems arguably offer greater potential than others for such relational forms to flourish. Eschewing the familiar neo-bucolicism of a return to ‘traditional farming practices’, and working within the ineluctability of further intensification, what is needed is the re-placing of human/animal relations at the centre of the farm’s material and relational culture. Cows and stockpeople, from the minute they step onto the farm, are immersed in the existing meanings, practices and material culture of the farm. Cows learn the meanings behind the behaviours of stockpeople, stockpeople learn the meaning of cows’ behaviour, cows learn from each other’s behaviour, stockpeople learn from each other’s behaviour, and all interactions are influenced by the material culture of the farm environment.79 If effective stockmanship is the key nexus in human/farm animal relations, then this might be given additional opportunity to flourish, even within intensive systems, if greater consideration is given in the design of husbandry units to facilitate rewarding contact, to the social structure of herds and flocks, to the knowledge and understanding of stockpersons.80 Such crossover adventures into design and ethics might just create real ‘opportunities for moral imagination’.81 A second approach is to reinterpret the close working relationship between farmer and stock animal either as a form of human-animal bond or as what some have termed ‘contract’ – one that combines, and to a certain extent formalises, duties and responsibilities between individuals involving reciprocal respect, trust and mutual recognition of each others’ distinctive individuality.82 In the notion of the human-animal bond we might see the potential for a ‘type of promise’, echoing Berger cited above; the one asymmetrically ‘promising’ to meet the needs of the other, at least for a while.83 What I find valuable in the notion of the bond is that it is grounded in the situated practice (and therefore moral significance) of interpersonal relations rather than in the more abstract ethical categorisations that are always so problematic when it comes to non-human animals.84 However, what is certainly less clear in the notion of the ‘bond’ is how its benefits are experienced by the animal.85

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More explicit than a bond, the concept of a ‘contract’ or ‘pact’ between humans and farm animals has a longstanding place within ethical theory, particularly with respect to the processes of animal domestication (we eat them, they are protected by us from disease and predators).86 Useful, as a qualification to anthropocentrism, it has become increasingly seen as, to borrow Palmer’s words, where she draws on both feminist and social contract theory, ‘multiply problematic’; a ‘fiction of free consent to justify relationships of dominance and subordination’.87 Contract theory is more relevant and less problematic when forms of husbandry link broader ethical categories and concerns. In certain more ecocentric production systems such as those associated with organic farming, environmentally sustainable production and agro-ecology, farm animals contribute to a mutually beneficial association that brings humans, animals and the wider ecology together. Here, an ethical contract becomes a means to define the ethical duties and rights of humans and farm animals as co-contributors and agents in a holistic, agro-ecological community.88 In a similar vein, Larrère and Larrère offer a ‘domestic contract’ that would operate not between individuals but between communities (the community of animals on a farm and the community of humans upon whom they, to a degree, depend).89 Larrère and Larrère maintain that such a contract would nonetheless rest on the ‘hypothesis of communication’ (as an exchange of affect, emotion and information) between farmers and their domesticated animals. Explicit in both ideas, the bond and the contract, is a ‘duty of care’ which can extend beyond moral responsibility to be, in some cases, a legal requirement (as stated in the UK Animal Welfare Act of 2006, which places a duty on the part of those responsible for animals to ensure the needs of an animal are met). At one level, care is a necessary component of husbandry. Farm animals rely upon humans to provide them with food, water, shelter and the freedom to express normal behaviour, and one basic function of care is to provide for these needs. Such a reliance, or dependence, sets moral obligations on the part of humans. In this, the stockperson is thus ‘the single most important influence on the health and welfare of farm animals’.90 In practice, this takes place with varying degrees of actual commitment. Many farmers and those charged with the care of animals display what we might call a deontological ethical engagement with their stock and its welfare, though this may accommodate significant differences in levels of ‘attachment’ and ‘detachment’.91 Caring for animals is thereby a critical element of farmer professionalism, and of being a ‘good’ farmer (enshrined in professional and technical norms and standards), because from a farmer’s point of view, the health and welfare of animals is closely associated with animal productivity. For the Farm Animal Welfare Council, the attributes of a good stockperson include ‘an affinity and empathy with livestock, patience and keen observational skills’, though such attributes are rarely specifically identified as care per se.92 Gatward goes further, arguing that the basic component of care is ‘the ability of the individual stock keeper to form a close and even affectionate working relationship with their animals’.93 Care, in this context, is an interspecies, inter-individual negotiation between the achievement of different good and benefits; ‘a matter of practical tinkering, of attentive experimentation’.94 It is, or can be creative of, and from, locally situated ethical practices that are as much embodied and performed as they are rationalised and thought out. In a care context, the ‘human’ is not in opposition to the ‘mere beast’. Instead, the fact that human beings are animals too is calmly taken on board. No need to silence the ‘beast inside us – it is likely to call for care. No need either to silence the real beasts,

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they deserve to be attended to on their own – nonverbal – terms. The point is not to preach equality but to attend to everybody’s specificities and to the relations in which we make each other be.’95 Contracts and duties suggest a more normative concept of care, one in which ‘good’ and ‘poor’ care might be formally differentiated. Certainly norms and standards of animal care are produced by governments, by the farming industry, by retailers and food companies, by NGOs such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals and by other bodies, such as the Farm Animal Welfare Council. These take two forms; the banning or interdiction of practices that are increasingly revealed as unnecessary yet which cause avoidable suffering (from mutilations such as the castration of piglets to the confinement of sows in restrictive stalls during gestation and farrowing), and the promotion of actively welfare-friendly and life-enhancing production methods. For individuals long associated with farm animal liberation, like Peter Singer, such approaches become essential if the predominant social demand remains for the consumption of animal products, for they engage producers and consumers alike.96 Finally, I want to try and think of the farm as a multispecies space, a place of formal and informal interspecies encounter, a site of entanglement, a shared dwelling for a community of beings. Clearly there are usually many more species present than the farming humans and the farmed livestock and these others, from farm dogs and farmyard birds through to microbial presences, play their part both in the broader farm ecology and in the wider networks of relational framing. Following the culling of dairy herds during the devastating Foot and Mouth epidemic in England during 2000/2001, the photographer Chris Chapman poignantly noted the ‘descending and consuming silence’ that many farms experienced as not only the cattle but also the sparrows and starlings that fed on the manure disappeared.97 Farmers and stock-keepers share space, dwelling, daily rhythms and anxiety with their animals. This creates a context not only of material dependency but also an affective co-dependency that can be meaningful for both ‘partners’. From it, we may derive a sense of inter-subjectivity, communication and common experience.98 The work of Wemelsfelder and colleagues is revealing here.99 She demonstrates the facility with which those working with farm animals discern the expression of subjective behavioural and emotional states amongst the animals in their care through categories of ‘attentional style’ derived from human experience (such as ‘bored’, ‘anxious’, ‘frustrated’ or ‘affectionate’).100 In these experiments, human subjectivity and animal subjectivity meet and, to a point, recognise each other through a shared corporeality and a shared mentalism (for example, individual farm animals responding to and becoming particularly ‘fond’ of specific stockpersons). Beyond the realm of experimentation, this is a quotidian occurrence as certain individual farm animals achieve the status of Whatmore’s ‘strange humans’.101 The result is a social life that Clark likens to a form of dispossession: A social life that encompasses domesticated animals, in this light, can be seen to rest more primordially on a kind of mutual dispossession than on the possession of animals by human actors; a letting go of customary precautions and boundary maintenance on the part of each participating species.102 In this ‘letting go’ lies the potential for something more in human-animal relations on the farm, the potential for seeing and being-with differently. Driessen explores the

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inventive use of play as a way of seeing pigs as more than a mere means and, in doing so, establishing a different companionability.103 Despret reports on Thelma Rowell’s habit of providing an extra bowl for her sheep, not as a form of straightforward conviviality, but as a way of increasing the behavioural repertoire of the sheep and thereby expanding the repertoire of human-animal relations.104 ‘What is a cow doing when she is doing nothing,’ asks Kohler, ‘when she is standing in the middle of a field, eyes focused on nothing in particular?’105 Understanding that, not as a ‘nothing’ (in terms of the ‘function’ or behaviour of a cow) but as a quality of agentic life-in-relation, seems an important step.

Notes 1. Ms. Bathsheba, a Louisiana school teacher’s statement to the children in her class from the film Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin (USA: Cinereach, 2012). 2. Nicole Shukin, Animal Capital (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2009); Cary Wolfe, Before the Law (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2013); Kathryn Gillespie and Rosemary-Claire Collard (eds), Critical Animal Geographies (London: Routledge, 2014). 3. Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2008), p. 80. 4. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Livestock’s Long Shadow (Rome: FAO, 2006). 5. Shukin, Animal Capital; see also Colleen Boggs, Animalia Americana (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013) and Jody Emel and Harvey Neo (eds), Political Ecologies of Meat (London: Earthscan, 2015). 6. Gary Francione, Rain without Thunder (Philadelphia: Temple University Press); John Sorenson, ‘Thinking the Unthinkable’, in John Sorenson (ed.), Critical Animal Studies: Thinking the Unthinkable (Toronto: Scholars Press), pp. xi–xxxiv; Claire Kim, Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multicultural Age (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015). 7. John Berger, Why Look at Animals? (London: Penguin Books, 1980), p. 2. 8. Wolfe, Before the Law. 9. Erica Fudge, ‘A Left-Handed Blow: Writing the History of Animals’, in Nigel Rothfels (ed.), Representing Animals (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002), pp. 3–18. 10. James Serpell, In the Company of Animals (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 5. 11. Kay Anderson, ‘A Walk on the Wild Side: A Critical Geography of Domestication’, Progress in Human Geography 21 (1997), pp. 463–85. 12. Berger, Why Look at Animals?; John Knight, ‘Introduction’, in John Knight (ed.), Animals in Person (Oxford: Berg, 2005), pp. 1–14, and K. A. Oma, ‘Between Trust and Domination: Social Contracts between Humans and Animals’, World Archaeology 42 (2010), pp. 175–86. 13. Nerissa Russell, ‘The Wild Side of Domestication’, Society and Animals 10 (2002), p. 291. 14. David Nibert, Animal Oppression and Human Violence (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013). 15. Juliet Clutton-Brock, ‘The Process of Domestication’, The Mammal Review 22 (1992), pp. 79–85; Barbara Noske, Beyond Boundaries: Humans and Animals (New York: Black Rose Books, 1996); Michael Alvard and Lawrence Kuznar, ‘Deferred Harvests: The Transition from Hunting to Animal Husbandry’, American Anthropologist 103 (2001), pp. 295–311; D. Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel (London: Vintage, 1998) and Nibert, Animal Oppression and Human Violence.

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16. Tim Ingold, Hunters, Pastoralists and Ranchers: Reindeer Economies and Their Transformations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980). 17. Reviel Netz, Barbed Wire: An Ecology of Modernity (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2004), p. 16. 18. Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977–1978 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). 19. William Walters, Governmentality: Critical Encounters (Oxford: Routledge, 2012). 20. C. Mayes, ‘The Violence of Care: An Analysis of Foucault’s Pastor’, Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory 11 (2010), pp. 111–26; Karen Davies, ‘Thinking Like a Chicken: Farm Animals and the Feminine Connection’, in Carol Adams and Josephine Donovan (eds), Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explanations (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999), pp. 192–209. 21. Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983). 22. Harriet Ritvo, The Animal Estate (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987); G. Elder, J. Wolch and J. Emel, ‘Race, Place and the Bounds of Humanity’, Society and Animals 6 (1998), pp. 183–202; Carol Adams and Josephine Donovan (eds), Beyond Animal Rights: A Feminist Caring Ethic for the Treatment of Animals (London: Continuum Press, 1999). 23. Philip Armstrong, ‘The Postcolonial Animal’, Society and Animals 10 (2002), pp. 413–19; Sandie Suchet, ‘“Totally Wild”? Colonising Discourses, Indigenous Knowledges and Managing Wildlife’, Australian Geographer 33 (2002), pp. 141–57; Netz, Barbed Wire. 24. Virginia DeJohn Anderson, Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). 25. Ibid. p. 11. 26. Susan McHugh, ‘Real Artificial: Tissue-Cultured Meat, Genetically Modified Farm Animals, and Fictions’, Configurations 18 (2010), pp. 181–97, p. 10. Susan McHugh, Animal Stories (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011). 27. Dewey L. Harris, ‘Livestock Improvement: Art, Science or Industry?’, American Society for Animal Science 76 (1998), pp. 2294–302; Donna J. Haraway, Primate Visions (New York: Routledge, 1989); Antennae: Meet Animal Meat, Issue 15 (2010); Matei Candea, ‘I Fell in Love with Carlos the Meerkat’, American Ethnologist 37 (2010), pp. 241–58; Timothy Choy, Ecologies of Comparison (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011); Vinciane Despret, ‘Domesticating Practices: The Case of the Arabian Babblers’, in Garry Marvin and Susan McHugh (eds), Routledge Handbook of Human-Animal Studies (London: Routledge, 2014), pp. 23–38; Bruno Latour, ‘A Well-Articulated Primatology: Reflexions of a Fellow-Traveller’, in Shirley Strum and Linda Fedigan (eds), Primate Encounters (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), pp. 358–81, p. 3; Jonathan Burt, ‘Animals in Visual Art from 1900 to the Present’, in Randy Malamud (ed.), A Cultural History of Animals in the Modern Age (Oxford: University Press, 2009), pp. 180–95; Anat Pick, Creaturely Comforts: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011); Yvette Watt, ‘“Making Animals Matter”: Why the Art World Needs to Rethink Representation of Animals’, in Carol Freeman and Elizabeth Leane (eds), Considering Animals (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 119–36; Steve Baker, Artist Animal (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2013); David Lulka, ‘Animals, Daguerreotypes and Movement: the Despair of Fading and the Emergence of Ontology’, Journal of Material Culture 19 (2014), pp. 35–58. 28. Vinciane Despret, ‘The Body We Care For: Figures of Anthropo-zoo-genesis’, Body and Society 10 (2004), pp. 111–34. 29. Despret, ‘Domesticating Practices’. 30. Fudge, ‘A Left-Handed Blow’; Arial Tsovel, ‘What Can a Farm Animal Biography Accomplish? The Case of Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf’, Society & Animals 13 (2005), pp. 245–62; Angela Cassidy, ‘Vermin, Victims and Disease: UK Framings of Badgers in and

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31. 32. 33.

34. 35. 36. 37.

38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48.

49. 50.

51. 52. 53. 54.

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beyond the Bovine TB Controversy’, Sociologia Ruralis 52 (2012), pp. 192–204; Matthew Cole and Karen Morgan, ‘Engineering Freedom? A Critique of Biotechnological Routes to Animal Liberation’, Configurations 21 (2013), pp. 201–29. Hilda Kean, Animal Rights: Political and Social Change in Britain since 1800 (London: Reaktion Books, 1998). Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (London: Jonathan Cape, 1975). Wolfe, Before the Law; Charles Patterson, Eternal Treblinka (New York: Lantern Books, 2002). See also Timothy M. Costelloe, ‘The Invisibility of Evil: Moral Progress and the “Animal Holocaust”’, Philosophical Papers 32.2 (2003), pp. 109–31; David Sztybel, ‘Can the Treatment of Animals Be Compared to the Holocaust?’, Ethics and the Environment 11 (2006), pp. 97–132. Henry Buller, ‘Individuation, the Mass and Farm Animals’, Theory, Culture & Society 30:7/8 (2013), pp. 155–75. Thomas, Man and the Natural World. Berger, Looking at Animals. Ruth Harrison, Animal Machines (London: Vincent Stuart Ltd, 1964); Rhoda Wilkie, Livestock/Deadstock: Working with Farm Animals from Birth to Slaughter (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2010). Henry Buller and Emma Roe, Food and Animal Welfare (London: Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming). Shukin, Animal Capital – in which she offers a ‘double entendre’ of the term ‘rendering’ as both the mimetic act of copying and the industrial act of recycling animal bodies. Wolfe, Before the Law, p. 46. Fudge, ‘A Left-Handed Blow’. Michael Watts, ‘Afterword’, in Chris Philo and Chris Wilbert (eds), Animal Spaces, Beastly Spaces (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 292–304. Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 267. Baker, Animal Artist; Burt, ‘Animals in Visual Art’. Burt, ‘Animals in Visual Art’, pp. 163–4, quoted in Baker, Animal Artist, p. 227. John Miller, ‘In Vitro Meat: Power, Authenticity and Vegetarianism’, Journal for Critical Animal Studies 10 (2012), p. 51. See Lindsay Kelley’s chapter on ‘Food’ in this volume. Neil Stephens, ‘Growing Meat in Laboratories: The Promise, Ontology and Ethical Boundary Work of Using Muscle Cells to Make Food’, Configurations 21 (2013), p. 162. Henry Buller, ‘Closing the Barn Door’, in Kristian Bjorkdahl and Tone Druglitro (eds), Animal Housing and Human-Animal Relations (London: Routledge, 2016), pp. 199–210. Erica Fudge, ‘Why It’s Easy Being a Vegetarian’, Textual Practice 24 (2010), pp. 149–66. Cole and Morgan, ‘Engineering Freedom’; Richard Twine and Neil Stephens, ‘Introduction: Do Animal Biotechnologies Have a Latent Liberationist Imaginary?’, Configurations 21 (2013), pp. 125–33; Cor Van der Weele and Clemens Dreissens, ‘Emerging Profiles for Cultured Meat: Ethics through and as Design’, Animals 3 (2013), pp. 647–62. Emel and Neo, Political Ecologies of Meat. John Webster, Animal Welfare: Limping towards Eden (London: Wiley, 2005). Bettina Bock and Henry Buller, ‘Healthy, Happy and Humane: Evidence in Farm Animal Welfare Policy’, Sociologia Ruralis 53 (2013), pp. 390–411. Report of the Technical Committee to Enquire into the Welfare of Animals Kept under Intensive Livestock Husbandry Systems (Chairman: Professor F. W. Rogers Brambell) (London: HMSO Cmnd. 2836, 1965). David Fraser, ‘Animal Ethics and Animal Welfare: Bridging the Two Cultures’, Applied Animal Behaviour Science 65 (1999), pp. 171–89; see also Bernard Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare: Social, Bioethical, and Research Issues (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1995);

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56.

57. 58.

59. 60.

61. 62. 63.

64. 65.

66.

67.

68.

69. 70. 71.

72. 73.

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henry buller Mark Bekoff, ‘Cognitive Ethology and the Treatment of Non-human Animals: How Matters of Mind Inform Matters of Welfare’, Animal Welfare 3 (1994), pp. 75–96. See for example Ian J. H. Duncan, ‘Animal Welfare Issues in the Poultry Industry: Is There a Lesson to Be Learned?’, Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 4 (2001), pp. 207–21. Marion Dawkins, Why Animals Matter (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). FAWC, Report on Farm Animal Welfare in Great Britain: Past, Present and Future (London, FAWC, 2009); D. M. Broom, ‘Animal Welfare: Concepts and Measurement’, Journal of Animal Science 69 (1991), pp. 4167–75. Henry Buller and Emma Roe, ‘Modifying and Commodifying Farm Animal Welfare: The Economisation of Layer Chickens’, Journal of Rural Studies 33 (2013), pp. 141–9. Matthew Cole, ‘From “Animal Machines” To “Happy Meat”? Foucault’s Ideas of Disciplinary and Pastoral Power Applied to “Animal-Centred” Welfare Discourse’, Animals 1 (2012), pp. 83–101. Mara Miele, ‘The Taste of Happiness: Free-Range Chicken’, Environment and Planning A 43 (2011), pp. 2076–90. Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 4. Hilary Tovey, ‘Theorising Nature and Society in Sociology: The Invisibility of Animals’, Sociologia Ruralis 43 (2003), pp. 196–215; Henry Buller, ‘Nourishing Communities: Animal Vitalities and Food Quality’, in Lynda Birke and Jo Hockenhull (eds), Crossing Boundaries: Investigating Human-Animal Relationships (Oxford: Brill, 2012), pp. 51–72. Berger, Why Look at Animals?. Donna Haraway, ‘In Conversation with Sandra Azeredo 2011’, in M. E. Maciel (ed.), Pensar/ escrever o animal: ensaios de zoopoética e biopolítica (Florianópolis: editora ufsc, 2011), (accessed 28 August 2017). Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1976), p. 145; see also Jason Hribal, ‘Animals Are Part of the Working Class: A Challenge to Labour History’, Labour History 44:4 (2003), pp. 435–53; Katherine Perlo, ‘Marxism and the Underdog’, Society and Animals 10:3 (2002), pp. 303–18. Catherine Devitt et al., ‘An Investigation into the Human Element of On-Farm Incidents in Ireland’, Sociologia Ruralis 55:4 (2014), pp. 400–16 (p. 412); see also Florent Kohler, ‘Blondes d’Aquitaine’, Etudes Rurales 189 (2012), pp. 155–75. Jocelyn Porcher, ‘The Relationship between Workers and Animals in the Pork Industry: A Shared Suffering’, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 24 (2009), pp. 3–17; Jocelyn Porcher, Vivre avec les animaux (Paris: La Decouverte, 2011). Devitt et al., ‘Investigation’. Jocelyn Porcher, Éleveurs et animaux: réinventer le lien (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2002). Miranda Olff, Mararten Koeter, Heleen Van Haaften, Paul Kersten and Berthold Gersons, ‘Impact of a Foot and Mouth Disease Crisis on Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in Farmers’, British Journal of Psychiatry 186 (2005), pp. 165–6; David Hannay and Ray Jones, ‘The Effects of Foot and Mouth on the Health of Those Involved in Farming and Tourism in Dumfries and Galloway’, European Journal of General Practice 8 (2002), pp. 83–9 (pp. 88–9). Xavier Boivin, Joop Lensink, Celine Tallet and Isabelle Veissier, ‘Stockmanship and Farm Animal Welfare’, Animal Welfare 12 (2003), pp. 479–92. Paul Hemsworth, J. Barnett and Grahame Coleman, ‘The Human-Animal Relationship in Agriculture and Its Consequences for the Animal’, Animal Welfare 2 (1993), pp. 33–51; Paul Hemsworth and Grahame Coleman, Human-Livestock Interactions (Wallingford: CAB International, 1998).

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74. Paul Hemsworth, ‘Human-Animal Interactions in Livestock Production’, Applied Animal Behaviour Science 81:3 (2003), pp. 185–98 (p. 186). 75. Berit Brandth, ‘On the Relationship between Feminism and Farm Women’, Agriculture and Human Values 19 (2002), pp. 107–17. 76. K. Brueur, Paul Hemsworth and Grahame Coleman, ‘The Effect of Positive or Negative Handling on the Behavioural and Physiological Responses of Nonlactating Heifers’, Applied Animal Behaviour Science 84 (2003), pp. 3–22. 77. Hemsworth, ‘Human-Animal Interactions’. 78. Porcher, Vivre avec les animaux, p. 6. 79. Rob Burton, Sue Peoples and Mark Cooper, ‘Building Cowshed Cultures: A Cultural Perspective on the Promotion of Stockmanship and Animal Welfare on Dairy Farms’, Journal of Rural Studies 28 (2012), pp. 174–87 (p. 177). 80. For example, the innovative Roundel and Plantation egg-layer poultry housing in the Netherlands. Tine Rousing and Francoise Wemelsfelder, ‘Qualitative Assessment of Social Behaviour of Dairy Cows Housed in Loose Housing Systems’, Applied Animal Behaviour Science 101.1 (1 December 2006), pp. 40–53. FAWC, Stockmanship and Farm Animal Welfare (London: FAWC, 2007). 81. Clemens P. G. Driessen, ‘Animal Deliberation’, in M. Wissenburgh and D. Sclosberg (eds), Animal Politics and Political Animals (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 90–104. 82. Catherine Larrère and Raphael Larrère, ‘Animal Rearing as a Contract’, Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 12 (2000), pp. 51–8; Lilly-Marlene Russow, ‘Bioethics, Animal Research, and Ethical Theory’, ILAR Journal 40:1 (1999), pp. 15–21; R. Anthony, ‘The Ethical Implications of the Human-Animal Bond on the Farm’, Animal Welfare 12 (2003), pp. 505–12. 83. Lilly-Marlene Russow, ‘Ethical Implications of the Human-Animal Bond in the Laboratory’, ILAR Journal 43:1 (2002), pp. 33–7 (p. 36). 84. See Anthony, ‘Ethical Implications’. 85. Research suggests that farm animals benefit psychologically and physiologically from interpersonal and individual human-animal relations and contact (see for example Daiana Oliviera et al., ‘Early Human Handling in Non-Weaned Piglets: Effects on Behaviour and Body Weight’, Applied Animal Behaviour Science 164 (2015), pp. 56–63). However, increasingly, and in a return to a more humanist agenda, the benefits of human-animal bonding are seen in terms of human gain through such procedures as ‘animal assisted therapy’. 86. Stephen Budiansky, The Covenant of the Wild (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994); Kristin Oma, ‘Between Trust and Domination; Social Contracts between Humans and Animals’, World Archeology 42:2, pp. 175–87. 87. Clare Palmer, ‘The Idea of the Domestic Animal Contract’, Environmental Values 6:4 (1997), pp. 411–45 (p. 417 and p. 423). 88. Vonne Lund et al, ‘The Ethical Contract as a Tool in Organic Animal Husbandry’, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 17 (1995), pp. 23–49. 89. Larrère and Larrère, ‘Animal Rearing as a Contract’. 90. FAWC, Stockmanship and Farm Animal Welfare, p. 2. 91. Wilkie, Livestock, Deadstock. 92. FAWC, Report on Farm Animal Welfare, p. 7; Annemarie Mol, Ingunn Moser and Jeannette Pols, ‘Care: Putting Practice into Theory’, in Mol, Moser and Pols (eds), Care in Practice (New Jersey: Transaction Press, 2010), pp. 7–26. 93. Gordon Gatward, Livestock Ethics (Devon: Chalcombe Publications, 2001). 94. Mol et al., Care. 95. Ibid. p. 15. 96. Peter Singer, ‘Foreword’, in Marian Stamp Dawkins and Ronald Bonney (eds), The Future of Animal Farming (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), pp. vii–ix.

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97. Devon Foot and Mouth Enquiry, Report of the Enquiry (Exeter: Devon County Council, 2002). 98. Porcher, Éleveurs et animaux; Jocelyne Porcher, Bien-être animal et travail en élevage (Paris: Editions Quae/Educagri, 2004); Anthony, Ethical Implications. 99. Francoise Wemelsfelder, Tony E. A. Hunter, Michael T. Mendl and Alistair B. Lawrence, ‘Assessing the “Whole Animal”: A Free Choice Profiling Approach’, Animal Behaviour 62:2 (2001), pp. 209–20. 100. Francoise Wemelsfelder, ‘Scientific Validity of Subjective Concepts in Models of Animal Welfare’, Applied Animal Behaviour Science 53 (1997), pp. 75–88. 101. One perspective on this is offered by Rosamund Young, The Secret Life of Cows (London: Farming Books, 2003); for ‘Strange Persons’ see Sarah Whatmore, ‘Materialist Returns: Practicing Cultural Geography in and for a More Than Human World’, Cultural Geographies 13 (2006), pp. 600–9; see also Lewis Holloway, ‘Smallholding, Hobby Farming and Commercial Farming: Ethical Identities and the Production of Farming Spaces’, Environment and Planning A 34 (2002), pp. 2055–70. 102. Nigel Clark, ‘Animal Interface: The Generosity of Domestication’, in Rebecca Cassidy and Molly Mullin (eds), Where the Wild Things Are Now (Oxford: Berg, 2007), pp. 49–70 (p. 57). 103. Driessen, Animal Deliberation. 104. Vinciane Despret, ‘Sheep Do Have Opinions’, in Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (eds), Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008); Despret, ‘Domesticating Practices’. 105. Kohler, ‘Blondes d’Aquitaine’, p. 171.

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14 Film Laura McMahon

P

erhaps more than any other beings, animals have borne the material burden of cinema’s explorations of movement and stillness, life and death. While frequently embodying liveliness, animation and motion onscreen, animals have often been treated throughout the history of film production as ‘disposable subjects’,1 as lives to be expended in the service of cinema’s investigations of contingency, vulnerability and death. Famously, in the hunting sequence of Jean Renoir’s La Règle du jeu/The Rules of the Game (1939),2 we witness the actual deaths of a number of rabbits onscreen, which function proleptically to signal a fictional death to come in the narrative: that of the pilot André Jurieu. As Vivian Sobchack observes, ‘it is a real rabbit that we see die in the service of the narrative and for the fiction’.3 The deaths of Renoir’s rabbits undertake a particular kind of narrative, metaphorical and aesthetic labour. Here cinema exemplifies the broader contradictory relationships that shape what Nicole Shukin describes as the ‘fetishistic potency’ of animals in their capacity ‘to be taken both literally and figuratively, as a material and symbolic resource’.4 In order to probe cinema’s entanglements of the material and the symbolic in relation to the ‘fetishistic potency’ of animals, this chapter focuses on a recent film featuring real animal death, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s experimental documentary Leviathan (2012).5 Filmed off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts – a major fishing (and formerly whaling) port and Herman Melville’s inspiration for Moby-Dick (1851)6 – Leviathan charts the daily activities of a commercial fishing boat, captured on multiple GoPro cameras often attached to the bodies of the filmmakers and fishermen.7 This method of filming, combined with the lack of any expository voiceover or discernible dialogue, produces a destabilised, often closeup, intimate yet dispersed perspective, which – together with the stylised, digitally edited colours and Ernst Karel’s tumultuous sound design – works to create the film’s experimental, hallucinatory effects. Within this aesthetic framework, the film documents the slaughter of fish vividly in close-up, in multiple scenes. While animal death in The Rules of the Game ‘violently, abruptly, punctuates fictional space with documentary space’,8 destabilising the fictional frame, here in Leviathan, conversely, animal death works to confirm the documentary frame, functioning as a particularly powerful index of the real. Thus while animals in Leviathan are killed primarily for extradiegetic rather than diegetic purposes – for food, rather than ‘for the fiction’ – animal death still enacts a particular kind of aesthetic labour for the film by implicitly reinforcing its documentary claims. Leviathan’s proximal, visceral, embodied engagement with slaughter is striking.9 The film refuses the general invisibility of the slaughterhouse in both life and

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art, appearing to bear witness to the material realities of industrialised killing.10 As Siegfried Kracauer writes of Georges Franju’s Le Sang des bêtes/Blood of the Beasts (1949),11 a surrealist documentary about a slaughterhouse in Paris (and a key point of reference in this chapter), such images ask us to encounter ‘the real face of things too dreadful to be beheld in reality’; ‘we redeem horror from its invisibility behind the veils of panic and imagination.’12 Yet to read Leviathan straightforwardly as a testimonial act of unveiling that ‘redeems’ slaughter from invisibility would be to miss the profound contradictions that structure this film. For while making slaughter visible, Leviathan articulates a particular set of tensions around the ‘fetishistic potency’ of animal life and death. Its aesthetic approach – performatively embedded in the material, the visceral, the fleshed – threatens to convert the animal into an ‘overly free-floating signifier’13 for the film’s apocalyptic vision of the real. In this chapter, I am interested in how this process of conversion – or what Shukin calls ‘rendering’14 – is in tension with dimensions of Leviathan’s critical positioning and reception as nonanthropocentric or posthumanist.15 Thus before turning to analyse the film itself, I want to point first to a set of contradictions in its critical framing. While much attention has been devoted to Leviathan’s sensory, immersive aesthetics,16 commentary has tended to elide questions of industrialised slaughter. This elision is striking given the (celebratory) framing of the film as nonanthropocentric by critical commentary and by the filmmakers themselves. In their ‘Introduction’ to a special issue on Leviathan in the Visual Anthropology Review, Mark R. Westmoreland and Brent Luvaas describe the film as an exercise in ‘posthumanist ethnography’.17 In an essay in the same issue, Lisa Stevenson and Eduardo Kohn suggest that Leviathan ‘allows the viewer to be made over by a world beyond the human’, initiating ‘a modality of attention that can open us to the beings with whom we share this fragile planet. As such, Leviathan gestures to a sort of ontological poetics and politics for the so-called Anthropocene.’18 This critical emphasis on the film’s nonanthropocentrism is prompted by the positioning of the work by the filmmakers themselves, and by the approach of Harvard University’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, which Castaing-Taylor directs and where Leviathan was produced.19 The Lab states on its website: ‘Most works produced in the SEL take as their subject the bodily praxis and affective fabric of human and animal existence.’20 Indeed, Castaing-Taylor and Paravel’s previous works – Sweetgrass (Barbash and CastaingTaylor, 2009)21 and Foreign Parts (Paravel and J. P. Sniadecki, 2010)22 – indicate ‘an enduring interest in human relations to the non-human’,23 anticipating Leviathan’s concerns. Paravel has suggested in interview that Leviathan is orientated towards the ‘question of reducing the human, to relativize the human in a wider spectrum, a global environment’.24 However, within the posthumanist or nonanthropocentric frameworks through which Leviathan is both positioned and received, questions of politics, power and capital are often elided. In an appreciative response to the film, drawing on models of Deleuzian assemblages and Guattarian ecologies, Selmin Kara and Alanna Thain seek to point to the biopolitical dimensions of the film: An intensive folding of subjectivities and materialities is precisely the political feeling conveyed by Castaing-Taylor and Paravel in Leviathan, which enacts practicebased research grounded in an emergent critique of biopolitics. Here, the film’s

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biopolitical intervention lies in its blurring of the boundaries between human, animal, and machinic bodies, making them a part of a mutant and monstrous assemblage of audiovisual materialities, micro-rhythms, and micro-affects. The sensationally rich document of the social, mental and environmental ecologies held together on the ship activates a strong sense of the ‘ethico-political’ through aesthetic practice, which places it within a new materialist framework.25 While there is much of interest in this theoretical approach – in its affinity with assemblages, taxonomical uncertainties, and in the idea of an ethical-political framework that reaches across species lines – such readings of Leviathan lack any sustained engagement with the industrial and aesthetic organisation of killing that lies at the heart of the film, and the particular biopolitical regimes and vectors of power that govern this. The notion of the biopolitical that Kara and Thain invoke has little ethicopolitical traction unless we understand it in relation to Michel Foucault’s conception of biopower – that is, as a governing of what Foucault calls ‘the right to make live and let die’,26 a form of power that not only controls but produces life, shaping it across a network of political, economic and technological domains. If for Kara and Thain, ‘the film’s biopolitical intervention lies in its blurring of the boundaries between human, animal, and machinic bodies’, in tension with this are the scenes of killing that – while inevitably setting in play commonalities and indeterminacies between the human and non-human27 – also reinstate very clearly particular limits, species divisions and hierarchies of power. Drawing out the workings of biopower upon non-human life, Shukin seeks to track the ‘semiotic currency of animal signs and the carnal traffic in animal substances’, examining ‘the ways that animal life gets culturally and carnally rendered as capital’.28 I am interested in how the ‘carnal traffic’ of Leviathan is simultaneously exploited and disavowed – by the film and its reception – as a form of ‘semiotic currency’, or theoretico-cultural capital, that frames the film’s immersive, visceral vision as a posthumanist return to materiality and to the real. Paravel describes Leviathan as ‘a film that restores us, in a way, to the fabric of the world’.29 Similarly, Castaing-Taylor states: ‘I think we want to get to a much more embodied, a much more corporeal representation of reality that’s almost a presentation of reality.’30 How do such investments in ‘affective, immediate communication’ take place ‘under the charismatic sign of animal life’?31 What unacknowledged labour is undertaken by animal death in Leviathan in order to produce a film that claims to offer ‘a much more corporeal representation of reality’, a film that ‘restores us . . . to the fabric of the world’?

Monstration Following the dark, disorientating opening scenes of the film – a blur of indiscernible activity and metallic noise – we witness the first arrival of a net, heaving with the weight of its catch. The net opens to dump fish on the deck. Framed at ground level and in extreme close-up, fish lie in wet, gelatinous piles. Thrust into this fleshy, viscous scene, the GoPro camera tracks the fish as they are shunted back and forth by the tipping movement of the trawler. The scene then cuts to images of fish being hacked apart. The framing ensures that the fishermen are faceless, towering, shadowy figures. Blood and viscera cover every surface as we see animal bodies wrenched

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open. Such images of bodily deformation recall the scientific surrealism of Blood of the Beasts, and what Anat Pick describes as Franju’s invocation of ‘modern technoscience’s cool monotony of violence’.32 But while Blood of the Beasts deploys a voiceover commentary, Leviathan refuses any such verbal exposition. As a work of ‘sensory ethnography’ this is a filmmaking practice that, as the SE Lab Manager Karel puts it, privileges ‘the ways in which our sensory experience is pre-or non-linguistic, and part of our bodily being in the world’.33 The ‘pre- or non-linguistic’ dimensions of Leviathan’s sensory ethnography surely find their apotheosis in these visceral, deforming scenes of slaughter, but in ways that question Kara and Thain’s framing of sensory ethnography’s focus on ‘the machinic, natural, animal, and human actors as equally powerful agents’.34 In Electric Animal, Akira Mizuta Lippit charts the ways in which animals have been denied a relation to language in Western philosophical thought.35 Expelled from the realm of the discursive, animals have been traditionally conceived, as Shukin notes in her critical engagement with Lippit, as ‘eloquent in their mute acts of physical signing and their sympathetic powers of affect (in ‘showing’).’36 Cinema invests in the animal as a particular site of ‘showing’ or what Shukin calls (drawing on the film theory of André Gaudreault) ‘monstration’ – a form of narrativity embedded iconically, mimetically, at the level of the image.37 In the scenes described above, the fish – writhing, gasping, dying – might be seen as ‘eloquent in their mute acts of physical signing’, generating a series of affects extracted, and put into circulation, by the film. What work is being done here by the fish in the elaboration of the film’s own register of ‘pre-linguistic’ affect, of monstration, or of what Shukin terms ‘prediscursive mimesis’?38 The question could extend to the fishermen, also ‘eloquent in their mute acts of physical signing’ (human speech in Leviathan is rare and often distorted), or to the many subjects and/or objects set in motion by the film. But the monstration, or ‘showing’, of violence and death highlights the particular place of the fish within the film’s assemblage of affects. For Lippit, the monstrative function of the animal connects it to the realm of the technological. From Eadweard Muybridge’s photographic studies of horse motion onwards, animals become a privileged figure for what Lippit identifies as an affective, transferential relation between biological life and visual technologies.39 As Shukin suggests, ‘Lippit is compelled by the vitalistic notion that the electric, or affective, act of technological communication is paradigmatically animal.’40 Shukin goes on to critique this logic – and the violence to animals that it often entails – as she turns to analyse Thomas Edison’s Electrocuting an Elephant (1903).41 Edison filmed the execution of a circus elephant, Topsy, putatively in order to demonstrate the deadly power of alternating current electricity. Edison’s film exemplifies what Shukin theorises more broadly as ‘a transfer of life from animal body to technological media’.42 Captured during the early days of cinema, the animal body is instrumentalised in a sensory staging of the power of not only electricity but also cinema itself. As with Renoir’s rabbits, animal life is ‘rendered’ by film technology – affectively, transferentially – as both ‘material and symbolic resource’.43 In Leviathan, the GoPro cameras become a particular conductor for what the film presents as the communicative power of ‘pre- or non-linguistic’ animal affect – the close-ups of fish writhing, dying, are rendered with a particular immediacy, tactility and

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viscerality. But we might also ask, conversely, how – like Edison’s elephant mediating the power of electricity and of cinema – the fish in Leviathan become a particular kind of conductor for the communicative power of the GoPro camera, a recent technological innovation. If for Lippit, ‘[t]ransference is the means by which nonverbal energy circulates within the world’,44 then the presence of bodies twisting in nets, on the verge of death, or of lives expired, scattered across the deck, transfer a particular affective charge to this new kind of cinematic vision. The GoPro cameras extract from the killing scene, and from the place of the animal within that scene, a particular kind of nonverbal energy that functions with ‘fetishistic potency’ to create a circuit of sensory communication. Leviathan finds within what Shukin describes as ‘the carnal medium of animal flesh’45 an especially vivid conductor for the force of its ‘prediscursive’ vision. Such a prediscursive vision had already been conceived by Castaing-Taylor in an essay entitled ‘Iconophobia’ (1996). Critiquing what he sees as ethnography’s anxiety about images, while emphasising the importance of the ‘iconic and affective properties of film’, Castaing-Taylor advocates a shift from ‘“anthropological knowledge” on film – the attempt to linguify film – to the idea that ethnography can itself be conducted “filmically”’.46 Though not mentioned in the ‘Iconophobia’ essay, the animal – deprived of language, according to the philosophical tradition outlined by Lippit – might be seen as perfectly positioned to embody a resistance to what Castaing-Taylor sees as the ‘linguification’ of filmic ethnography. His essay is often approvingly cited in critical commentary on Leviathan, though without any examination of the unacknowledged role of the animal within this mapping of Castaing-Taylor’s theory onto his filmmaking practice. Shukin’s analysis of ‘prediscursive’ animal mimesis prompts us to reconsider Leviathan’s relation to the ‘Iconophobia’ essay (and to the ‘pre-linguistic’ dimensions of ‘sensory ethnography’). It allows us to identify the particular labour of iconicity and affectivity undertaken by the fish, and by their deaths in particular: the animal’s general resistance to ‘linguification’ is redoubled by the challenge to symbolisation posed by real death onscreen. In ‘Iconophobia’, Castaing-Taylor writes: ‘But what if film doesn’t speak at all? What if film not only constitutes discourse about the world but also (re) presents experience of it? What if film does not say but show? What if a film does not just describe but depict?’47 The ‘monstration’ of the mute, dying animal in Leviathan fulfils Castaing-Taylor’s theoretical fantasy of showing rather than saying, of depicting rather than describing. Presented as an inexhaustible resource for this affective ‘showing’, the animal in Leviathan is seen to be killed over and over again; in sensory ethnography’s resistance to ‘linguification’, one animal death is simply replaced by another. In one scene a series of skates have their wings cut off and kept, their torsos thrown away, in an efficient conversion of animal into capital. Parts of bodies, leftovers, waste, are kicked over the side, through gaps at the edge of the deck. In the images that follow, shot from the side of the trawler, viscera streams into water, just as blood flows elsewhere in the film, signalling an incalculable excess generated by unlimited forms of production and consumption, by the infernal cycle of capital. The seriality of the production line – one skate after another – conjures forth the problematic figure of the undying animal, a figure that haunts Lippit’s thesis: ‘Undying, animals simply expire, transpire, shift their animus to other animal bodies.’48 Lippit is referring here to a particular lineage of philosophical thought that finds its apotheosis in Heidegger, in which animals have

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been traditionally denied an ‘authentic’ relation to death.49 Shukin pulls this thesis away from the undying animal towards the ‘material politics of animal capital’.50 Animals do die – rendered by industrialised slaughter as ‘undying’ capital, and here by Leviathan as infinite monstration. The film offers up a series of images and sounds in which animal death is not only rendered as ‘affective, immediate communication’ but also converted into apocalyptic, immersive, hypnotic aesthetics. Following the scene with the skates, a hallucinatory view from underwater shows viscera and fragments of fish carcasses; the camera appears to be on a stick here, diving in and out; when it surfaces, we catch glimpses of seagulls above. The sound is loud, aqueous. The images and sounds work through an assemblage of forces – bird, fish, wind, water, camera – an affective composition in line with the posthumanist framing of the film: the position of the GoPro camera performs a transcendence of human situatedness, a de-hierarchising of vision and matter, or what Kara and Thain call ‘distributed embodiment’.51 Yet this posthumanist approach is simultaneously destabilised by Leviathan’s instrumentalisation of the ‘semiotic currency’ of animal death, by an aesthetic of ‘distributed embodiment’ carnally commuted through viscera in water and electrified by the scene of killing that precedes it. If categories of blood and water, and of inside and outside, no longer hold in the film, that is in part an effect of slaughter, and the violent literalisation of the ‘blurring of boundaries’ for which the film has been celebrated. Describing such scenes, Kara and Thain refer to ‘a bestial immersion by voracious sensory stimuli’,52 while Cyril Neyrat writes: The montage of sound and image produces a fluid and continuous matter, converting the fishing expedition at the ocean’s surface into a blind plunge into the beast . . . one travels through this film as through the guts of a monster, bright wet flesh of innards and the rumbling of digestive noises.53 As we have seen, the film draws on animal death in order to generate this idea of ‘fluid and continuous matter’, and ‘the bright wet flesh of innards’; the animal captured by Leviathan is converted into mesmeric aesthetic value, making possible, fleshing out, a set of metaphors that work to communicate the ‘animality’ of the film itself, according to the transferential logic between animal and technological media that Shukin critiques. Animal death generates a non-‘linguifying’ excess converted back into the communicative power of the film’s sensory ethnography.

Massification Neyrat’s description of ‘fluid and continuous matter’ inadvertently draws attention to the ways in which Leviathan’s presentation of the fish rehearses a representational trope of animal life as an anonymous mass – a trope productively pursued by Lippit in his discussion of animal death in film. Reflecting on the disclaimer that usually accompanies the presence of animals within live action films – ‘No animal was harmed in the making of this film’ – Lippit notes that there is no direct equivalent for human actors. Rather: ‘The human counterpart to this disclaimer assumes a different form: “All resemblances to persons living or deceased is purely coincidental.”’54 Though

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Lippit doesn’t directly approach the biopolitical stakes of this question, the difference between these disclaimers is clearly shaped by a speciesist logic whereby animal life is disposable: animals are so often and readily harmed offscreen that – perversely, paradoxically – film audiences need to be reassured that they are not being harmed onscreen.55 Thus, as Lippit summarises, ‘[d]ifferent taboos seem to restrict animal and human representation: animals cannot be harmed, individual human beings resembled.’ But, Lippit argues, these taboos are also profoundly linked: Copying the human figure amounts to a form of killing if it is seen as eliminating the singularity thought to establish human identity. Killing a particular animal suggests that animal’s individuality, disturbing the frequent representation of animals as constituting packs or hordes. The two modes of violation are linked by the singularity ascribed to humanity and the multiplicity that is said to determine animality. Taking this logic one step further, to imitate another human being is to assail that individual’s singularity and force it to become, like an animal, multiple; to kill an individual animal is to grant it singularity, allowing it to become unique, to become human.56 While the possibility of this inversion (the human becoming multiple; the animal becoming individual) is fascinating and productive, there are difficulties here too. Lippit’s argument depends on a strained logic that aligns copying with killing, flattening out the very different implications of those acts. And there is a troubling suggestion that the animal can only be recognised as singular by being killed. The workings of the meat industry suggest how this claim is systematically undermined – there the act of killing contributes further to the deindividualisation of the animal as part of its conversion into anonymous meat. In Leviathan we tend to see hordes of fish being killed rather than individual fish dying. And when we witness a particular fish being killed, it is within a scene in which other fish are killed in precisely the same manner, suggesting a sense of interchangeability through repetition, working against the granting of singularity that Lippit identifies here. Asked in interview about how ‘[t]he film doesn’t necessarily seem so sympathetic to the fish’s plight’, Paravel comments, ‘the way they are killed, it’s disturbing and grotesque’.57 She then goes on to say (in a remark partially cited above): ‘It’s also more of a question of reducing the human, to relativize the human in a wider spectrum, a global environment, rather than trying from the beginning to show how the fish are suffering. It’s like trying to spread the perspective.’58 Paravel’s comments work to support the sense that the question of individual animal death and suffering is not the film’s primary concern.59 Seemingly reluctant to foreground what Jacques Derrida describes as the ‘unsubstitutable singularity’ of each animal,60 Leviathan portrays an ongoing scene of general perishing rather than individual deaths. This representation of the animal as monstrous horde locks the film back into an anthropocentric logic consigning the animal to anonymous multiplicity.61 The lack of narrative framework, the GoPro camera’s indiscriminate attention, and the film’s visual interest in abstraction all work to further this anonymity. As Adam O’Brien suggests, the fish seem ‘infinitely replicated’, ‘almost abstract’ in their sheer abundance.62 One might be tempted to read this, with Deleuze and Guattari, as a figure of

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‘becoming-animal’, in all its liberating affirmation of multiplicity and impersonality (‘a pack, a gang, a population’).63 Yet, as Leviathan demonstrates, this logic of impersonality is capitalised on by organised killing, suggesting ways in which strategies of industrialised slaughter – and of agricapital more broadly – figure as material points of resistance to theories of becoming-animal.64 There is a recursivity at work in Leviathan, whereby the film’s aesthetic approach mimes the massifying logic of the practice of industrial fishing itself. As Sajay Samuel and Dean Bavington note, the introduction of industrial fishing technologies, such as the jigger and the seine in the second half of the nineteenth century, ‘aimed at increasing catch size’ and ‘transformed codfish into biomass’.65 In this context, Deleuze and Guattari’s affirmation of ‘population’ assumes another dimension, risking collusion with the biopolitics of animal capital. Through its indiscriminate attention, Leviathan replicates these biopolitical processes of massification, presenting the fish as a monstrous horde of anonymous animality to be tamed as ‘harvestable’ biomass. This turn away from questions of animal singularity and suffering is redoubled by Leviathan’s uncertainty around the event of dying itself. The moment at which each fish dies is often not clear. While death may be considered to be ontologically inaccessible in any situation for any being, in Leviathan death figures emphatically as a blind spot, often obscured by the fish being thrown offscreen or back into the ‘horde’ after having been cut by the fishermen. In any image of a mass of fish – caught up in a net or strewn across the deck – a number of fish may die during the duration of that shot, but it is impossible to identify which ones, particularly given the constant motion of the trawler shuttling bodies to and fro, conflating corporeal signs of life and death. Malin Wahlberg’s reading of Leviathan marks this ontological hesitation, referring to cameras ‘poked into the chaos of not-yet-dead creatures’.66 The multiplicity of bodies filling and exceeding the cinematic frame is such that the singularity of each death is made radically difficult to locate in both space and time. This indeterminacy around death also relates to an indeterminacy around killing, because the act of killing is initiated far before the fish meet the knife: it begins as soon as the fish leave the water, caught by the net and pulled up onto the trawler. My intention here is not to make an abstract claim about the impossible or indeterminate deaths of the Animal (that monolithic category that Derrida critiques).67 Rather, it is to note that the uncertain eventhood of death and killing in the film is profoundly shaped by the species-specific relations between fish and their natural habitat.68 The multiple deaths taking place throughout the film often inhabit an indistinct realm between the visible and the invisible. In Leviathan, the particular ontological instabilities around the event of death deny any easy fulfilment of what André Bazin sees as the capacity for cinema, as a durational medium, to present the transition from life to death – ‘the elusive passage from one state to the other’.69 Bazin elaborates this view of cinema in the essay ‘Death Every Afternoon’, in which he discusses the documentary La Course de taureaux/ Bullfight (Pierre Braunberger, France, 1951). Leviathan problematises Bazin’s theory about cinema’s ability to register death, while corresponding with the elusiveness that Bazin identifies – an elusiveness compounded by the species characteristics of fish, whose deaths are less ‘charismatic’, less visible, less cinematic than those of the bull to which Bazin gestures. Fish morphology renders impossible the dramatic death fall

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of large mammals – of the elephant in Edison’s film or of the white horse in Blood of the Beasts. The bodily signs of fish are generally more difficult to read: without eyelids, their eyes remain open and unblinking in both life and death.70 In Leviathan, the fish contained within the visible frame undergo the passage from life to death that foregrounds ‘cinematic specificity’ for Bazin.71 But the precise moment of death remains unseen, invisible – in ways that are specific to the cinematic medium,72 to species characteristics and to the massifying scale of slaughter discussed above. Here, then, the animal becomes less transparently ‘monstrative’, less mutely ‘eloquent’, than Lippit appears to suggest, and the questions of ‘showing’ and ‘depicting’ celebrated by Castaing-Taylor’s ‘Iconophobia’ essay become similarly problematised. Leviathan suggests ways in which such scenes of industrialised slaughter mark a particular blind spot within – and limit point for – these various theories of cinematic representation (Bazin, Lippit, Castaing-Taylor): none of them have the theoretical resources to respond to the ungraspability of multiple lives extinguished at indistinct moments within each frame. Contributing to this confusion of the living and the dead, Leviathan flirts with – without strictly inhabiting – the embodied perspectives of the fish, as GoPro cameras positioned at the level of the deck enable a performance of what might be fancifully referred to as a ‘fish’s eye view’. In his discussion of ‘inhuman’ perspectives offered by the film, Ohad Landesman writes: ‘when the camera floats on the wet deck alongside dead fish, it takes the perspective of one of them, bumping into the others’.73 In suggesting that the camera adopts the perspective of a dead fish, Landesman inadvertently highlights a logic of appropriation underpinning the film’s performance of embodied, ‘inhuman’ vision, and the indifference of that performance to the status of the fish as living or dead, as flesh or meat.74 By refusing to single out individual animals and their particular deaths, Leviathan not only contributes to the Heideggerian logic whereby the animal is seen to be ‘incapable of proper death’75 but exploits that logic in the service of its fantasies of technologically enabled posthuman embodiment. What Sobchack describes as technophilic fantasies of ‘beating the meat’76 are given literal force in Leviathan, as the fleshed perspective of the animal-as-meat is invoked in order to be transcended by cyborgian, GoPro vision.

Animalisation Unmoored from the rest of the world, life and death in Leviathan are presented as both anonymous and exceptional. We only ever see the space of the trawler and the immediate surrounding waters in the film. We know this to be somewhere off the coast of New Bedford, but, as one review observes, ‘[l]ocation and context are unimportant . . . because Leviathan does not “take place” anywhere, apart from somewhere aboard, overboard, aloft, and below a fishing trawler.’77 Thus we see the practice of industrial fishing – including the events of killing – in isolation.78 This resistance to placing the practice in a wider context – for example, by following the product, as in Food, Inc. (2008) – works against attempts to understand the process of industrial fishing as part of broader biopolitical regimes.79 To some extent, the attention to industrialised production, expenditure and waste in Leviathan automatically places the film in a broader context: against the backdrop of ecological concerns about overfishing and species extinction, these scenes assume a particular charge, heightened by the film’s

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apocalyptic imagery. In interviews, Castaing-Taylor has commented on the depletion of fish stocks, and on the governmental mismanaging of fishing in this area.80 A form of salvage ethnography, the film is shaped by a desire to record an industry on the verge of disappearance or irreversible change. But, as Russell suggests, Leviathan ‘walks a fine line between aesthetic spectacle and historical specificity’.81 As ‘sumptuous visuals, enhanced by the hyper-real colors’ are ‘displaced from their documentary sources’, ‘the geo-political specificity of the footage tends to be subsumed within a mythic abstraction in which the spectacle is emptied of its radical energies’.82 The exceptional, apocalyptic space of the trawler – marked out as such by the mythicoreligious name of the film itself83 and by the film’s nod to Melville – is unmoored from any explicit articulation of broader historical and political concerns. What are the implications of refusing to flesh out such concerns in a film featuring industrialised killing? Reflecting on ‘revelatory’ images of processes of animal slaughter in documentary film, Burt suggests: Few films . . . actually explore the relationship between this revelatory imagery and other aspects of culture, preferring instead to reinforce its sense of separateness. Magnetised as the eye might be to the act of animal killing, whether through fascination, repulsion or a combination of the two, the sense of isolation that the act has behind the walls of the abattoir is in fact reinforced.84 For Burt, Blood of the Beasts is an exception to this rule – in Franju’s film, we see both inside and outside the slaughterhouse: shots of postwar Paris prompt us to understand the animals as part of the lifeblood, the material resources, of the city.85 And thus for Burt, ‘by moving between the invisible practice of slaughter and the highly visible city’, Franju’s film ‘follows a more transgressive course by making killing more than merely a confined act. I would say that his less “sadistic eye” reveals a far greater and more pervasive sadism’.86 For Burt, the sadism disclosed by Blood of the Beasts is that of a systemically violent instrumentalisation of animal life that reaches far beyond the slaughterhouse, demonstrating ‘the extent to which the systems of modernity are built around the figure of the animal’.87 By contrast, Leviathan visually confines its representation of slaughter, reinforcing the separateness to which Burt refers. Leviathan offers no broader view of the (unsustainable) circuits of production and commerce in which the industrial process of fishing is bound up. Following Burt’s argument, this makes the film more ‘sadistic’ than Blood of the Beasts: Leviathan ‘magnetises’ the eye to acts of killing without channelling that vision towards a broader reflection on the social, political and economic contexts of these acts. In an essay, ‘Abattoir’, which appeared in the journal Documents, accompanied by Eli Lotar’s photographs of La Villette in Paris (one of the slaughterhouses filmed in Blood of the Beasts),88 Georges Bataille writes of the sequestration of the slaughterhouse: Nowadays the slaughterhouse is cursed and quarantined like a boat with cholera aboard. . . . The victims of this curse are neither the butchers nor the animals, but those fine folk [les braves gens] who have reached the point of not being able to stand their own unseemliness, an unseemliness corresponding in fact to a pathological need for cleanliness.89

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The imagery of the ‘boat with cholera aboard’ resonates in particular with Leviathan’s own slaughterhouse at sea, isolated in its abjection. For Bataille, such quarantining, and its disavowal of sacrifice and the sacred, is related to questions of class – ‘those fine folk’ – and bourgeois alienation from the dirt and mess of slaughter.90 While Bataille’s assertion that ‘neither the butchers nor the animals’ are victims is overstated, his emphasis on class allows for a further dimension of Leviathan to come into view. In Leviathan, the dirt and abjection of slaughter is confined not only to a particular space but to a particular class – a social identity never made explicit, but signalled by the context (in this respect, relatively little has changed since Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (1906):91 the labour of industrial slaughter is still typically carried out by immigrants and the working class, often in dangerous working conditions). Moments in Leviathan such as the lingering focus on one worker’s mermaid tattoo – and the ethnographic curiosity that the film devotes to this, recalling a history of anthropological interest in tattooing – seem telling, suggesting that the film mines the ‘fetishistic potency’ not only of its animals but also its humans. In an implicit manner, Leviathan’s simultaneous abjection and fetishisation of its ‘butchers’, shored up by class difference (against the backdrop of the cultural capital of the Harvard Lab), contributes to its positioning of the human within a realm of anonymous animality that echoes that of the non-human animals in the film. As Cary Wolfe argues, ‘the animality of the human’ arises ‘when the human becomes something anonymous, either through massification (as in Foucault’s studies of the mechanisms of biopolitics, such as population sciences and medicalisation) or by being reduced to an equally anonymous condition of “bare life”.’92 While Blood of the Beasts demonstrates an interest in the lives of individual workers, revealing (through the voiceover) details of their personal histories, Leviathan generally refuses any individualising details, not only through the lack of verbal commentary but through its visual forms. Though there are some rare particularising moments (for example, through closeups), Leviathan’s ‘butchers’ are mostly presented as interchangeable, their singularities denied by their uniform clothing and by the framing that frequently decapitates them or hides them in shadow. To return to Lippit’s logic of inversion, here in a violation of singularity, the human is forced ‘to become, like an animal, multiple’. This also recalls Julian Murphet’s reading of the ‘animalisation of man’ in the films of Robert Bresson, effected by forms of visual fragmentation and a ‘defacialized approach to the human form’.93 Indeed, the red gloves on which Leviathan repeatedly focuses uncannily recall images in Bresson’s L’Argent (1983), and the dehumanising violence of economics and class privilege documented by that film. Leviathan’s visual strategies suggest a self-conscious attentiveness to the alienating, anonymising dimensions of industrialised labour – to the reduction of the fishermen to another kind of ‘biomass’ or ‘bare life’. This levelling effect might be seen to play into the film’s self-positioning as a posthumanist ‘relativising’ of the human. However, Leviathan’s aesthetic approach also risks simply confirming and quarantining, rather than questioning, this animalisation of its human subjects. This then leaves intact the humanisation, through contrast, of the viewers, ‘those fine folk’ permitted to keep a hygienic distance from this decontextualised vision of slaughter producing the meat they consume. There is one particular scene in which the human is ambiguously ‘redeemed’ from animalisation – a scene in which a fisherman falls asleep in front of the television, filmed in a static, extended long take. Catherine Russell compares this scene with the

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film’s earlier focus on a decapitated fish: ‘Nameless and voiceless, this man is stared at as we have earlier stared at the head of a dead fish. Both man and fish return the gaze without returning the gaze: they look back at the camera without seeing it.’94 Russell’s observations imply that the human, like the fish, has been drawn into a realm of anonymous animality. But contra Russell’s assertion, this scene does not function in parallel with the earlier scene of the fish – not only because one being is alive, and one is not, but because in the television scene an individual human is granted significantly more time and attention than that given to any of the fish throughout the film. This static long take, striking within the context of Leviathan’s generally chaotic, restless motion, works to undercut the film’s apparently ‘distributed’ or nondiscriminating mode of attention. The scene’s ‘facialisation’ and identificatory potency further its redemption of the human from anonymous animality – an ambiguous redemption, of course, as the scene still gestures to a certain fascination with a particular kind of abject human state. As Westmoreland and Luvaas note in their ‘Introduction’, this particular scene arises repeatedly in the collected essays in the Visual Anthropology Review’s special issue on Leviathan, becoming the focus of theoretical reflections on the real or on selfreflexivity (an episode of The Deadliest Catch, the Discovery channel’s reality show about fishing, is on the TV that the man is watching). Westmoreland and Luvaas point suggestively to the critical bias at work here: ‘In contrast to the abstract, posthumanist fishing world that dominates the film, the contributors privileged the only scene in the film that provides an isolated human subject, composed in a recognizable manner, and rendered accessible to our observational gaze.’95 For Westmoreland and Luvaas, this suggests that Leviathan points to the disciplinary limits of anthropology and visual ethnography, as critical readings cling to the most recognisable (that is, human) content. What the predominance of this scene in critical commentary suggests further to me is a preference for engaging with the fisherman when he is falling asleep in front of the TV rather than when he is killing – a preference for questions that are more familiar to visual culture studies rather than those that might challenge its anthropocentric assumptions. This points further to blind spots around questions of slaughter, biopolitics and animal capital that I have sought to address here. Cast adrift in a sea of immersive, apocalyptic aesthetics, the slaughtered animal in Leviathan is converted into an ‘overly free-floating signifier’ – the privileged resource for, and conductor of, the film’s ‘bestial’ performance of prediscursive affect. Though Leviathan makes viscerally visible the act of killing, its abstract, indiscriminate vision reduces the fish to undifferentiated matter, refusing to grant each animal death the possibility of eventhood and singularity. In its quest to produce a cinematic vision that gives us, as the film’s directors put it, ‘a much more corporeal representation of reality’, a vision that ‘restores us . . . to the fabric of the world’, Leviathan disavows the affective labour done by animal death. To a certain extent, the film’s aesthetic regime thus inadvertently mimes the logic of the fishing trade itself, in its biopolitical rendering of disposable lives. Troubling the nonanthropocentrism through which Leviathan’s sensory ethnography is commonly framed, such a reading awakens us to the lives and deaths from which the film’s technophilic assemblages are extracted, while sensitising us to the ‘material politics of animal capital’96 at work in cinema more broadly.97 The question of the political has been extended here to include the

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film’s problematic decontextualisation of slaughter and its attendant ‘animalisation’ of the human. The material politics of industrialised slaughter has emerged as a particular limit point – its substance often elided by critical commentary on Leviathan and often resistant to the theories of animality (Deleuze and Guattari) and cinematic representation (Bazin, Lippit, Castaing-Taylor) invoked here. But the slaughterhouse is a key site – materially, ideologically – for any understanding of our relations to animal life. In continuing to develop the field of animals and film, we will need to learn how to look at the slaughterhouse, in the cinema and beyond, with critical rather than blinded or magnetised vision.98

Notes 1. Derek Bousé, Wildlife Films (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), p. 42. 2. La Règle du jeu/The Rules of the Game, film, dir. Jean Renoir (France: Nouvelles Éditions de Films, 1939). 3. Vivian Sobchack, Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), p. 245, emphasis original. 4. Nicole Shukin, Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), p. 6. 5. Leviathan, film, dir. Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel (France/UK/USA: Arrête ton cinéma/Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab, 2012). 6. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972 [1851]). 7. See Anya Jaremko-Greenwold, ‘Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold’, BOMB Magazine, 1 March 2013, (accessed 28 August 2017). 8. Sobchack, Carnal Thoughts, p. 246. 9. See Nicole Shukin and Sarah O’Brien, ‘Being Struck: On the Force of Slaughter and Cinematic Affect’, in Michael Lawrence and Laura McMahon (eds), Animal Life and the Moving Image (London: BFI, 2015), pp. 187–202. 10. On images of animal death as ‘a particularly complex kind of rupturing, of both an aesthetic tradition and slaughter’s physical and psychical sequestration’, see Michael Lawrence, ‘Haneke’s Stable: The Death of an Animal and the Figuration of the Human’, in Brian Price and John David Rhodes (eds), On Michael Haneke (Detroit: Wayne State University Press), p. 69. 11. Le Sang des bêtes/Blood of the Beasts, film, dir. Georges Franju (France: Forces et voix de la France, 1949). 12. Siegfried Kracauer, Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), p. 306. On connections between Leviathan and Franju’s film, see for example Cyril Neyrat, ‘Blood of the Fish, Beauty of the Monster’, trans. Nicholas Elliott, Leviathan DVD booklet (Dogwoof, 2013), pp. 2–5. 13. Jonathan Burt, Animals in Film (London: Reaktion Books, 2002), p. 27. 14. Shukin emphasises ‘the double sense of rendering’ as both mimetic representation and the material ‘recycling of animal remains’ (Animal Capital, p. 20, emphasis original). 15. Though the term is wide-ranging, I understand posthumanism here as necessarily involving interrogation of a humanist logic that, whether intentionally or not, ‘grounds discrimination against non-human animals’. Cary Wolfe, What is Posthumanism? (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), p. xvii. 16. For useful critiques of the celebration of ‘immersion’ that dominates commentary on Leviathan, see Ohad Landesman, ‘Here, There, and Everywhere: Leviathan and the Digital

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17. 18. 19.

20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

26.

27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36.

37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42.

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laura mcmahon Future of Observational Ethnography’, Visual Anthropology Review 31:1 (2015), pp. 12–19; and Christopher Pavsek, ‘Leviathan and the Experience of Sensory Ethnography’, Visual Anthropology Review 31:1 (2015), pp. 4–11. Mark R. Westmoreland and Brent Luvaas, ‘Introduction: Leviathan and the Entangled Lives of Species’, Visual Anthropology Review 31:1 (2015), p. 2. Lisa Stevenson and Eduardo Kohn, ‘Leviathan: An Ethnographic Dream’, Visual Anthropology Review 31:1 (2015), p. 49. See Malin Wahlberg on ‘the submissive attitude of the critics and scholars towards the intentions of the filmmakers and the scientific lab in question’. Wahlberg, ‘Leviathan: From Sensory Ethnography to Gallery Film’, NECSUS Autumn 2014, (accessed 28 August 2017). See the Sensory Ethnography Lab website, (accessed 28 August 2017). Sweetgrass, film, dir. Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor (France/UK/USA: Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab, 2009). Foreign Parts, film, dir. Véréna Paravel and J. P. Sniadecki (USA/France: Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab/Modulus Studios, 2010). Stevenson and Kohn, ‘Leviathan’, p. 49. Jaremko-Greenwold, ‘Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor’. Selmin Kara and Alanna Thain, ‘Sonic Ethnographies: Leviathan and New Materialisms in Documentary’, in Holly Rogers (ed.), Music and Sound in Documentary Film (London: Routledge, 2015), p. 195. Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975–76, ed. Mauro Bertani and Alessandro Fontana, trans. David Macey (New York: Picador, 2003), p. 241; emphasis original. For example, Stevenson and Kohn refer to ‘our shared bodily vulnerability’ in their reading of parallels between the human and the animal in the film (‘Leviathan’, p. 51). Shukin, Animal Capital, p. 7, emphasis original. Jaremko-Greenwold, ‘Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor’. Rick Juzwiak, ‘Leviathan: A Documentary Made by People Who Hate Documentaries’, Gawker, 3 January 2013; cited in Landesman, ‘Here, There, and Everywhere’, p. 18, n. 5. Shukin, Animal Capital, p. 102. Anat Pick, Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), p. 137. Mark Peter Wright, ‘Ernst Karel’, Ear Room, February 14 2013, (accessed 28 August 2017). Kara and Thain, ‘Sonic Ethnographies’, p. 187. Akira Mizuta Lippit, Electric Animal: Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000). Shukin, Animal Capital, p. 141. On the ‘flattening of animals’ worlds into a thin layer of animal world as a life on the surface of things’, see Ron Broglio, Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), p. xvii. Shukin, Animal Capital, p. 141. Ibid. Lippit, Electric Animal, pp. 184–7. Shukin, Animal Capital, p. 133. Electrocuting an Elephant, film, dir. Thomas Edison (USA: Edison Manufacturing Company, 1903). Shukin, Animal Capital, p. 104.

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film 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55.

56. 57. 58. 59.

60. 61.

62. 63. 64.

65.

66. 67. 68.

69. 70.

71.

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Ibid. p. 6. Lippit, Electric Animal, p. 191. Shukin, Animal Capital, p. 138. Castaing-Taylor, ‘Iconophobia’, Transition 69 (1996), p. 86. Ibid. (emphasis original). Lippit, Electric Animal, p. 187. See Dawne McCance’s chapter on ‘Death’ in this volume. Shukin, Animal Capital, p. 88. Kara and Thain, ‘Sonic Ethnographies’, p. 195. Ibid. p. 188. Neyrat, ‘Blood of the Fish, Beauty of the Monster’. Lippit, ‘The Death of an Animal’, Film Quarterly 56:1 (2002), 9–22 (p. 11). As Burt observes, ‘A cultural oversensitivity to the treatment of animals on screen appears to sit at odds with a culture that is also heavily dependent on animal exploitation . . .’, Animals in Film, p. 14. Lippit, ‘The Death of an Animal’, p. 11. Jaremko-Greenwold, ‘Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor’. Ibid. Castaing-Taylor notes: ‘We were interested in . . . in a reductive and absurd way – the actual fish’s experience of the world’ (ibid.). Yet the disclaimer here and the film’s approach itself seem in tension with this avowed interest. Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am, ed. Marie-Louise Mallet, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), p. 9. On envisioning animal multiplicity beyond anthropocentrism, see Susan McHugh, ‘Unknowing Animals: Wild Bird Films and the Limits of Knowledge’, in Lawrence and McMahon, Animal Life and the Moving Image, pp. 271–87. Adam O’Brien, ‘Fishwater: The Bay and Its Hyperobject’, Screen conference, University of Glasgow, 27 June 2015. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), p. 239. As Shukin argues, the thinking of animal intensities proposed by Deleuze and Guattari ‘may inadvertently resonate with market forces likewise intent in freeing animal life into a multiplicity of potential exchange values’. Animal Capital, p. 42. Sajay Samuel and Dean Bavington, ‘Fishing for Biomass’, in Joan B. Landes, Paula Young Lee and Paul Youngquist (eds), Gorgeous Beasts: Animal Bodies in Historical Perspective (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012), p. 142. Wahlberg, ‘Leviathan’. Derrida, Animal, p. 34. This particular dislocation of death is a function of specific operations of fishing. On the strategic and symbolic distribution of the act of killing in the slaughterhouse, see Noëlie Vialles, Animal to Edible, trans. J. A. Underwood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 45. André Bazin, ‘Death Every Afternoon’, trans. Mark A. Cohen, in Ivone Margulies (ed.), Rites of Realism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), p. 30. This relation between animal monstration, death and eventhood is complicated further by the field of biosemiotics and its study of signs that are not primarily ‘for’ the human. On the ethological aspects of this, see for example William J. Rowland, ‘Studying Visual Cues in Fish Behaviour: A Review of Ethological Techniques’, Environmental Biology of Fishes 56 (1999), pp. 285–305. Bazin, ‘Death Every Afternoon’, p. 30 (emphasis original).

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72. In an argument informed by Bazin’s essay and by theorisations of onscreen death by Vivian Sobchack, Mary Ann Doane and others, C. Scott Combs argues that, given the temporal unfolding of film, ‘[c]inema death takes place somewhere between a precise moment and a complex progression in time.’ Combs, Deathwatch: American Film, Technology, and the End of Life (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), p. 5. Though I invoke the elephant’s fall in Edison’s film as a visible event, it should be noted that here too – as Combs suggests – the exact moment of death is rendered radically indeterminate by elements such as editing (pp. 48–59). On time, death and eventhood in Edison’s film, see also Mary Ann Doane, The Emergence of Cinematic Time: Modernity, Contingency and the Archive (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002), pp. 140–71, and Anat Pick, ‘“Sparks Would Fly”: Electricity and the Spectacle of Animality’, Screen Media Research Seminar, University of Cambridge, 4 November 2015. 73. Landesman, ‘Here, There, and Everywhere’, p. 16. 74. For an excellent discussion of haptic visuality in relation to meatiness, drawing on Sobchack’s analysis of ‘beating the meat’, see Rosemary Deller, ‘When Flesh Becomes Meat: Encountering Meaty Bodies in Contemporary Culture’, PhD thesis, University of Manchester, 2015. 75. Lippit, ‘The Death of an Animal’, p. 12. 76. Sobchack, Carnal Thoughts, pp. 165–78. 77. Hunter Snyder, ‘Leviathan’, Visual Anthropology Review 29:2 (2013), p. 176. 78. Paravel’s presence behind the camera aside, this is also an exceptionally masculine space, lending a particular virility to the film and invoking the carnophallogocentrism critiqued by Derrida. See Derrida, Animal, p. 104. 79. Food, Inc., film, dir. Robert Kenner (USA: Magnolia Pictures, 2008). 80. Jaremko-Greenwold, ‘Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor’. 81. Catherine Russell, ‘Leviathan and the Discourse of Sensory Ethnography: Spleen et idéal’, Visual Anthropology Review 31:1 (2015), p. 33. 82. Ibid. 83. Ibid. p. 32. The film’s title references the Book of Job 41 (‘Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook?’), a connection made explicit by the film’s opening epigraph: ‘He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment . . .’. 84. Burt, Animals in Film, p. 175. 85. Ibid. pp. 175–6. 86. Ibid. p. 176. 87. Ibid. 88. For a reading of Blood of the Beasts in relation to Bataille, see Adam Lowenstein, ‘Films Without a Face: Shock Horror in the Cinema of Georges Franju’, Cinema Journal 37:4 (1998), pp. 37–58. 89. Georges Bataille, ‘Abattoir’, Documents 6 (November 1929), p. 32. Translated in Denis Hollier, Against Architecture: The Writings of Georges Bataille, trans. Betsy Wing (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995), p. xiii. 90. See Lawrence, ‘Haneke’s Stable’, pp. 68–9. 91. Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982 [1906]). 92. Cary Wolfe, Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013), p. 5. 93. Julian Murphet, ‘Pitiable or Political Animals?’, SubStance 37:3 (2008), p. 109. 94. Russell, ‘Leviathan and the Discourse of Sensory Ethnography’, p. 31. 95. Westmoreland and Luvaas, ‘Leviathan and the Entangled Lives of Species’, p. 3. 96. Shukin, Animal Capital, p. 88. 97. Leviathan’s nondiscriminating vision might be contrasted with recent films such as Bestiaire (Denis Côté, Canada/France, 2012) and Bovines ou la vraie vie des vaches/The True

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Life of Cows (Emmanuel Gras, France, 2012). While inescapably entangled in ‘the material politics of animal capital’, such films deploy an aesthetic of extended duration in order to attend to the singular gestures of particular animal lives. 98. I am grateful to Michael Lawrence, the organiser of the Contemporary Directors Symposium: Lucien Castaing-Taylor (University of Sussex, 5 June 2015), and to the organisers of the Screen conference (University of Glasgow, 26–28 June 2015) for the opportunity to present earlier versions of this chapter; I am indebted to delegates at both events, and to the editors of this volume, for their useful insight.

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15 Food Lindsay Kelley

Introduction

I

ntersections between food, animals and eating have produced established social movements and critical spaces for undoing human exceptionalism. Many artists, theorists and tactical media practitioners have been developing and enacting models for an activist posthumanism that values social alliance with animals.1 For example, webs of connection between food, eating and animals manifest in dietary prohibitions and modifications, pharmaceutical entanglements across species and genders, and the rich, deep discourses of shared suffering in factory farming economies. This chapter begins as a speculative meditation on a sign that advertises ‘Pets or Meat’. Following this sign, the chapter knots together a love of animals with a love of eating, asking what new technologies taste like, and how acts of tasting might mobilise posthuman identity formations. This chapter focuses on contemporary art practices that engage what Eben Kirksey and Stefan Helmreich call ‘multispecies ethnography’.2 The careful work of ethnography across species illuminates sites of shared affect, response and materiality, unravelling ‘how a multitude of organisms’ livelihoods shape and are shaped by political, economic, and cultural forces’.3 Disgust and shame become productive feelings for understanding both the behaviours Homo sapien sapiens bring to interactions with captive animals and for building alliances across species by deepening awareness of contact zones and mutual preferences. Nicole Shukin elegantly encapsulates the conditions that produce the complex feelings experienced under regimes of Animal Capital: ‘Automotive and meatpacking plants mark two sites where nature and labour have been most rigorously produced as parallel subjects of modern capitalism’s time-motion economies, but also where the “contingency and individuality” of labouring bodies has continuously erupted in protest.’4 This chapter puts Shukin’s abattoir, animated by ‘vital capitalism’, on the dinner table.5 I begin by looking to rabbits as perhaps the most obvious example of being pet and meat at once, even though pigs, dogs and birds also move between the home and the slaughterhouse.6

Pets or Meat Shukin shows how activities of slaughter have been ostensibly banished from the postindustrial home only to return in everything from telecommunications to immigration patterns.7 Despite this dispersal, suburban homes of industrialised nations and the slaughterhouse continue to share the same street address. In his 1989 documentary

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Roger & Me, Michael Moore detours from his hunt for General Motors CEO Roger Smith to follow a sign that reads ‘Rabbits or Bunnies, Pets or Meat For Sale’. Moore knocks on Rhonda Britton’s door and follows her into her backyard to observe a crate full of bunnies. Britton describes the difference between pets, fryers, and stewers: . . . if you butcher the older ones, then they’re stewers, they’re not fryers, and a lot of people likes fryers better than they do the stewers. . . . when my babies get four or five months old and I have fifteen, twenty babies, you gotta get rid of them some way. If you don’t sell them as pets, you gotta get rid of them as meat.8 Pet sales are the preferred outcome, but meat is the bottom line. If not pets, then meat. Britton ekes out a limited income from her bunnies and rabbits, reporting that even though ‘sometimes I only make ten, fifteen dollars a week, that’s better than nothing’. Moore edits Britton’s discourse to tell a story about capitalism, outsourcing and the harsh economic realities of life in Flint, Michigan in the late twentieth century. (Flint has returned to the global spotlight with a water supply crisis beginning in 2014 that has resulted in collective lead poisoning.9) Hardship compels Britton to lay bare the cognitive dissonance psychologists associate with the ‘meat paradox’, advertising for pets and meat at once.10 Does her sign indicate that cultures of capitalism have compromised her humanity? Perhaps, or maybe she has sidestepped humanity for other reasons. She frames her choices around her babies with love, an example of Francis Bartowski’s ‘kissing-killing knot’.11 Older male rabbits require their own territory or cages. Britton speaks of her rabbits with sensitivity to both the preferences of her human customers and to the disturbance that mass castration by biting causes to the animals: if she lets the animals age in close proximity for too long, ‘they chew their balls right off, then you have a bloody mess’. She and the rabbits share disgust. Psychologists Paul Rozin and April Fallon assert that disgust is a ‘food related emotion’ connected to animals and animal substances.12 Rozin and Fallon suggest that disgust might be ‘unmade’ or ‘weakened’.13 At first glance, Britton’s efforts to minimise castration carnage might be encapsulated by Rozin and Fallon’s vocabulary of weakening, elimination and acceptance, but in compelling ways, Britton and the rabbits refuse to unmake their shared disgust. Britton chooses to be disgusted by the same things that disgust the rabbits. This enculturation reveals an act of animal phenomenology. Their shared intolerance for a certain texture of flesh, for self-harm and carnage, produces intimacy and alliance within a constellation of broken systems because they experience disgust wholly, vividly and in a way that compels adaptation and identity shifts. Philosophers and artists have already accomplished much of this affective shift by working through shame. This chapter goes on to evidence some ways in which we might work similarly through disgust. I am inspired by Britton’s commitment to multispecies ethnography in Flint to follow art projects that invest in animals, food, speculative space, disgust and care. These immersive works engage the imagination and the senses to saturate food and food technologies with animal capital (Shukin), animal multiplicity and specificity (Derrida) and multispecies companionship (Haraway). In what follows, I first trace the broad webs of connection these artworks manifest, attending to the moments when disgust might allow us to act against colonial formations of biological individuality (Gilbert).

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The essay concludes by exploring the possibility that when human-identified animals feel disgust, as with shame, following and dwelling in these embodied sensations might open up social alliances with the more-than-human world.

Eating with Cats I look first to feminist ethology with Bonnie Ora Sherk’s Public Lunch (1971). This work was the culmination of her Sitting Still Series, a performance series designed to ‘demonstrate how a seated human figure could transform the environment by simply being there’.14 Public Lunch sees Sherk costumed in a conservative feminine dress that covers shoulders and knees, dining opposite a tiger in a cage at the San Francisco Zoo. The zookeeper lets her into the public enclosure. The same zookeeper lets a tiger into the enclosure next door. As she eats her cooked meal, presented on an immaculately draped room service cart, the tiger in the neighbouring cage devours hunks of raw meat. Looking back at the performance, Sherk describes the project’s inspiration: The idea for Public Lunch was initially inspired by room service breakfast I ordered when I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, as a guest of Mademoiselle Magazine, which had named me as a Woman of The Year (1970), for my work with Portable Parks. For breakfast, I ordered a very simple meal of poached eggs on toast and black coffee. A very elaborate table was wheeled into my room, with a white tablecloth and many covered dishes. After breakfast, I walked to the Central Park Zoo and visited the Lion House, and the total vision for the piece crystallised.15 Food connects Sherk with big cats. How does her meal relate to the lion’s meal? How does her hotel room, perhaps her award, relate to the lion’s cage? Sherk recalls that the lion keeper ‘served me the human meal during the public feeding time on a Saturday at 2 p.m., when the public knows that the animals are being fed. I was one of the animals.’16 From Public Lunch onward, Sherk used performance and collaboration to systematically explore animal behaviour. Sherk’s emphasis on ethology in an art context relates to Ronald Broglio’s ‘animal phenomenology’, or ‘how to get outside of one’s world to think and to feel from another point of view’.17 Ethology shares its now antiquated zoological definition with definitions from education and psychology that attend to character formation, with its earliest seventeenth-century uses focusing on gesture and expressive mannerisms.18 Broglio also accesses gesture and manner while theorising the productive labour of contact and surfaces. Public Lunch pursues animal phenomenology with actions designed to facilitate thinking and feeling from another point of view through movement, action and characterisation. At one point during Public Lunch, Sherk reclines in her cage, watching the sky overhead. She reflects: As I was lying down, gazing through the beautiful skylight above . . . the tiger in the adjacent cage got up on his haunches and peered over at me. I thought, ‘This tiger is perceiving me; he is looking at me. What is he seeing? What is he thinking? What is he feeling?’19

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I cannot help but recall Jacques Derrida, naked in his bathroom some years after Sherk’s lunch in the Lion House. Derrida is shamed by the regard of a ‘cat-pussycat’, a cat only nominally his, for ‘a pussycat never belongs’.20 Derrida asks, among other things, what it means to be with and do philosophy alongside this animal – ‘What does this bottomless gaze offer to my sight?’ – and then observes that ‘my animal figures multiply, gain in insistence and visibility, become active, swarm, mobilize and get motivated . . . as my texts become more explicitly autobiographical’.21 Sherk and Derrida ask their questions from similar positions of vulnerability. Sherk wears a dress and Derrida is naked, but both are exposed to feline examination. Derrida’s domestic cat emerges as the more threatening figure when comparing the two encounters, but this is only because of his shame. Sherk does not mention shame; her questions indicate curiosity and an acceptance of the specificity and depth of the tiger. Derrida’s questions return to humanity and himself, specifically his nakedness, even more specifically his ‘sex exposed’.22 We have detailed descriptions of Sherk’s and Derrida’s situations. Derrida is naked in his bathroom. His cat looks at him. This is a habitual thing, happens every day. The cat wants to be fed. Derrida does not mention if he is hungry as well as naked, but he knows the cat is hungry, and that she depends on him for her meal. Sherk and the tiger are full. They have just eaten together. Sherk lies down in such a way that she notices the tiger pop his head over the partition, suggesting that the tiger may have been able to see up Sherk’s skirt – this is a special occasion, she’s wearing a dress, and her sex may also have been exposed. But this does not matter one way or the other to Sherk. She does not become ashamed under the tiger’s gaze.23 Derrida’s shame in his sex might be read as a moment of posthuman potential, a recognition of his capacity to become with in Donna Haraway’s sense. At the beginning of her career as an artist, unencumbered by all of Western philosophy, shame plays no role in Sherk’s engagement with animals. At the peak of his career as a philosopher, peering over his enclosure, this text, his sex, to meet his house cat’s gaze, Derrida’s shame prompts him to wonder about other alliances, and contemplate the work he and philosophy must do in order to follow and become with animals. Food consumption and hunger differentiate these two scenes. Sherk and the tiger have eaten together, although in separate spaces. While Derrida’s shame under the gaze of his housecat draws his attention to his body, he can only go so far before his penis distracts him and limits his inquiry to the foundations of Western philosophy.24 His cat does not inspire him to attend to his stomach and the state of his appetite in relation to his cat’s presumed hunger. He does not eat with his cat: he feeds her. Shame makes Derrida think about how to identify differently beside his work, but the absence of visceral disgust-eliciting substances like raw meat, smelly cages and canned cat food block him from the animal phenomenology and feminist ethology of living differently that we see with Sherk and the tiger. Philosopher Alexis Shotwell writes that ‘the moment of shame is one in which one is inescapably present in the site of one’s self, one’s body. Perhaps in virtue of this, it has a capacity to hold open, to not freeze, affective space.’25 This presence to the body recalls the possibilities of disgust, and the importance of what Rozin and Fallon call ‘the borders of the self’, borders that might arguably be drawn with ‘the lining of the gut, because the gut can be viewed as a tube through the body, hence the lumen of the

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gut is not part of the body’, although of course ‘the gut is psychologically as well as physically inside the body’.26 Both shame and disgust draw the borders of the body, and ask us to imagine our bodies otherwise. Sherk’s willingness to expose herself to the tiger without shame suggests that with eating and companionship we might work through embodied emotions by doing something that some would find to be disgusting: becoming what Haraway calls ‘messmates at table’ with animals.27 Derrida and Sherk join Lynn Turner to ‘affirm that . . . whenever we are in communication with other animals – which is to say all the time, consciously or not – . . . the pathways are always open’.28 Sherk’s pathways are different from Derrida’s, and orientations to shame, food and eating compound these differences. The house cat’s hunger in captivity coupled with Derrida’s decision to let his hunger or fullness fall away from his text contrasts with Sherk’s decision to eat alongside the tiger, and join the tiger briefly in a cage. Were Derrida to allow his shame to arise and flourish in the presence of his house cat in a way that recalls Britton staying with disgust in the presence of castrated and castrating rabbits, he might arrive at the ethological moment he professes to seek and Sherk finds.

Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill From Sherk’s occupation of the San Francisco Zoo Lion House, I return to New York City, where Sherk conceived Public Lunch at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in 1970. Walking downtown and decades into the future, I find Banksy’s Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill (2008). Featuring fishsticks swimming in a bowl, sausages rooting around in bright reptile enclosures, and chicken nuggets slurping at troughs of barbecue sauce, Banksy’s installation collapses the pet shop with the butchery. Again the visitor confronts captivity: neatly contained in aquaria and cages, behind glass, lively machines act out scenes that crush together the factory farm, the feedlot, the birdcage at home, and the fast food restaurant. This is ‘Big Food’ in small spaces.29 I might translate Sherk’s ethological inquiry in this pet store: ‘The animatronic sausage is perceiving me; he is looking at me. How does he see? How do sausages think? What is he feeling?’ The sausage’s motors bring him into focus: alive with guts and plastic decay, his soft insides are packed into a casing, a performance, undulating, pink, limited, as exposed as Derrida’s sex. Sherk offers a meditation on specificity and captivity, working to engage and develop questions around animal phenomenology. Her human body, Bonnie Ora Sherk’s specific human body, meets this tiger, a specific tiger, scheduled to perform at 2 p.m. at the San Francisco Zoo. Nearly forty years later, Banksy relies on his invisible and masculine anonymity to force as many bodies as possible into postures of consumerism and consumption. We stoop and bend at the waist, jostling in a crowded storefront to get close to the sausage tanks. The transparent glass smudges. Hands, faces, saliva and mucous meet through the looking glass. To borrow Haraway’s language of ‘parting bites’, these sausages ‘nourish indigestion’ through the material semiotics of aquaria, glass, containment, and through the gravel and heat lamps that couple a slow desertification with the gentle bake of the hot dog stand.30 Animals also nourish indigestion with feelings. Banksy attaches the pet shop and restaurant to systems that evoke some of Derrida’s shame alongside a generous portion

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Figure 15.1 Silvia Celiberti, ‘Pig in the Garden’, The In Vitro Meat Cookbook, Next Nature Network.

of playful disgust. The animatronic sausages bring Shukin’s erupting labouring human and animal bodies into conversation with time-motion technoeconomics to remind humans that the slaughterhouse produces complex subjectivities across species. Positioning the visitor as a consumer rather than a curious spectator or co-investigator (as with Sherk), the installation bluntly cuts across the sites where human animals become with other animals in commodity chains, revealing the butcher, the pet store and the barbecue grill to be spaces of emotional and financial as well as surface entanglement. At the Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill, human visitors are encouraged to share Rhonda Britton’s complicated love for her bunny babies. Together with too many earthlings packed into small spaces, visitors worry about who will cut or bite what when and thus become materially entangled with the machines that make the sausage and the slaughterhouse move.

Pig in the Garden The cramped space of Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill in Greenwich Village conjures an absent pasture with its series of degraded pens and dioramas. With ‘Pig in the Backyard’, Next Nature Network imagines a pastoral scene that might outlast the petshop, the zoo and New York City as we know it. Their immaculate, fecund compendium, The In Vitro Meat Cookbook (2014), confronts the reader with the direct gaze of a photorealistic pig, etched in blood, clasping a blade of red grass in her mouth, a white picket fence protecting her from the blank white void outside. The design collective responsible for this animal proposes that ‘pigs in urban backyards could serve as the living donors for muscle stem cells through biopsies every now and then’.31 The

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pig in the garden complements the bioreactor in the kitchen. A bioreactor reproduces a bodily interior, creating the ideal environment for cell growth inside a machine. As a kitchen appliance, the countertop bioreactor might be read as the inverse of the refrigerator: designed to encourage warm, moist proliferation and controlled, sterile expansion as opposed to chilling and arresting the unfulfilled potential of a ragtag population of fungi poised to erupt when the electricity stops. To taste this pig is to taste the technology of bodily interiors. Reconciling this technology with a kitchen design that works against moist proliferation speaks to a potential shift in what ideal kitchen consumers find disgusting. By working through this disgust, we might allow our senses to extend beyond that which is animal, triangulating animals and machines with body boundaries across species. The possibility of meat in vitro, or under glass, animates projects that range from non-profit research organisations like New Harvest to experimental art collectives like Tissue Culture and Art Project to speculative design explorations like The In Vitro Meat Cookbook. With the pig in the garden, I propose that feelings of disgust might promote new identifications across species and technologies by mobilising taste as a way of understanding speculative and real in vitro meats. To do this, I read The In Vitro Meat Cookbook, specifically ‘Pig in the Backyard’ and ‘Home Incubator’, alongside Futile Labor (2015), a recent work from the Tissue Culture and Art Project. Writing about how proponents of biotechnologies often seek to ‘engineer the “world” out of the technology by isolating, molecularising and capitalising the relationships between humans, non-humans and land that are presently so troubled’, Jacob Metcalf visits in vitro meat by way of popular culture, philosophy, biotechnology research and animal rights.32 Metcalf asks how we might change the conversation, declaring that he ‘would rather be a cyborg than a bioreactor’ in part because the promissory rhetoric of in vitro meat, figured through the bioreactor, feeds a feeling of ‘alarm that we as eaters are taking away too much from animal and ecological life’.33 Next Nature Network’s ‘Pig in the Backyard’ presents a scenario where we might incubate the worldliness Metcalf seeks. Writing about multispecies surrogacy – a not-unrelated topic – Haraway finds that living and working alongside both fabulated and physically present multispecies ‘messmates at table’ ‘nourishes indigestion, that is, a kind of dyspepsia with regard to proper place and function’.34 Bodily expressions of indigestion and dyspepsia are often accompanied by feelings of disgust and shame. Recalling Shotwell’s ‘shame in alterities’, I ask how disgust and shame work together such that we might embrace new pleasures of the table. Working through shame presents opportunities for identifications otherwise; might working with disgust present opportunities for a radical reconsideration of how bodies, food and animals relate? Technologies of the kitchen are well positioned to enact the struggles Metcalf articulates. In a future where communities of people live together and care for animals who they biopsy for tissues that are propagated in kitchen bench bioreactors, the immediate world of the backyard infuses every interaction with worldly in vitro meat technologies. The community care for the pig brings the ‘locavore’ and ‘artisanal’ modes of production associated with small batch food networks like honey and kombucha to pork, one of the most widely shunned meat products (even as pot-bellied pigs wriggle their

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way onto more and more warm laps). Imagining a pig in the backyard, and imagining that pig as a community resource, confronts and challenges many of the world’s eaters. Choosing the pig for this project means choosing tension and ‘staying with the trouble’.35 Will the pig’s flesh be sufficiently transformed by the kitchen bioreactor to render it kosher? In an interview about in vitro meat’s kosher potentialities, Rabbi Arnold Bienstock reminds readers that for Conservative Jews like him, cheese and gelatin ‘are re-defined as not really being meat, as the substance is so incredibly transformed. So using [this technology] the Conservative movement might say it’s not really meat because it doesn’t come from an animal.’36 In the case of in vitro meat, the substance is transformed, as with gelatin and cheese, and the animal – a pig whose flesh would be forbidden under other circumstances – is both present and cared for collectively: ‘While the pigs live happy lives as companion animals, feeding on our waste food, their cells are cultured.’37 Of course, readers cannot know which communities will look after this pig; but given the diversity of communities around the world, the project issues a subtle invitation to imagine how we might nourish the indigestions of dietary prohibitions and cultural differences as we transform our palates. A less challenging or more universally loved animal might not trigger the levels of disgust required to make these technologies both worldly and hospitable. I do not wish to lose sight of the bloody grass. The pig in the backyard has a blade of grass tucked neatly under her snout. The pig eats, transforms and embodies the plant, calling on our capacities to become with the plants we eat. Karen Houle observes that ‘becoming plant as a labour of, and for, unbecoming a certain tendency in human thinking and human action, emits particles of that unfaithful, massive, power of connectivity’.38 As leaves of grass tickle the pig’s snout, her flesh becomes imbued with the slow time of plants, with Houle’s particles and Michael Marder’s ontophytology: ‘just as plants embody sense in its finitude and materiality, so they spatially express time, illustrating the deconstructive temporalisation of space and spatialisation of time, or, in a word, différance’.39 This pig demands différance – that is to say, she undoes, resists and defers the ways in which her body manifests its dimensions, time and measurement. She exists in the garden and also in the kitchen appliance bioreactor that multiplies her tissues while she roots around in the grassy earth. For pigs dwelling in the space-time of the factory farm with its small gestation cages, dim light and bare floors, the pig in the garden must be a pig dream, or a pig alien abduction. Factory farmed pigs cannot defer or displace anything – they cannot call on ontophytology to exist in the world. With disease as their only defence or deferral, their bodies are limited, inert, caged until they are consumed. The grass, the fence and the blank beyond are outside of the imaginations of intensively farmed pigs. Would the occasional poking or probing for seed tissues be an acceptable violation in exchange for a more expansive form of captivity? ‘Pig in the Backyard’ disrupts boundaries between the home, the slaughterhouse, pets and meat by considering plants, animals and space in webs of interrelation. The speculative aspect of this work facilitates and deepens its responsiveness to shifting contexts. Here, the contact zones and surface encounters that Sherk and Banksy offer are more explicitly mapped to the theoretical realm, to Barad’s ‘infinite finitude’: ‘Theories are living and breathing reconfigurings of the world . . . All life forms (including inanimate forms of liveliness) do theory. The idea is to do collaborative research, to

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Figure 15.2 Oron Catts, Chris Salter, Devon Ward, Ionat Zurr, Futile Labor, 2015. Photo: Chris Salter/Devon Ward.

be in touch, in ways that enable response-ability.’40 In its speculative, ‘inanimate form of liveliness’, this abducted pig dream does theory that allows social alliances of many possible kinds to happen off the page.41 The blank beyond extending in flatness, forever, behind the fence posts locates the myriad debates, activities and feelings we may attach to pork, plants, plant time, captivity and care.

Food Rewards Remember that the bioreactor in the kitchen complements the pig in the garden. How might a bioreactor be worldly, how might the bioreactor itself be a cyborg? Disembodied Cuisine (2003) saw Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr working with Guy Ben-Ary as the Tissue Culture and Art Project to create a dining room and laboratory kitchen installation to build and eat the first scaffold-based in vitro meat steaks. Responding to their site in Nantes, France, the steak was seeded with an amphibious cell line. This dollop of pink flesh was soft and wobbly, with the felt-like scaffolding not quite breaking down beneath the shiny, newborn amphibian flesh. Elsewhere, beside the Tissue Culture and Art Project, I have hinted at the importance of disgust and rejection to the process of extending the palate and cultivating social alliances with animals, suggesting that ‘perhaps it is the human palate that should be pushed to appreciate the uncanny difference of in vitro meat’.42 These appreciations take time.

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Subsequent in vitro meat efforts have revealed the degree to which meat eaters are attached to familiar texture. For example, in 2013 Mark Post developed an in vitro object for a televised taste test in London. The project cost €250,000 and was financed by Google cofounder Sergey Brin. Together, the team sought the holy grail of the ‘hamburger patty’. To change the jelly-covering-felt texture of scaffold-grown in vitro meat, the natal blob documented for Disembodied Cuisine must grow up, move in the world and exercise, developing some measure of muscle tone, perhaps the soft Munchausenby-proxy texture of veal, or perhaps the stronger, chewier adult texture of steak. With their most recent work, Futile Labor (2015), Catts and Zurr with Chris Salter and Devon Ward have created a mechanism that encourages humans to modulate disgust and manipulate perception of other ontologies by mechanically intervening in the texture of in vitro meat. Many of the ideas that animate Futile Labor were articulated in Catts and Zurr’s 2013 essay ‘Disembodied Livestock’. Imagining in vitro meat as disembodied livestock further develops the worldliness and interconnection demanded by posthuman and multispecies social alliances. Catts and Zurr write, ‘The way we grow, construct and treat our living or semi-living food, will affect us both as a culture and as a biology (body). Knowing the bodies we choose to eat through their cycle of technological production will have a direct impact on our bodies and the bodies we ourselves produce.’43 These statements could address any food or any animal, from the pig in the backyard to Banksy’s animatronic sausages and Sherk’s beautiful room service meal. These questions about knowledge and care evoke cyborg and posthuman bodies, shaped by atmospheres of global war, pharmaceutical saturation and stationary bicycles. What might we learn from thinking culture and biology through the particular mechanical acts of translation that Futile Labor offers? In the installation, a room full of carefully presented videos and prototypes fades into a dark orifice, passage, tunnel or maze, which then opens up into a large space housing a small round enclosure. Evoking a yet unseen piece of gym equipment, the enclosure stands alone but suggests multiplication. The round enclosure invites crouching, gawking and marvelling postures familiar to us from zoetropes and coin-operated binoculars. The human bodies circulating in the room move around under a lighting design shared by spinning classes, where spotlights flatter the harder bony parts of bodies: tops of heads, elbows, shoulders. After waiting my turn and pushing my nose into the crack in the enclosure as far as it will go, I see, or think I see, tiny bloody bits pulse and churn inside. The exhibition media release offers that with ‘electrical stimulation, the muscle cells contract and their resulting movement is translated into humanly perceivable sensations: vibration, light and sound’.44 The passage between the room of machines and documentation and the room staging the obscure fitness routines of disembodied livestock builds a haptic, muscular connection between these electrical and mechanical movements. At the exhibition’s opening night in 2015, the maze portion of the project is dark and wobbly, inhabited by invigilators at critical turns. Their presence guards against the kinds of blind fumbling that might encourage the sensory expansion brought about by a sighted person being compelled to feel their way through the pulsing, humming corridor. Electricity and mechanical movement produce hermeneutic force. This is a work of translation. How will Futile Labor offer a way to form social alliances across matter, time and species?

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Experimental scientists and artists recognise the importance of mediation to multispecies learning. The formula machine, screen or puzzle plus food yields many of our interspecies communication insights, from intelligence tests for birds, to sign language for gorillas, to rats solving mazes. These attempts to share language also share suffering. Haraway observes that shared suffering ‘has to be material, practical, and consequential, the sort of engagement that keeps the inequality from becoming commonsensical’.45 Food reward experiments flirt with exactly the common-sense inequalities Haraway prefers to avoid, for these are difficult, fraught exchanges that struggle for reciprocity. Dominique Lestel includes these relationships in his formulation of ‘compromising friends’.46 For example, crows who participate in training routines and captive breeding programmes dumb down the vastness of their capacities and ontologies, lowering themselves from the sky to join our limited logic games while simultaneously engaging with humans to survive. Thom van Dooren argues that ‘the most important and challenging question that we need to learn how to ask is: what kinds of relationships and forms of life are crows themselves interested in taking up?’47 The crows van Dooren visits, the ‘extinct in the wild’ ʹAlala– (Corvus hawaiiensis), live in a bioreactor called a captive breeding programme. We may soon have to ask these same questions of our captive herds of disembodied livestock. What do agential beings want? Can a bioreactor provide a sufficient platform for shared suffering and shared understanding? Futile Labor dangles the distant food reward of palatable in vitro meat to set up an experiment that motivates humans to travel down the subtle maze that van Dooren walked beside the crows. In the dark, appreciating mediated and uncertain signals, we stumble, reach out and look for invigilators.

Microaffections In my readings of these works and the stories they tell about becoming with animals in captivity and on the table, I have shown how each of these art projects mobilises the activist potentials of food and eating. Social alliances across forms of life require these kinds of encounters and experiments alongside deep attention to Broglio’s ‘surface’. To open up further in lieu of a conclusion, I will touch again ‘the touch of surface upon surface’ to build on an emergent politics of disgust.48 In a discursive moment that emphasises ‘microaggressions’ or tiny acts of violence, experimental art reminds us that we might meet and resist such aggressions on the microbial level by cultivating ‘microaffections’, or tiny liberations. To materially engage microbial worlds in a contemporary art context, Beatriz da Costa asks, ‘how can a revived ‘environmentalism’ function if we deny it the existence of billions of actors?’49 She begins to answer this question in her own garden, joining Marder and Next Nature Network’s pig. By drawing out and engaging invisible earthlings, da Costa plumbs moist dark places, our guts, our bioreactors, our sex, preparing these worlds for levels of affective engagement previously denied them. In this work, da Costa joins feminist students of ethology who recognise invisible earthlings by composting the exhausted humanist concept of the ‘individual’. Scott Gilbert, Jan Sapp and Alfred Tauber undo multivalent notions of individuality by calling for a perspective shift akin to Broglio’s encouragement towards ‘animal phenomenology’: ‘for animals,

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as well as plants, there have never been individuals’.50 For microaffection to progress, this shift of perspective (what might individuality be or not be from the standpoint of another species?) must combine with an understanding of individuality as a historically specific concept aligned with colonial constructions of power and citizenship. Beside Derrida, Gilbert et al find that ‘intermingled relationships . . . lead us into directions that transcend the self/nonself, subject/object dichotomies that have characterized Western thought’.51 When life forms unfold over and with the microbe and become complex ‘symbionts’, ‘you are what you eat’ becomes a set of decisions about what, who and how many ‘you’ might be. ‘How you eat’ then becomes a cooperative enterprise: ‘in the microbial world, “you are what you eat” can be taken literally’.52 While eating and transcending make uneasy bedfellows, the works and spaces explored in this essay show how eating and food become vectors through which we might pursue the questions asked by Derrida, Haraway, and Gilbert, Sapp, and Tauber. A holobiont who stays with and works through shame and disgust might dwell in the particles that connect latent individual impulses with a world of ‘more than bodies’ that is vast, interdependent, multiplying. When individualities are replaced by symbiosis, allowing affective states to arise by scraping some scum from the doorstep, giving in to a gag reflex or smelling a smell conjures responsibility for a larger network of beings.53 Attending to ‘invisible earthlings’ allows ingestion to be an act of microaffection. Individuals know that opening up to other ways of being might happen by taking the time to understand and experience shame and disgust. This essay has taken up several occasions where shame and disgust might be worked through in proximity. If we engaged and ingested more such encounters without unmaking or weakening our disgust, we might find that alliances with invisible earthlings of all shapes and sizes become graspable. The works and networks pulled together here urgently invite those tempted to peer beyond the sex of Western philosophy to cut, slurp and gag their way into the holobiont posthumanarchy.54

Notes 1. Haraway has recently arrived at ‘being a compost-ist, not a posthuman-ist: we are all compost, not posthuman’. Donna J. Haraway, ‘Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin’, Environmental Humanities 6 (2015), pp. 159–65. 2. Eben Kirksey, The Multispecies Salon (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014). 3. Eben Kirksey and Stefan Helmreich, ‘The Emergence of Multispecies Ethnography’, Cultural Anthropology Online, 14 June 2010, (accessed 28 August 2017). 4. Nicole Shukin, Animal Capital (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2009), p. 128. 5. See Nicole Shukin’s chapter on ‘Capitalism’ in this volume. 6. For an extended discussion of rabbits as pets and meat, see Lindsay Kelley and Eva Hayward, ‘Carnal Light’, parallax 19:1 (2013), pp. 114–27. For more about companion animals traveling between ‘contact zones’, including gustatory ones, see Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2008). 7. Shukin, Animal Capital. 8. Roger & Me, film, dir. Michael Moore (USA: Dog Eat Dog Films/Warner Bros., 1989). The quotations from Britton following this excerpt are also from Roger & Me. 9. For a timeline of the Flint water crisis, see ‘Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s Office Released This Flint Water Timeline to Address Questions on Who Knew What and When’, (accessed 28 August 2017). Soon after, Michigan declared a state of emergency and President Obama authorised Federal Emergency Management Agency intervention (‘President Obama Signs Michigan Emergency Declaration’, (accessed 28 August 2017). Terese Olson examines the science behind corrosive pipes in her short article ‘The Science behind the Flint Water Crisis: Corrosion of Pipes, Erosion of Trust’, The Conversation, (accessed 28 August 2017). See S. Loughnan, N. Haslam and B. Bastian, ‘The Role of Meat Consumption in the Denial of Moral Status and the Mind to Meat Animals’, Appetite 55:1 (2010), pp. 156–9. Francis Bartkowski, Kissing Cousins: A New Kinship Bestiary (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), p. 157. Paul Rozin and April Fallon, ‘A Perspective on Disgust’, Psychological Review 94:1 (1987), p. 23. Ibid. p. 38. Peter Cavagnaro, ‘Q & A: Bonnie Ora Sherk and the Performance of Being’, blook (12 June 2012), (accessed 28 August 2017). Pierre-François Galpin, ‘Cultivating the Human & Ecological Garden: A Conversation with Bonnie Ora Sherk’, Independent Curators International Post, (accessed 28 August 2017). Cavagnaro, ‘Q & A’. Ronald Broglio, Surface Encounters: Thinking with Animals and Art (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2011), p. xv. The Oxford English Dictionary, ‘Ethology’, (accessed 17 September 2015). Stephanie Smith (ed.), Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2013), 129. Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am, ed. Marie-Louise Mallet, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), p. 7. Ibid. p. 32, p. 35. Ibid. p. 4. Writing about the possibility that a politics of liberation might arise from feelings of shame, philosopher Alexis Shotwell traces shame’s potential as an identity-forming feeling with Adrian Piper’s Calling Card (1986). Piper distributes a small card whenever she is in the company of people making racist remarks or laughing at racist jokes. The card confronts the behaviour with a text explaining her racial identity. Adroitly moving from queer performativity to racial identity, Shotwell argues that shame can be recuperated as a productive feeling for people aligned with white supremacy. By working through their shame, such subjects might align themselves with people of colour against white supremacy. Without collapsing the differences and tensions between racial identity and anti-racist activisms to human identity and posthuman activisms, I am curious about how working through shame functions alongside disgust, which often arises with shame at the dining table. Alexis Shotwell, ‘Shame in Alterities: Adrian Piper, Intersubjectivity, and the Racial Formation of Identity’, in Silke Horstkotte and Esther Peeren (eds), The Shock of the Other: Situating Alterity (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007), p. 129. Donna Haraway has written about this scene between Derrida and the cat extensively and thoughtfully. I do not presume to add any nuance to her reading with this very short

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25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

30. 31.

32. 33. 34. 35.

36.

37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48.

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treatment; here I pick up on Derrida’s shame, the feminist potentials of ethology and the capacities that shame might develop in this context. Haraway, When Species Meet, pp. 19–27. Shotwell, ‘Shame in Alterities’, p. 129. Rozin and Fallon, ‘A Perspective on Disgust’, p. 26. Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 301. Lynn Turner, ‘Introduction’, in Turner (ed.), The Animal Question in Deconstruction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013), p. 6. For an intersectional analysis of debates around food industries and global health, see the ‘PLoS Medicine Series on Big Food’, PLoS Medicine (19 June 2012), (accessed 28 August 2017). Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 292. Next Nature Network, The In Vitro Meat Cookbook (Amsterdam: BIS Publishers, 2014). ‘Pig in the Garden’ illustration by Cor van der Weele, pp. 76–7; ‘Home Incubator’ illustration by Daniel Ong, p. 24. Jacob Metcalf, ‘Meet Shmeat: Food System Ethics, Biotechnology and Re-Worlding Technoscience’, parallax 19:1 (2013), p. 74. Ibid. pp. 83, 84. Haraway, When Species Meet, p. 292. Donna Haraway, ‘Staying with the Trouble: Xenoecologies of Home for Companions in the Contested Zones’, Cultural Anthropology Online (27 July 2010), (accessed 28 August 2017). Tim Barribeau, ‘Is Vat-Grown Meat Kosher? We Asked a Rabbi’, iO9: We Come from the Future (27 January 2010), (accessed 28 August 2017). Next Nature Network, In Vitro Meat Cookbook, 76. Karen Houle, ‘Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics as Extension or Becoming? The Case of Becoming-Plant’, Journal for Critical Animal Studies IX:1/2 (2011), pp. 89–116, 113. Michael Marder, Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), p. 95. Karen Barad, ‘On Touching – The Inhuman That Therefore I Am’, differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 25:3 (2012), pp. 207–8. Ibid. pp. 207–8. Lindsay Kelley, Bioart Kitchen: Art, Feminism, and Technoscience (London: I. B. Tauris, 2016), p. 87. Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr, ‘Disembodied Livestock’, parallax 19:1 (2013), p. 111. Curtin University, ‘Futile Labor’, News and Events (11 August 2015), (accessed 28 August 2017). Haraway, When Species Meet, 77. Dominique Lestel, ‘The Friends of My Friends’, trans. Jeffrey Bussolini, Angelaki 19:13 (2014), pp. 133–47. Thom van Dooren, ‘Authentic Crows: Identity, Captivity and Emergent Forms of Life’, Theory, Culture & Society 33:2 (2016), p. 43. Broglio, Surface Encounters, p. 131. On resistance at the microbial level, see the Critical Art Ensemble’s ‘Fuzzy Biological Sabotage’, in Molecular Invasion (Brooklyn: Autonomedia, 2002). On the animacies of toxins, see Mel Chen’s Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012). The project presents a practical microbiological ‘investigation into the possibilities of relating between humans and members of the lived non-human worlds that we are least likely

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50. 51. 52. 53.

54.

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lindsay kelley to recognize as social actors’ (Beatriz da Costa, Invisible Earthlings (2008–2009), [accessed 28 August 2017]). Scott Gilbert, Jan Sapp and Alfred Tauber, ‘A Symbiotic View of Life: We Have Never Been Individuals’, The Quarterly Review of Biology 87:4 (December 2012), p. 336. Ibid. p. 326. Ibid. On smell and affective states, see Margaret Morse, ‘Home, Smell, Taste, Posture, Gleam’, in Hamid Naficy (ed.), Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place (New York: Routledge, 1999), pp. 63–74. Thank you to my colleagues at the Art and Politics Bureau at NIEA, UNSW Australia, especially Scott East, for conversation and feedback on this essay. Thank you also to the 2015 BFA Honours cohort for their contributions to my thinking about disgust, shame and art.

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16 Fragility Claire Colebrook

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ne commonplace regarding the present is that ‘we’ are living in an age of risk, precariousness, catastrophe (Eburt), terror (Ignatieff), expulsion (Sassen), disaster (Guggenheim), emergency (Mickey) and (connected with this) animality.1 The more the human is deemed to be an emergent property, rather than a stable and differentiated aspect of a formed ecology, the more heightened and intense is the panic regarding human difference and the fragile border between animality and humanity. In this chapter I will argue that a significant historical shift has taken place around the threshold of fragility: whereas environmentalism (with its nascent concern for animalism that would flourish in animal studies) looked with benevolence and pity at the fragility of non-human life and was critical of human exceptionalism and hubris, the new age of the Anthropocene has reduced the difference between human and animal, and with that has generated a new cogito and a new imperative for the future: ‘We humans are at risk of extinction, and therefore we must continue to be.’ Indeed, the very formation and legitimacy of the ‘we’ – the sense of a single humanity and a distinctly unified species – is generated by its precarious and vulnerable condition. It is not just climate change, the Anthropocene and other ‘existential’ threats that prompt the thought that however posthuman and diversified we might like to feel twenty-first life has become, the possible extinction of humans as a species has intensified the sense of humanity as a whole;2 it is also the case that however humanity was defined – set apart by technology, memory, political life and archival practices – that threshold is now being threatened by a fall ‘back’ into animality or stupidity.3 It might seem, then, that ‘we’ have a conundrum. On the one hand the late twentieth century is the era of environmentalism, of anti-Cartesianism, of ecology and – therefore – of an increasing and increasingly joyous affirmation of both human animality (our embodied and affective selves) and our companion species. On the other hand, the late twentieth and early twenty-first century has been marked by a hyper-Cartesian panic regarding the fragility of the human emergence from animality. One might parse this historically, arguing that there was a period from Jeremy Bentham onwards where a philosophy of life would allow for the inclusion and recognition of animal happiness: for Bentham the key utilitarian question had nothing to do with reason or species, but whether animals could suffer. Such an attention to feeling and affect over reason would reach its zenith with the valorisation of animal becoming over the rigid lifelessness of Cartesian man. That is: there was a significant historical shift when the privileging of man as a rational animal (from Aristotle to Descartes) was first challenged

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by Bentham, who argued for the ethical importance of suffering rather than reason, and then displaced by what is now a common anti-Cartesianism. Antonio Damasio’s Descartes’ Error captures this perfectly: for too long, he argues, we think of the self as a reasoning mind housed in a feeling body; but the self is primarily one of affect, with reason being a dependent capacity.4 This anti-Cartesian turn was, however, followed by a resurgence of human exceptionalism in the face of the loss of humans as a species; this is perhaps most evident in projects such as the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University where the hoped-for global priority will be saving human intelligence, even if that means shifting intelligence to an artificial or non-biological home.5 One might also see these two moments or epochs as in a relation of reversal: the decades of environmentalism where one might affirm kinship with all life along with the progress of animal rights and animal liberation have – like the gains won for workers’ rights, welfare, social justice and civil liberties – been erased by a new era of neo-liberalism. Either a constant state of emergency and fear has put justice on hold, or one assumes that market forces will yield a better world, and that capitalism will be as good for animal freedom as it is for human freedom.6 The generosity of thinking about forms of life other than human (environmentalism) has given way to panic, managerialism and geo-engineering in the face of a threatened human species. I would suggest that rather than a tension between environmentalism and Anthropocene panic, the two seemingly distinct senses of the end of humanity be seen as complex articulations of fragility. Animal life and care for animal life has its modern articulation in the question posed by Bentham: can an animal suffer?7 The capacity to feel, or to register exposure to the world, is what unites and divides ‘man’ and animal;8 to ignore an animal’s suffering would be inhumane. A certain critique of Cartesian man – or man as mind who happens to be housed in a body, where feelings would disturb or hinder reason – proceeds by way of noting the fragility of being in the world: vulnerability, precariousness and the needs of life tie all living beings to a world that is felt before it is known. Yet, it is that same fragility of the living being – of not being a law unto oneself, of being essentially ‘towards-the-world’ – that generates a different mode of fragility that is distinctly human. Humanity as an effect of an animality that transcends itself might appear to be a worn-out Kantian or Heideggerian motif (along with being narrowly European). Perhaps it is only an uptight bourgeois and urban configuration of ‘man’ who would ever imagine that there is something like the human and, even more implausibly, the animal. Even a cursory glance outside the world of modern European ‘thought’ would disclose multiple worlds of non-human persons.9 Various modes of indigenous, mythic and perhaps everyday folk wisdom would disclose worldly comportments where who someone is is given not through their autonomy or rationality but by way of a common occupied space, and a shared history of human and non-human persons. When Jacques Derrida announces that he is certain that no philosopher ever considered the gaze of ‘the wholly other being called animal’ he unifies and marks out a tradition that has generated ‘the human’ by way of not addressing animality.10 For Derrida, there is something philosophical/metaphysical about this decisive occlusion of the animal. Other modalities might be found in poetry: ‘thinking concerning the animal, if there is such a thing, derives from poetry. There you have a thesis: it is what philosophy has, essentially, had to deprive itself of. It is the difference between

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philosophical knowledge and poetic thinking.’11 It might seem that one necessary response to this line of thought would be to turn to all those modes of (poetic) living and thinking that know nothing of the human, or ‘the animal’. I would suggest, though, that the philosophy of humanity is symptomatic of a predicament that is being played out well beyond the discipline of philosophy and theory. Rather than see a history of enlightenment and an increasing inclusion and recognition of human and non-human others as persons, one should see the industry of personhood as dependent upon a violent destruction and appropriation of much of the planet’s life. In short: the condition for the possibility of enlightenment humanism in the West was the expropriation of life and energy for the rest of the globe. ‘Man’ can only feel the possibility of an animal’s potential suffering in the leisurely gaze enabled by bourgeois domesticity. Further, when that same ‘man’ starts to perceive the world as suffering from climate change, when the centuries of stabilised nature give way to a far more volatile earth that no longer appears as a harmonious milieu of abundance and fruition, it is no longer the inclusive sense of fragility that enables a pitying gaze towards the animal. Whereas environmentalism enabled the sense of a benevolence towards animals that would be in accord with a principle of overall happiness, the encroaching sense of a literal end of man sees a resurgence of hyper-Cartesian humanism. If mass extinctions not only threaten the environment upon which we depend but also pose the possibility of an end to humans as a species, then environmentalism starts to take second place to saving humanity. Neither geo-engineering, nor planetary migration, nor saving intelligence by uploading or replicating count as environmental strategies; and if they are conservationist, they are so only in their manner of conserving a certain type of (self-elevating and self-exempting) humanity. Here, for example, is Nick Bostrom of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, writing on the imperative and urgency of securing the future of the single human capacity of intelligence. It is not only that humanity is worthy of care above and beyond all other forms of life, but that this preserved humanity must be one of intellect and technological maturity. What prompts Bostrom’s sense of urgency is the intensely risk-laden and fragile nature of the future of human intellect. Humans are exposed to risk because of the peculiar nature of their fragility. Oddly this much is shared by thinkers as different as Bostrom and Stiegler, with technology and the possibility of being mature defining human value. It is because we have developed intelligence by way of technology that we are capable of a complexity and maturity open to no other animal, but this dependence renders us fragile and therefore exposed to a risk unique to humans. For Bostrom: We should perhaps therefore not seek directly to approximate some state that is ‘sustainable’ in the sense that we could remain in it for some time. Rather, we should focus on getting onto a developmental trajectory that offers a high probability of avoiding existential catastrophe. In other words, our focus should be on maximising the chances that we will someday attain technological maturity in a way that is not dismally and irremediably flawed. Conditional on that attainment, we have a good chance of realising our astronomical axiological potential.12

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It is because human intelligence and technological maturity are so fragile, so at risk of either stalling or becoming destructive by way of runaway artificial intelligence, that Bostrom insists on the global priority of averting existential catastrophe. One might sum up Bostrom’s argument thus: humanity (set apart by its capacity for intelligence) is at risk, and this risk should become a global priority to outweigh all others. The cogito of the twenty-first century is ‘I may be at risk of non-being, and therefore I must continue to be.’ If the threat of animal suffering and global extinction propelled an environmental movement that was profoundly anti-Cartesian, rejecting the distinction of ‘man’ as a being whose intellect set him apart essentially from other forms of life, this virulent anti-Cartesianism that has celebrated life in all its forms has nevertheless been eclipsed, accompanied and intensified by a new cogito. Humanity is fragile and therefore must be saved. The threat of human non-being has placed environmental benevolence and justice on hold for a new state of emergency (ushering in geo-engineering, genetic modification and reverse extinction). The very fragility of the border between humanity and animality enables a reiterated call for human survival. Bostrom’s work, for all its seeming extremity, is not a complete outlier – neither in philosophical discourse, nor in what one might discern from the policies, responses and strategies that have followed the announcement of the Anthropocene. One of the common motifs of animal studies is our proximity to non-human animals, rather than our difference. And yet it is just this seemingly posthuman gesture of recognition that has also led to an affirmation of the human, precisely because of the fragility of our difference that is seen, now, to be at risk. As Derrida argued, well before the widespread turn to ‘the animal’, the philosophical problem of the border between humanity and animality could only proceed in the manner it has because one had never questioned the very notion of ‘the animal’. To see the human as at risk of falling back into animality, as being precariously close to animality, is to allow the figure of ‘the animal’ to be sustained without question. Both Bernard Stiegler and Giorgio Agamben have (in different ways) stipulated that it is precisely because there is not an essential but an emergent difference between man and animal that ‘we’ are at risk of respectively falling back into animal stupidity or bare life, life no longer formed through relations of common world disclosure. When Derrida announced a historical threshold that marked out the last two centuries from a history of human exceptionalism (which in turn troubled the very notion of history), he suggested that there was no doing away with the human-animal distinction. What would follow would be a radical opening to something that could no longer be unproblematically called life: That is why I would hesitate to say that we are living through that (if one can still confidently call life the experience whose limits come to tremble at the bordercrossings between bios and zoē, the biological, zoological, and anthropological, as between life and death, life and technology, life and history, etc.). I would therefore hesitate just as much to say that we are living through a historical turning point. The figure of the turning point implies a rupture or an instantaneous mutation whose model or figure remains genetic, biological, or zoological and which therefore remains, precisely, to be questioned. As for history, historicity, even historicality, those motifs belong precisely – as we shall see in detail – to this auto-definition,

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this auto-apprehension, this auto-situation of man or of the human Dasein as regards what is living and animal life; they belong to this autobiography of man, which I wish to call into question today.13 The ethical implications would be profound, with the ‘wholly other’ being of what had been ‘called animal’ disturbing the complacent closed humanisms that had separated man on the basis of a capacity. What was at stake, Derrida insisted, was a shift from capacity (understood as an ability of a will) to a passivity; the ‘capacity’ to suffer altered the standard philosophical conception of capacity as dynamis, a potentiality that actively brings itself into actualisation.14 Being able to suffer is not a power in the sense of an ‘I can’ – an ability to foresee, manage or bring a future into being – but an exposure or passivity that can no longer fall within the philosophical figure of the subject. And yet, Derrida’s insistence on a historical event that opens the epoch of ‘man’ to multiple thresholds that cannot be reduced or mastered from the position of serene theoretical wisdom (but are rather felt in the manner of a disturbance or solicitation) was certainly not the last word in high theory, deconstruction or philosophies of animality. The sense we may have of an animal’s suffering and the possibility of overcoming a Western tradition that has named itself ‘human’ by constituting an other whose gaze or difference it never considered – this sense of shared fragility, where we might be oriented by compassion rather than mastery – has been eclipsed by a sense of uniquely human fragility. Here is Stiegler, who insists that only a human can be stupid, because only a human can fall back into stupidity. This is not to say that humans are essentially intelligent or essentially distinct from animality; rather, it is because humans do not have an essence that they have the capacity to be other than the orientation of their species: Between the human and the animal there is a change of regime of individuation, which is a change of relation to its preindividual funds. Humans individuate psychically, whereas animals individuate specifically. [. . .] This vital incompleteness that perpetuates the individuation process, rather than congealing it as a crystal, establishes and meta-stabilizes a situation of différance. This différantial situation, constantly forming and de-forming, that is, differentiating itself, and thus perpetually individuating itself, and in struggling thus against its crystallisation, that is, against its pure stabilisation, against its hardening, if not its ‘stupidity’ (‘stupidity’ being a psychic and transcendental trait in that it is not a specific trait, not the trait of a species: the animal head is an incorrect representation), results in the passage from the mineral to the biological. Since ‘stupidity’ is a transcendental trait, that is (in Deleuze), psychic rather than specific, ‘cowardice, cruelty, baseness and stupidity are not simply corporeal capacities or traits of character or society; they are structures of thought as such’. Nevertheless, these structures of thought must be thought on the basis of a psychosocial (that is, both psychic and social) preindividual ground or fund.15 Stiegler is, here, correcting Derrida’s criticism of Deleuze: that Deleuze simply maintained a distinction between human and animal. What should concern us here is not

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so much philosophical exegesis and possible misreadings, but why Stiegler wants to point out the significance of human stupidity. There are different regimes of individuation, ways in which each single body takes on the form and life that it does. However complex and world-oriented an animal’s being might be, however rich its involvement in play, display, art and communication, humans have developed alongside a history of inscriptive technologies and ecologies. Humanity is a technological event, and technology is a pharmakon. Humans may become complex, future-oriented, thinking, concerned beings – captivated by images and texts that render each life singular and open to the desires of others. They may also fall back into a stupidity that is not open to animals but is dominated by an animalistic relation to life. In such a situation humans would be nothing more than the drives that sustain them.16 Stiegler is insistent that human psychosocial individuation and animal individuation are different in kind, even if both are emergent and dependent upon a history of technology. What sets the human apart is a mode of trans-individuation based on a complex archive: individuals become who they are by way of reading, viewing and hearing works of the past, and in doing so rise above the ground of their animalspecies being. But this individuation by way of an ungrounded archive is fragile, allowing humans and humans alone to suffer the stupidity of being nothing more than their species being. Derrida had declared that it was nothing more than philosophical dogma – and philosophical self-constitution – that had generated the partition and naming of ‘the’ animal, and he included Jacques Lacan and Emanuel Levinas in this history of unthinking self-enclosure.17 Like Lacan, for Stiegler it is the human’s original incapacity that generates the archival history that will enable the complex circuits of psychosocial individuation. There is no essential difference between man and animal, if by that one refers to a stable distinction that would precede and govern history, but it is the very existence of history – or of a time where beings must be exposed to contingency, death and the needs of living on – that will create a distinct technosphere that generates what will become humanity. More importantly still, humans have a mythic or mystagogic relation to their insufficiency, having narrated the fault of Epimetheus (who gave all animals positive traits but left humans without a specifying feature): we have a notion of ourselves as incomplete, and as requiring ongoing supplementation. Our reading and viewing is oriented to the past and the archive as if there were a word of truth and futurity worthy of our time.18 Humans are not predestined. Because they require the gift of techne to fulfil what they may become, their fulfilment is never guaranteed. It is precisely this risk or fragility that Stiegler deems to be imperative. If I have the potentiality to become human – and if this potentiality is not predestined – then it seems there is all the more urgency to secure oneself against stupidity, against allowing one’s gift of techne to close down life as if one were (like animals) given some positive determining trait. Stiegler is not saying that animals are stupid, nor that being stupid is being like an animal, even if ‘animality’ captures all non-human multicellular organisms; rather, humans have a potentiality for a distinct mode of individuation which is productive and future-generative because it is fragile or not determined. Humanity is different from animality, not by way of some stable essence, but by way of a complex psychosocial individuation that is currently at risk.

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The environmental movement has been lamenting and warning about species extinctions for quite some time. With the advent of climate change, the loss of species has been felt more intensely in terms of the extent to which we humans rely on complex relations and ecosystem services in order to survive. As long as species fragility or possible extinction was oriented towards animals, ‘we’ could display attitudes of compassion, benevolence and shared suffering across differences, as though we were all of one life, all deserving of care. As humans literally face extinction the attitude towards non-human life has shifted towards varying degrees of managerialism (geoengineering, reverse extinction, genetic modification, manufacture) and panic. What Stiegler’s work – prior to any mention of the Anthropocene – articulates is the cogito of the twenty-first century. ‘I may not exist; therefore I must be.’ Or: if ‘we’ are facing extinction, then ‘we’ must survive. For Stiegler it is because humanity is not simply another animal – differing neither in degree nor kind – but a new mode of relationality, that humans are at risk; and this is also why they must avert this risk. We might tie Stiegler’s dire warnings both to the declaration of the Anthropocene (now uniting humans as a destructive geological force, who then give themselves the same right to ‘save’ the future) and to other less literal predictions of the loss of the human. One might think of all the popular culture tirades against social media, visual culture and the speed of technology in general – all placing our humanity at risk. Here, one should connect two bodies of work or two broad characterisations of the twenty-first century: ours is a time and society of risk, catastrophe, disaster, emergency, terror and extinction (where we are all more fragile), and at the same time our very being or difference is one of fragility. We are at risk because we are fragile, and the risk is worth averting because we are fragile. If we were secure in our being – simply the animals that we are – then there would be no panic, and no special worth attached to our being. The post-nineteenth-century sense of our shared animality has given way to a sense of unique fragility. We are perhaps, for the first time in philosophical history, experiencing a categorical insistence on the value and difference of the human. The new right to life of the twenty-first century is not that of the sacredness of every living being. If nothing is sacred and man is not set apart by a quality (divinity, reason, intelligence), then what becomes wondrous in its fragility and contingency is the very generation of the sacred, of the emergence or potentiality of a life that is not merely or barely living. It is because humanity has achieved so much difference by way of technology, politics or culture and because that archive is fragile that we must survive. Stiegler is not alone in offering warnings that we may lose our humanity and therefore our future. ‘Humanity’ is the supplement, the becoming or contingency that is always exposed and at risk; ‘humanity’ is not ‘a’ future but the future, a forwardmoving temporality that can only occur if the complexity of the archive is somehow sustained. If we fall back into mere immanence then the world is all in all and we exist in the same dull round. Consider the quite different insistence on the absence of the sacred by Agamben, whose work on animality is a continuation of his broader theory of sovereignty. Why, one might ask, have Derrida, Stiegler and Agamben tied the question of sovereignty – or the right over life – to the question of animality? For Stiegler and Agamben, politics would be transformed if one were to think of ‘man’ not as something secure in

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being, as a special type of animal, but as a being who has to become human by way of constant and repeated differentiation. For Agamben this ‘anthropological machine’ is sovereignty (where animality as non-human is produced by an act of constitutive exclusion). For Stiegler, it is the history of becoming-human by way of sharing a common archive with others that enables one to say ‘I’, and in so doing to sublimate one’s baser drives. Before sovereignty is political in the narrow sense it concerns the constitution of the human as a power over animality. For Georges Bataille, ‘animality’ names complete immanence; if one animal consumes another, it does not do so by way of affirming mastery or right. Sovereignty emerges when the relation of life to life is ruptured by transcendence. If there were some divine law or hierarchy – or even a difference of reason – one might say that one animal would have the right to eat or kill another by virtue of law. The post-Bataille tradition of sovereignty does not argue that humans consume animals because they possess a sovereign right. Rather, it is by way of consumption, violence and sacrifice of life that sovereignty breaks away from immanent life. Agamben’s work on animality is, like most of the work that explains the emergence of humanity from a life that remains all too proximate, an intensification of human difference and worthiness precisely by way of indifference. And in a similar spirit Derrida will argue that there is neither continuity or essential difference between man and animal, but instead no such thing as ‘the animal’ so much as anarchic differences that do not come down to ‘a’ difference. What the genealogy of sovereignty exposes is not the primacy or essential distinction of the human, but its precarious, fragile and proximate relation to an animality that it recognises as fictive but constitutive. A surface reading of Agamben might take the following form: we are losing our humanity, at risk of becoming nothing more than bare life, reduced to the status of animals. The figure of the refugee, the internee of the camps, and the body on life support all display a bare life that no longer has the complex social relations that humans have developed. If this were all that Agamben were saying, then he would be once again reinforcing the Aristotelian difference between humans as speaking political beings and animals as lacking world and logos. And if this were so, then the treatment of humans as if they were nothing more than animals would be a violation of their essence. As part of his broader project of sovereignty and its occluded conditions, what concerns Agamben is indifference and the fragility of difference. Like Stiegler, although in quite different ways, for Agamben what has come to be known as man is the outcome of a history of compositions, forms, manners or apparatuses. Whereas Stiegler is far more explicit about humans as having co-evolved by way of a history of technology and archives, Agamben – whose work is manifestly more attached to the texts of the Western tradition – places more emphasis on the pure event of speaking as the opening of a world. What he shares with Stiegler, though, is a certain logic that marks the new cogito of the Anthropocene. ‘I may not be, therefore I must be’: there is no essential difference between humans and animals, and the very difference that has marked out a new mode of individuation is both so fragile and so threatened with disappearance that its retrieval is a matter of unquestioned urgency. In his book specifically devoted to ‘man and animal’, it seems at first as though Agamben’s project will be yet one more critique of human essentialism and exceptionalism. Here his work (like Martin Heidegger’s) is indebted to Jakob von Uexküll

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and the concept of the Umwelt; the animal’s world is the outcome of a series of comportments. Heidegger had concluded that animals are poor in world and had tied this poverty to Dasein’s exposure or being-towards-death: if I am to die then not all possibilities are open to me, and so I am thrown ahead of myself – given no law or rule as to what I must do or who I am – called by the future that I must decide.19 Heidegger – recognising that humans were not secured as rational animals and that for the most part they do not exist with the heavy burden of futurity – notoriously panicked regarding the decline of Dasein in an age of what would later be referred to as biopolitics. What seemed to concern Heidegger was not the treatment of humans as if they were animals, but the treatment of animals and our living world as if it were so much manipulable lifeless matter: ‘Agriculture is now a motorised food industry – in essence, the same as the manufacturing of corpses in gas chambers and the extermination camps, the same as the blockading and starving of nations, the same as the manufacture of atom bombs.’20 There is so much that is alarming and that has caused alarm in this claim of Heidegger’s, but its pertinence and horror should extend beyond the observation that one of the greatest minds in philosophy felt a sense of loss regarding the motorisation of the food industry that would be best explicated by comparing it to gas chambers. Like Stiegler and Agamben after him, Heidegger does not see technology, motorised agriculture or the fall into animality as causing the loss of what ‘we’ should no longer simply call human. Rather, the thought of technology is the thought of a perilous emergence that because of its very dynamism, potentiality and futurity – or openness – is at risk of rendering us inauthentic. The fact that animals are poor in world (rather than worldless) at once gestures towards indifference – if they have a (poor) world then they are not without orientation, comportment, manner or form of life – but also seems to demand a renewed difference. If humans can lose the world and lose themselves then this seems to generate both a preliminary mourning and a heightened sense of the worthiness of difference because of its fragile and inessential nature. Speech, writing, cinema, the archive, the generation of a border between sacred and profane, the genesis of sovereignty and mastery: none of these differential machines are simply properties ‘we’ have. They are emergent and potential, and it is our very proximity to animality, along with the increasing recognition of all the work required to generate human difference, that has at once destroyed essentialism and separatism but intensified the urgency of a properly human future. If we have lost pure difference and the security of a border between man and ‘the animal’, we have intensified a panic regarding the fragility of the human in the face of indifference. I suspect that I am not alone in caring less about Agamben’s complex theorisation of the relation between man and animal than I am about a broader symptom of the Anthropocene of which his work is an expression. After decades (or more accurately centuries) of erasing essential, transcendent and divine distinctions between man and animal, it is the increasingly fragile and emergent nature of the human and animal distinction that has generated the imperative for a hyper-human future. It seems that the less essential and the more fragile the emergence of the human has been deemed to be, the more intense is the desire for a hyper-human future. It also appears that the more fragile, risk-burdened and impossible this future appears to be, the more we must demand its appearance.

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While it’s true that Derrida has been insistent that there is no such thing as ‘the animal’, that philosophy has constituted itself by way of a division and naming of ‘the animal’ that it has never fully interrogated, and that his own corpus is populated by a bestiary that problematises ‘man’ as an autobiographical animal whose integrity is effected from traces that he cannot master, the future for Derrida proceeds from the same archival potentiality or promissory power that marks concepts and the generation of the human. More importantly, it is because the genesis of the human is so precarious – so inessential, so capable of being erased – that it also promises a radical futurity that cannot be contained by any inscribed determination of man. In the most subtle form imaginable, here is the new cogito generated from the fragility of the human: it is because ‘man’ is fictive, inscribed, proximate but never immediate with what he has called animal that there is always the ‘perhaps’ of a future that it would be unjust or monstrous to foreclose. In a manner that is far more self-critical and reflexive than Agamben, Derrida notes that ‘man’ is the being who has staked his claim on lacking an essence, and that this openness or default grants him a future that animals may not have. What he dreams of, beyond this long history of separation, is not unity or rights – not a compassion that we may offer to those companions of other species who may suffer – but a future of another mode of inscription, intimated from within the limits of the present: I am dreaming, therefore, in the depths of an undiscoverable burrow to come. . . . I was dreaming of inventing an unheard-of grammar and music in order to create a scene that was neither human, nor divine, nor animal, with a view to denouncing all discourses on the so-called animal, all the anthropo-theomorphic or an-thropotheocentric logics and axiomatics, philosophy, religion, politics, law, ethics, with a view to recognizing in them animal strategies, precisely, in the human sense of the term, stratagems, ruses, and war machines, defensive or offensive maneuvers, search operations, predatory, seductive, indeed exterminatory operations as part of a pitiless struggle between what are presumed to be species.21 There are two tendencies in the preceding passage. The dominant tendency is one of dissolution: not humans saving or redeeming animals, but of dreaming from within the language of the human of a space or plane that no longer knows ‘man’ as he has inscribed himself in opposition to the noise of other species. There is, nevertheless, a counter-tendency in the notion of the ‘burrow to come’ of generating a future from the very power that renders any closed or determined essence of man both possible and impossible, the power of language that will no longer be confined to the human. It will be the forces of inscription, a language beyond language, that will open the future to a humanity that has done violence to itself. What Derrida does not consider explicitly is another future that will be ‘foreign enough to everything that, in all human languages, will have harboured so many asinanities concerning the so-called animal’: a future without humans as such.22 That is, Derrida’s posthuman and postanimal future is one in which the ‘animot’ (the word that has inscribed animality as distinct from humanity) has given way to a language beyond language. It is not a future in which humans simply do not exist. In this respect, even though it is only gestured towards as a dream, Derrida’s imagined future is close to the future of Kojeve quoted by Agamben:

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If Man becomes an animal again, his arts, his loves, and his play must also become purely ‘natural’ again. Hence it would have to be admitted that after the end of History, men would construct their edifices and works of art as birds build their nests and spiders spin their webs, would perform musical concerts after the fashion of frogs and cicadas, would play as young animals play, and would indulge in love like adult beasts.23 From a strictly Cartesian separation of man and animal it seems that we have travelled beyond environmentalism (including respecting and pitying animals who suffer like us) to a posthuman imperative of the Anthropocene. Man is not a separate essence but a capacity for difference, and it is this difference that must recognise its fragility and open a future in which it is no longer enslaved and enclosed in Cartesian self-presence or the dead system of a solely human language.24 If, in the Anthropocene, ‘we’ begin to imagine ‘the animal’ not as a lesser being on whom we might bestow rights or pity, but as a life from which reason and humanity diverge (with a threshold that is ever so fragile), then it follows both that we might panic if we begin to be nothing more than the unthinking negation of that life (becoming stupid) or that we might imagine beatitude by way of proximity with an animality no longer reduced to ‘the animal’, and a man no longer bounded by the inertia of humanity. The Anthropocene and the fragility of a properly human future has not fully erased the less survivalist tendencies of compassionate environmentalism. The relationship of fellow feeling has some force today with thinkers as diverse as Peter Singer and Derrida both recalling an animal’s capacity to feel pain, and refusing a categorical metaphysical distinction between humans and animals. For Singer, as a utilitarian, the pleasure or benefit we might gain from killing animals for food neither outweighs nor justifies the harm inflicted.25 Singer explicitly rejects the ‘speciesism’ that would somehow regard an animal’s suffering to be any less significant than our own; the problem is one of suffering per se, whether certain living beings could count as having the capacity to suffer, and then how to negotiate a world in which we are mindful of the sufferings of others (some of whom are not proximate and for whom we do not have any immediate sympathy or attachment). Yet despite emphasising the capacity to suffer, Derrida’s work on animality is also a continuation of Heidegger’s criticism of the notion of man as a rational animal. For Derrida, like Kant, there is something inhuman – with a power beyond our ken – in the concepts of freedom, democracy, law and justice. That is, one could not place the power of freedom, justice, democracy or law within life; once such terms are inscribed they allow for the thought of what justice might be or might promise, into a future beyond calculation and interest. Like Kant, then, Derrida maintains a sense of an ethical imperative that (even if it is only known or given from within life) is irreducible to life. If such ethical concepts are at odds with animality they are also at odds with humanity, considered as a natural kind or species. I would draw a distinction, however fragile, between Singer’s notion of a common capacity to suffer that ought to wake us from our speciesism, and Derrida’s confrontation of the threshold between animality and humanity. For Derrida there is something like a formal power that dislocates humanity from itself, that opens humans to an infinite or non-living future. Derrida’s deconstruction of Heidegger’s separation of man from animal – where Heidegger argues that the human hand opens up a futural world of gesture irreducible to a mere

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body part – is twofold. First, Derrida argues that the hand that renders ‘us’ human needs to be considered in terms of technics;26 if the hand can ‘speak’ this is because it is already part of a system of signs and gestures that exist with a certain autonomy, detached from any living body. Heidegger’s attempt to think non-metaphysically (or to avoid simply assuming a human essence by looking at humanity as a capacity to speak, disclose or not simply exist in itself) relies upon a potentiality rather than an essence, what humans may unfold or disclose rather than what they are. This is why, for Heidegger, bad faith is possible, and forgetting is possible; we act and think as if humanity were simply a being in the world – a thing – rather than the potentiality for things to appear. The hand, or the capacity for gesture, is therefore not human. What makes us most human – what enables us to say ‘I’ and ‘we’ – is technics. Second, one cannot enclose technics within the human. According to Derrida, Heidegger never considers all the possibilities of ‘zoological knowledge’ that might suggest that (say) an ape’s ‘prehensile organs’ might also open a world and time beyond the ape’s mere animal being. What I want to draw attention to is, again, neither the history of ideas, nor the progress of philosophy in relation to ‘the animal’, but a distinction between two types of relation to animality. The first would be one of sympathy and a capacity to suffer. Damage or harm might be done to non-sentient beings, but only some have the ability to feel pain. If we humans were to grant ethical consideration to nonhumans it would be by way of a recognition of our common life, but would rely upon that life being granted a certain capacity of feeling. The second border would depend on a quite different capacity, and would divide the human from itself. For Kant, reason has nothing to do with us as a species, but is a transcendental capacity. For Heidegger, it is not our being as humans, but an openness to world that creates a difference. And for all his objections to what Derrida has referred to as ‘humanualism’ his claim is not that there is no difference between humans and animals, but that the difference runs within the human.27 To deconstruct the opposition between human and animal is to point out that all those features that set ‘man’ apart – writing, voice, hand – are radically inhuman and machinic. One becomes human by way of inscriptive processes that are already implicated in animal life; or, more accurately, there is no such thing as ‘animal life’ in any pure or purely animal sense. Animality is already technical: an animal’s milieu and relation to others and itself are made possible by inscription, or a system of marked differences and relations. If there is such a thing as ‘humanity’ – such as the predominantly modern Western practice of imagining oneself as a member of a unified, global and trans-historical species – this is made possible by a number of complex inscriptive systems. (And one might include the ownership of domestic pets, farming, hunting, as well as art and writing in the narrow sense, in all these distributions that divide ‘man’ from animal.) What unites various post-structuralist thinkers is (unremarkably) a critique of the concept of ‘man’, by way of the concept of inscription. Rather than say that animals have all the integrity and subjectivity that supposedly elevates the human, thinkers such as Derrida regard animal life to be as dependent upon inscription as the human. If, then, Heidegger is critical of the concept of ‘man’ as some being with a stable nature and the powers of freedom and reason, and instead defines man as given through relations with the world and futurity, Derrida suggests that excluding

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animals from this destruction is simply dogmatic (and in this respect his work differs from Stiegler). Why is difference – the dignity of not being a fixed and determined self, but being given over to the dispersal of time – given solely to ‘man’? Rather, then, than accept either a posthumanism that simply does away with the difference of ‘man’ (in which case one would have to ask why plants and other life forms do not seem quite so worthy of our concern as animals),28 or affirm a prima facie right accorded to the constituted difference of the human (in which case one would not only be affirming humanity, but differentiating humanity from within itself), I want to argue that there is a transcendental and inhuman fragility that increasingly and intensively binds us to the problem of ‘the animal’, in a manner that is inescapably essential. To be more clear about the disjunction that I am refusing, one might define twentyfirst-century posthumanism as either an insistence upon the life, vibrancy and worthiness of all things where humans are neither essentially nor morally distinct (at which point it might make perfect sense to will ourselves into non-existence, harmful as we have been for life in general); or we might affirm the supreme difference and worthiness of the human, even – and especially – if we see it as an emergent and fragile event. This disjunction does not pertain only to philosophy and high theory but marks cultural theory and popular culture. At one extreme we might think of Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter or any of the forms of popular posthumanism that refuse the existence of the Cartesian subject (such as the highly marketable promotion of Buddhist practice and ‘mindfulness’. Bennett’s insistence that everything – even a pile of rubbish – has life is a high theoretical version of a broader feel-good sense that beyond our narrow conception of intellect there’s a world of unselfconscious affects and body intelligence.29 At the other end of the spectrum, and diametrically opposed to an embrace of the vibrancy of matter, would be forms of hyper-Cartesianism that insist on the possibility and necessity of developing mind well beyond its limited human and biological form. Again there are high theoretical and popular versions: Ray Kurzweil’s insistence on a posthuman singularity privileges disembodied thinking and intellect in the same manner as Bostrom’s philosophical valorisation of intelligence.30 Against this exclusive disjunction – either vitalism or post-biological abstraction – one might think of a world in which one affirms potentialities not confined to species without elevating intelligence as the prima facie capacity of the future. There might be a thousand tiny potentialities that would not be definitive of species. If it is possible for humans to imagine intelligence as a free floating potentiality, not necessarily tied to the species, it is equally possible to imagine affects, qualities, capacities and predicates as having an existence and expressive force not confined to or definitive of ‘species’. Such a notion is hinted at in many modes of mythic thought – Western and non-Western – where various animal motifs are ways of thinking of cunning (fox), courage (lion), devotion (canine), distributed cognition (‘hive-mind’) or speed (gazelle). It is possible, then, to think well beyond the figure of ‘man’ defined against ‘the animal’, but to do so would not necessarily generate a world of posthuman proximity with the vibrancy of life, and might instead generate a world in which the existence of species (especially humans) would not be a possible category. More specifically, to affirm that matter is vibrant is perhaps to step beyond the human and posit a life that flows through all things, but it would be more radical and more accurate (given what we know of life) to say that there is

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no ‘life’, in general, no ‘matter’ in general – however vibrant – just as there is no such thing as ‘the’ animal. If there is no such as thing as a general substrate of life, matter or animality one might affirm a commonality of suffering alongside a proliferation of differences that not only destroys the (fetishised) border between ‘man’ and ‘animal’, but also among all animals. If one were to say yes to all of this, then the future of humanity would neither be imperative nor catastrophic, but simply irrelevant.

Notes 1. Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, trans. Mark Ritter (London: Sage Publications, 1992); Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (London: Verso, 2006); John David Ebert, The Age of Catastrophe: Disaster and Humanity in Modern Times (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2012); Michael Guggenheim, ‘Introduction: Disasters as Politics – Politics as Disasters’, in Manuel Tironi, Israel Rodriguez-Giralt and Michael Guggenheim (eds), Sociological Review Monograph Series: Disasters and Politics: Materials, Experiments, Preparedness 62:1 (2014), pp. 1–16; Michael Ignatieff, The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004); Sam Mickey, Coexistentialism and the Unbearable Intimacy of Ecological Emergency (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016); Saskia Sassen, Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014). 2. Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘The Climate of History: Four Theses’, Critical Inquiry 35:2 (Winter 2009), pp. 197–222. 3. Bernard Stiegler, States of Shock: Stupidity and Knowledge in the Twenty-First Century, trans. Daniel Ross (Cambridge: Polity, 2015). 4. Antonio Damasio, Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (New York: Putnam, 1994). 5. See (accessed 28 August 2017). 6. Wayne Pacelle, The Humane Economy: How Innovators and Enlightened Consumers Are Transforming the Lives of Animals (New York: Harper Collins, 2016). 7. Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am, ed. Marie-Louise Mallet, trans. David Wills (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008); Julian Murphet, ‘Pitiable or Political Animals?’ SubStance 37:3, The Political Animal (2008), pp. 97–116. 8. See Cary Wolfe, ‘Introduction: Exposures’, in Stanley Cavell, Cora Diamond, John MacDowell, Ian Hacking and Cary Wolfe, Philosophy and Animal Life (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), pp. 1–42. 9. Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, The Relative Native: Essays on Indigenous Conceptual Worlds (Chicago: HAU Books, 2015). 10. Derrida, Animal, p. 14. 11. Ibid. p. 7. 12. Nick Bostrom, ‘Existential Risk Prevention as Global Priority’, Global Policy 4.1 (2013), p. 25. 13. Derrida, Animal, p. 24. 14. Ibid. p. 27. 15. Stiegler, States, pp. 52–3. 16. Ibid. p. 59. 17. Derrida, Animal, p. 14. 18. Bernard Stiegler, Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus, trans. Richard Beardsworth and George Collins (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), pp. 193–4.

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19. Martin Heidegger, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, trans. William McNeill and Nicholas Walker (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), p. 177. 20. Heidegger, quoted in John Caputo, ‘Heidegger’s Scandal: Thinking and the Essence of the Victim’, in Tom Rockmore and Joseph Margolis (eds), The Heidegger Case: On Philosophy and Politics (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992), p. 266. Caputo’s discussion of this quotation takes this sentence from Thomas Sheehan’s ‘Heidegger and the Nazis’ from The New York Review of Books, 16 June 1988, pp. 41–3. The more well-known version of this text appears in The Question Concerning Technology: ‘Agriculture is now the mechanized food industry. Air is now set upon to yield nitrogen, the earth to yield ore, ore to yield uranium, for example; uranium is set upon to yield atomic energy, which can be released either for destruction or for peaceful use.’ Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. William Lovitt (New York: Garland, 1977), p. 15. 21. Derrida, Animal, pp. 63–4. 22. Ibid. p. 63. 23. Alexandre Kojeve, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. James H. Nicholls (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980), p. 159. 24. Giorgio Agamben, The Open: Man and Animal, trans. Kevin Attell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), p. 9. 25. Peter Singer, Practical Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), p. 1979. 26. Like Stiegler, Derrida’s radicalisation stems from Heidegger’s Question Concerning Technology. Before there is technology in the narrow sense (of modern industry), ‘techne’ is the possibility of a repeatable system that allows experience to maintain a certain sameness through time. 27. Jacques Derrida, On Touching, Jean-Luc Nancy, trans. Christine Irizarry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005). 28. Jeffrey T. Nealon, Plant Theory: Biopower and Vegetable Life (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016). 29. Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010); Joseph Cardillo, Body Intelligence: Harness your Body’s Energies for Your Best Life (New York: Atria Books/Beyond Words, 2015). 30. Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (New York: Viking, 2005).

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17 Friendship Johnny Golding

‘He says indifferently and alike – how are you, friend?’ (Walt Whitman, 1881)1

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o grasp what is at stake one must be prepared to accept three propositions: First, that friendship is neither a gift bestowed nor an object of contemplation. Quite the reverse, friendship entails an economy of logic and gift exchange built of a wholly different order, imbued, as we shall see below, with a certain kind of attunement (-listening), a certain kind of reaching out (-event); a certain kind of response (-ability), a certain kind of respect (-fullness), and a certain kind of play (-time), all diffractively generated without a single string attached. It is strictly born from the senses, and more than that, from a kind of exquisite, erotic, inhabited logic of the senses. Second, that this logic of the senses is in and of itself both radically heterogeneous and wildly singular – an allin-one instant – where ‘instant’ names a durational moment, whose duration is itself the thick, sensuous embodiment of energy, of quietude, of flow, exchange and intensity. In this sense, too, friendship sidesteps the proverbial issue of betrayal (as in the lament ‘O my friends, there are no friends’) and offers up instead something more delicate, more delicious and indeed infinitely more durable.2 Third, that it (friendship) knows no bounds, though, paradoxically, this pluralised ‘it’ only exists as an entangled encounter of embodied exchange. For this is a profound, supple, being-with-together whose togetherness (belonging) is itself simultaneously emboldened by the equally profound simplicity of its ability to enable the subjective/gerund’s ‘just be’/‘just being’ of aloneness as a treasured, solitary intra-independence. This entangled encounter finds particularly strong resonance with the field of animal studies. For the move away from an anthropocentric agency of Self:Other expresses a queer economy of sorts, one that enables a kind of ‘together-apartness’ in each other’s company without, in so being ‘apart-together’, becoming an all-exclusive, cannibalising, co-dependent unity of One. Nor does this entangled encounter trade in exclusion, with familiar collateral damage consequences summarised by the words ‘uninvited’, ‘untouchable’, ‘excommunicated’, ‘illegal’ or ‘Other’. Instead this is a being/belonging suppleness (of encounter) that ‘enables’. It is never granted nor received. It simply ‘is’. It requires nothing of identity politics, selfhood, social agency,

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though its very expression enables and indeed solidifies all this and more. At its core is an ability to harness a particular type of raw energy, a raw sexual presence, even joy – an athleticism, respect, trust, odd form of mastery and slowness of time, one that not only goes beyond the traditional (and anthropomorphically bound) tropes of ‘fraternity’, but beyond the linguistic turn itself, with all the trappings of ‘subject’ and ‘object’, the becoming-x’s or transcendental why’s of the world, now thrown to one side. In so doing, a form of consciousness and indeed a (somewhat) new form of communication is enabled, one that speaks a wholly different language game; one that is embodied in the brea(d)th and fractal singularities that today go under such headings as quantum entanglements, ana-materialisms, incompletenesses and undecidabilities.3 One could say at the outset, then, that friendship is a kind of sticky belonging, a cohesive, raw ‘blood poetics’ whose very re-cognise-ability, whose very responseability, is best expressed at the moment of its strange-cohesive together-apartness of encounter, mired in the senses, multiversal in its duration and relationally, expressively ‘alive’ in its being-with/apart. In this context, too, friendship manages also (and consequently) to maintain a shelf-life quite beyond the immediacy of its encountering. Not unlike the star, it can be observed, felt, shared, relived a billion light-years after the very encounter from which it was birthed has gone to black, vacuumed against that event horizon we might wish to call, at its most direct point: extinguished. Friendship’s economy of encounter sidesteps the familiar debt/gift exchange that metaphysics exacts from both its friends and enemies, not to mention from those sentient beings designated as Other. Instead, it generates a strangely emboldened, shared knowing, one that can be called a suspended attunement (or aliveness) to otherness, an aliveness without recourse to old-fashioned forms of master/slave power imbalances or splits between ‘self’ and the infamous capital ‘O’ Other. Suspended attunement to otherness does not (because it cannot) privilege an unknown being in any shape or form as either self or (an) Other or anything else yet to come. Nor does it mean to imply some kind of free-fall relativism or mid-flight bungee-jump hang, generating an ‘in between’ or transitioning state of affairs. Leastwise is it romantic, though its irruptions may launch over a thousand delicious plateaus. Friendship requires a wholly different logic, an ‘inhabited’ or ‘embodied’ logic of senses, emotions, libidinal economies, calculations, empathies and intentions, closer to the Roussean pitié (compassion/ self-love), the Socratic parrhēsia (truth) and its reinvention by Michel Foucault in his Courage of Truth, as epimeleia (the technologies of care).4 All this (and more) I learned from a wildly playful and sometimes dangerous horse, whose fire-eyed, split-down-the-middle-brown-white face earned him the name Manhattan, corrupted from the Ojibwe Madweijwan: the ‘heard-flowing’ of where the two rivers meet. Manhattan and I were not just friends; we were the very best of friends. It is to him – to this semi-feral buddy, this intelligent prankster of a mustang – that this chapter is dedicated.

learning how to listen Required first and foremost is an inhabited, wearable relation to plurality. This is a deeply post-Newtonian move which accepts, and indeed cherishes, the fact that two or more objects can, often do, and in this case (the case of listening) must, occupy the

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same place at the same time without dominating or annihilating either object. In so accepting this kind of non-layering dimensional plurality, involved also is a deeply post-dialectic move. This is closer to a logic of techne, a ‘technology’ as Foucault would later name it, one that sidesteps the abyssal logics of a thesis/anti-thesis transcendence (quasi or otherwise), with its attending excluded middles, castrated Lacks, and overrated Phalluses.5 There is no sublation, no synthesis, no Telos, no ground or goal. At best, there is a kind of synaesthesic intensity, a tremble, one could say, that ‘tunes in’ to each other’s multidimensional, ever-spreading half-circles of curiosity, empathy, attraction, even fear without, in so doing, passing judgement. This is a kind of multi-tonal, multi-coloured, multi-sensory present tense in-difference to each other’s being here, now; a kind of suspended, groundless awareness, which, in being without ground enables an openness to the unexpected: a listening-tremble that takes note without knowing (the why). This non-verbal ‘gut-feeling’ embodied cognition enables, in its why-lessness, an oddly territorialised, shared present, a kind of transportable ‘safe-house’ erected at the very moment of suspended awareness. Differently stated, one could say that this form of listening offers, paradoxically, unconditional sanctuary, irrespective of motive, moral standing, commitment or drive. Kierkegaard names this unconditional paradoxical non-judgemental sanctuary: faith.6 Devoid of its religious trappings, we might better understand it as an ecology of accompanying, a kind of non-judgemental ‘being-with’: the unconditional heard-flowing-openness where the two rivers meet. I first saw Manhattan whilst speeding in a black two-seater sports car over an open four-lane super-highway in that part of the country where diamond shaped deer signs gently dot the landscape, forewarning, in muted colours of mustard and black, imminent death or destruction to one or more mobile parties should their paths cross. He was a beautiful beast, though the hapless rider he was dragging across the four lanes probably thought less of his beauty at that exact moment. With one foot slipped through the stirrup, the other flapping in the wind, it was a minor miracle that both horse and rider made it across without serious injury. So when a large hand-painted sign suddenly appeared at the side of the road boasting a daunting 15,000 hectares of unspoiled Crown land with undulating hills, forests, secret coves and natural fences over which one could sail at a trot, a canter or full throttle gallop; when splashed across that battered sign, the words ‘fantastic western trail-ride for all you weary travellers young and old – no experience necessary!’ came into focus, the tiny nerve endings at the base of my pineal gland did a little dance of recognition. The promise of Paradise beckoned to me across the asphalt spits like the proverbial Sirens’ songs to unblocked ears. I was a member of that tribe, so when the exit appeared, I took it. As it turns out, Paradise reveals itself in a variety of forms. A pock-marked, lazily winding, thin slice of a road eventually opened onto what could only be described as a kind of soup kitchen for homeless horses, twenty-six to be exact. Twenty-seven if one counted Manhattan who had sprung into view from a completely different entrance, sweaty and snorting, with a screaming, angry rider in tow. Mud splodges everywhere, rusted corrugated roofs atop MDF stables, all in varying states of disrepair. Spotted in the middle distance were a half-acre of paddocks, with barbed wire fencing replacing wooden railings that had been chewed into oblivion. A goat, several dogs, and a couple of cats were doing hospital rounds, making certain the few sentient beings still

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locked in their stalls due to illness or injury were now on their way to recovery. An Annie-get-your-gun lookalike, fashioned in checked shirt, tasselled deer jacket, rodeo chaps and filthy dirty boots, in one seamless movement marched over to Manhattan, grabbed the reins, told him in no uncertain terms ‘Quit it!’, helped the furious, humiliated, well-heeled young-ish woman off the saddle, and flatly announced: ‘Manhattan’s a dangerous horse – with those he don’t like’, narrowing her eyes beadily at the rider, who was in turn shouting lawsuits and closures. Without missing a beat, Doppelganger Annie looked directly at me and, just as matter-of-factly, demanded: ‘Do you like the look of this horse? I charge very reasonable stable rates and you can have him for the cost of his feed. Otherwise he will be carted off to a glue factory.’ The white of Manhattan’s rebellious eye against the black of his wild mane gave him a certain unstable look at the best of times. It was fair to say, though, that perhaps the urban punk-blonde hair framed against thick black-eyeliner lids and a leather-clad body gave off a similar impression. Certainly, at that very moment, we acknowledged a familiar something about each other – a hunger, an impatience, a flicker of fear, a raw compassion, a not fitting in, a flight from boredom – whatever it was (perhaps all these and more), it could safely be said that here emerged a tangle of unexpected gut recognition, a strangely satiating tremble, a glitching sting, as trembles of this nature so often do, right at the base of one’s throat and chest. An affirmation of sorts, a ‘yes-saying’ if ever there was one. Thus, albeit tentatively and completely by surprise, began our fifteen-year friendship.

holding counsel (the gift) The very kernel of a sentient encounter – this dimensionally plural, inhabited, here and now ‘yes-saying’ of attunement – surfs the flight-lines of proximity and distance without, in so surfing, bifurcating those trembled and entangled waves into classical tropes of dominance and submission (or, to attend to canonical divisions, intellect as rationality v nature as sense). This listening-encounter, whose philosophical grammar instead enables one to re-think thinking as a more practical-prosaic techne rather than an activity-game of two halves, invigorates everything it touches with both an indifference to the ‘out there’ whilst, instantaneously making room for it. This ‘making room’ simultaneously acknowledges an immediate and intimate sharing of space with and amongst those beings with whom the encounter will have drawn into its mix. A delicate, discursive bridge over which communication intensities are exchanged either on purpose or by accident or by some combination thereof, this ‘making room’ encounter forms a strangely durable environ of privacy, of community, of exclusion, of intimacy, of embodiment and exchange all in one go. A ‘connection’ able to invigorate without prying, able to acknowledge without judgement, able to call fellow travellers to its atmosphere without, in so calling, setting in motion any particular way forward or back. A dwelling or clearing, call it what one may, this multiple-singularity encounter enables a kind of ecology of space to take shape, to take speed, pace, step, stride, run; even take leap, often without moving an inch. In this way, the attuned beings of encounter can (and do) begin their thaw of identity politics; can and do begin to disrobe identity itself – sidestepping the proper-noun etiquette of universal, object-oriented concepts, in favour of more mellifluous, ephemeral, improper, fuzzy

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logic attractors: the subjunctive’s infinitely redrawn anti-infinitive ‘-be’, the gerund’s ergonomic nod to vitality and movement ‘-ing’, the adjective’s paradoxically fuzzy but pin-pointing ‘-ish’.7 In this context, a second technology of friendship can now be explored. Born of and by attunement, a kind of narrative, slice of life wellness shelter of sorts, a dwellinghouse spa without the black and white bureaucratic interferences of identity code enforcers, the story (one could say, ‘our story’) now emerges in its minor key.8 Making a nod towards Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s restaging of the grand narrative, one could say that the listening-encounter enables a loosely structured narrative to take place, a slice or minor form of a story, whose ‘telling’ captures the strange radical mattering of a not-quite-here, not-quite-not-here (but here and there, nevertheless) differently embodied viva voce. The ability to mould this strangely materialised multidimensional embodied-disembodied live voice, at once a ‘telling’ and a ‘calling’, whilst simultaneously being a ‘listening-encounter’, forms, in its telling, calling and listening an intensive fabric of a pluralised now, of a life, shared. This impersonal-personal sharing of life’s creative genealogy/ies, Walter Benjamin singles out as the dying art of story-making.9 This is an art that was and remains an underappreciated but critically important way to communicate (or perhaps just commune) with the out-there/in-there/out-side/in-side/no-side/otherwise-side, elsewhere ‘bridge’ in all its fuzziness and complexity, dizzying dimensionalities, fire, boredom and debris – and to do so without need for interpretation, metrics or explanation. Story-making as the triangulated ability to grasp the listening-encounter, to be grasped by it and to pass it on; story-making as an informal cartography of how one comes to know, invent or discover what one can be or become; story-making as the ecce homo of everyday life; story-making, as Benjamin would so prosaically observe, as an exquisite elixir to life itself.10 For a story might offer a moral, a good feeling, an unfettered placeholder for a daydream not yet dreamt; it might offer a way to forget the immediate or, quite the reverse, might allow one to plunge into the centre of it all, right into the centre of some miserable black-hole internal cry of despair. It might have a ‘good ending’ or no ending of which to speak. But whatever else this slice of connection, this so-called listening encounter might or might not offer, in order to hear it, a different ear would be required: one that is ‘itself’ a communal, heterogeneous, fractalised plurality; an ear whose very multiplicity involves, indeed requires, a relational logic of sense quite distinct from that born of zero-sum games. A kind of well-beingness adventure-ear, this listening-encounter, this mani-fold ear; one that can be named, as Jean-Luc Nancy so eloquently put it: ‘the event of being singular plural’.11 One finds that with the event of being singular plural, there is no totalising ‘whole’ per se. No need to divide the pie into fragments or fractions; no need to focus on receiver or sender. At best, it is a call for the ear(s) to be lent or bent or just ‘be’. For this kind of hearing has nothing to do with the need to exchange information and even less to do with a need for ‘action-point’ solutions, so often the love child of corporatemanaged grand narratives and cognitive behaviour therapy. Instead, this listening-calling-telling slice of life bridge-making ‘enables’: it enables a certain multiple-singularity of the ‘being-with now’ to take place and even take its rightful place; it enables the generating of shared counsel, with its purposeless generosity stoked by the immediacy of caring indifference. Holding counsel, in its turn, enables a certain mindfulness to

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emerge, one that sidesteps reason without being unreasonable, one that sidesteps logic without being illogical. One could say that this is nothing more nor less than gift-giving at its best: at its most quiet, most gentle level, a pleasure gift, a magic garden gift, a telling/sharing/hearing secret bridge-building gift that, at the very moment of ‘gifting’, at the very moment of ‘counsel’, enables one to ‘just be’ communally alone together. Foucault named this gifting of the communal alone together ‘just be’ (-ing) as an aspect of epimelia heatou, the shared technology of caring.12 Walter Benjamin simply called it: wisdom, the ability to weave counsel into the fabric of real life.13

adventure (sharing the secret) There are many ways to weave counsel into the fabric of life. Manhattan was particularly adept at it, indeed legendary, as I would come to learn, and not just through my own association with him, but by speaking with the Elders living on a nearby ‘First Nations Reserve’, the blandly inhumane appellation of forced relocation ‘homelands’ for Ojibwe, Cree and other indigenous peoples.14 For being the prankster that he was, Manhattan often figured out ways to leap over his waist-high stall in the dead of night and roam the landscape at will, looking for the infinite whatever, spurred on by varying degrees of curiosity and a stubborn itch to be free. This meant that our morning approaches to greet each other frequently took place in the fields and, just as regularly, would entail vain attempts on my part to catch him using a loose halter in one hand and the lure of a carrot or apple in the other. I came to learn that when Manhattan had managed to have one of those wild roam-the-countryside nights, he was particularly difficult to catch the next morning and no amount of running towards him, away from him or alongside with or without treats, would work. Until ready to be caught, this towards, away and alongside often became one of our more common rituals, a game, in and of itself. Trembles on his flanks, pricked forward ears, a shaking of the mane and snorting of the fresh hard early morning air as he bolted round the fields meant he was having a whale of a time at my expense, enjoying, to the max, his version of just horsing around. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that the nature of our beingwith-together always entailed some kind of ‘horseplay’ with no real agenda or goal to hand other than a loose agreement to explore the time-space continuum, searching for the whatever, wherever it would take us. Without putting too fine a point on it, then, a third technology of friendship can now be glimpsed: this is no less than the promise of play (whilst engaging in play); the promise of adventure, big or small, whilst journeying together with no necessary or exacting purpose in mind. Moreover, it could be said that these ‘whatever’ playtime-adventures as often as not served as grist for communal self-invention stories, a kind of joint mindless-mindfulness holding of counsel in a minor but collective key. A suspended need for possessive individualism, while enabling instead a loosely drawn ‘us’ to take place – and doing so without losing the sensual self in the process; without losing, that is to say, the laughter self, the smelly self, the out of breath self, the troubled self, the ‘I don’t give a damn’ self. All the selves flitting in and out of this ‘us’ playtime adventure, forming in its wake, a kind of sturdy intensity, a heterogeneous multidimensional intensity, one that enabled memories and/or inventions of selves to make room for more stories, deeper stories, ‘infinite whatever stories’, now folding in

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on themselves to create the baselines for this non-totalising ‘us’ of friendship. Playtime adventures often included daring the other to inhabit the (im)possible manners and intentions of a scout or explorer; to be or become the reckless renegade or poet or some combination thereof, and doing so whilst cantering amidst some unknown set of pines, or waterfalls or streams, uphill and down, in a single direction for hours at a go. On one occasion a silver-backed coyote steered our run through heather fields, making certain we did not go near her young; on another, a brown bear with a foul disposition and a putrid body odour of rotting meat to match ambled across our path, sparking fear and, as it would happen, the rather misguided decision by Manhattan and I to stop dead in our tracks, turn right around, and against all the advice books on the matter, flee. Every now and then we would take a few fine provisions of, say, honey, peanut butter, carrots, a skinful of water and a bottle of wine, and, after riding for a few hours, find a good spot to settle – whereupon Manhattan would drop down, fold himself onto his legs, and I would read aloud to the both of us, leaning my back against his flank and using the long grass as our communal lounge. Sometimes we would invite Decca the Doberman-Collie cross to join our escapades, though because of her unfortunate penchant for chasing porcupines (with the end result being a face full of quills), invitations to her were kept to a minimum. A relaxed energy flow of pleasure, a quiet joy of just ‘being-with’ together, attuned to an atmosphere thick with the sound buzz of unidentifiable insects or the throaty kee-eeeee-arr utterance from soaring red-hawk birds of prey, a soundscape often punctured with a padded crack by an unknown sentient being scrambling over fallen branches and moss-puckered decay; well, it was during one of those madly picturesque slice-of-time semi-silent communication adventures that our friendship was, quite unexpectedly, tested to its limit and, quite possibly, tested beyond that limit. I would like to say that it is this test that demarcates the fourth technology of friendship. It is the test called: trust. This is not just any old trust; this is not a trust born from mastery or authority or, dare it be said, formal education per se. It is a trust that can only emerge on the playing fields themselves – on the playing fields of a beingwith togetherness so described; of, that is to say, a two-way energy flow of attunement, adventure and the logics of sense. Although mid-November, when the temperatures in that part of the world often dipped far below zero, the day had started rather brisk but sunny and not overly cold, somewhere in the upper teens Celsius. But from the moment we found our clearing, from the moment we started to arrange ourselves in the usual way, it was apparent something was afoot. An odd, restless shudder ran down Manhattan’s spine as soon as I had dismounted; a hard, disturbed pawing on the ground with the right forward hoof; a refusal to relax. From first glance I could notice nothing else out of the ordinary; no bears, no coyotes, no nothing, not even the local illegal hunters with their potshot orange hats and beer belly stupidities. The weather was beginning to turn mean, so perhaps Manhattan was quite rightly expressing his doubts about the length of time we would have to relax. But then I spotted something in the middle distance, something I realised Manhattan had already known was there: a makeshift grave, fairly recently dug, with, as it would happen, a torn pair of briefs and shirt stuffed under a nearby bush. About six months previously, there had been a number of posters dotted along the perimeter of the wood concerning a missing young woman feared to have

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been abducted, probably sexually assaulted and, as nothing had come to light in the months that followed, feared to have been murdered. And here was a makeshift grave. And here were telltale signs of something quite seriously out of place. To make matters worse, I was not exactly certain where we were, having ridden, as per usual, for a few hours in some vague direction of the sun’s movements without taking any real note of the journey. And now this friendly sun had been replaced by chilling rain, and now this gentle clearing had been replaced with fears of gruesome tragedy, and now lightning bolts began shooting down from the heavens as though Thor himself took hold of our world and, taking great aim at any moving object in an open field, dared us to proceed. Remounting, my initial thought was to camouflage amongst the shrubs until the worst of the storm passed, but as we might be stuck for hours in ever worsening conditions, Manhattan’s irritable demeanour suggested a second option: outrun the lightning bolts and trust him to get us home. After all, I had witnessed his remarkable track record on motorways, with an equally remarkable sense of direction. Leaning low on his neck and holding fast to his wild mane, Manhattan and I took flight. ‘Get us home, my friend,’ I body-spoke to him. And that is precisely what he did, albeit not quite the ‘home’ I had in mind. For while we outraced the lightning with the agility of a springbok, we made it all the way to Curve Lake 35, the Ojibwe’s land reserve, fourteen kilometres north of where I thought we were meant to be. This is how I learned just how well-loved and legendary was my friend Manhattan. For no one was surprised to see him; no one was surprised to learn that he had led me to that grim burial plot and would in time lead the police back to it; no one was surprised that he would choose to save our lives against the brutal storm and would do so by outpacing the gods.

radical pitié (superpositional empathy) In 1755, Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously answered the question ‘what is the origin of inequality?’ with the acid retort: private property and people ignorant enough to believe in its civilising potential.15 He argued that this acceptance/belief was based on an even more simplistic view of ‘human nature’: the conflation of a now commonsense notion that self-preservation should be equated, ipso facto, with the ability (read: success) or lesser ability (read: failure) simply to acquire, and then consumptively to amass anything lying to hand or beyond. Starting with shelter and basic foodstuffs for oneself and/or one’s nearest and dearest, but quickly encompassing all that could be had via bartering, selling, inheritance, warfare, gambling, hoarding, outright thievery or a combination thereof, Rousseau argued that this form of self-preservation was only a thinly disguised nastiness of self-interested greed. As he put it, this nastiness was nothing less than a so-called new intelligence, a philosophy born via cold calculation and cunning reason, which in the name of civilisation, snuffed out the breath of life itself; snuffed out, that is to say, non-judgemental compassionate empathy, or, in a word, pitié. Were it even true that pitié is no more than a feeling, which puts us in the place of the sufferer . . . this truth would have no other consequence than to confirm my argument. Compassion must, in fact, be the stronger, the more the animal beholding any kind of distress identifies himself with the animal that suffers. Now, it is

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plain that such identification must have been much more perfect in a state of nature than it is in a state of reason. . . . It is reason which turns man’s mind back upon itself, and divides him from everything that could disturb or afflict him. It is philosophy that isolates him, and bids him say, at sight of the misfortunes of others: ‘Perish if you will, I am secure.’ . . . A murder may with impunity be committed under his window; he has only to put his hands to his ears and argue a little with himself, to prevent nature, which is shocked within him, from identifying itself with the unfortunate sufferer.16 Book II of the Discourses on Inequality subsequently develops the argument, indeed plea, to reconnect with this non-judgemental pitié, which he further develops beyond the complex ability to see, hear, voice, feel, witness the suffering of others. Distinct from its English counterpart ‘pity’, with its Dickensian undertones of a ‘this-couldnot-happen-to-me’ superiority and a rush to infantilise the sufferer, Rousseau’s pitié requires a return to frontline compassion. This is a particular form of truth-telling, a particular form of witnessing, that requires in this return, a different self, a sensuous self; a self quite aware of pain and distress; a self quite aware of the cruelty of the wound, any wound. This is a self, argues Rousseau, quite divorced from the logics of privitisation, accumulation, captains of industry, and war. Not quite the resurrection of a ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, this is a form of self-love (amour propre) forged out of one’s gut decision not to turn away, precisely because one knows, viscerally, what the other is going through and, in that knowing, that embodied/bodily knowing, refusing to forget. To say this slightly differently, pitié – the ‘putting oneself in the sufferer’s shoes’ – is not only a non-judgemental act of empathy and compassion; it is the refuelling, the re-remembering of one’s own self-respect, one’s own self-esteem. This double-bind, reflexive move holds out the promise to create and maintain a community rooted in a certain type of kindness and generosity of spirit, one which has been for far too long, antagonistically, indeed, brutally undervalued and repressed via various property-accumulation/self-preservation ‘civilising’ techniques, as remarked above.17 In Rousseau’s conceptual treasure chest, this move was, of course, premised on classical liberalism, which, albeit foregrounding crucial principles such as the separation of Church and State or the importance of change as the basis of society, did so by also accepting the anthropocentric conclusion that society was itself comprised of a collection of autonomous individuals who had mythically come together whilst in that nascent state (of nature). In so coming together, an agreement to leave the state of nature via the (equally mythical) social covenant was now somehow raised and secured in the name of a new social contract. This contract, which promised so much and delivered so little, established instead the kind of deeply uncivilised civil society that we have to this day. ‘Man is born free,’ Rousseau famously lamented, ‘and everywhere he is in chains.’18 Given this unrelenting state of affairs, a collective form of pitié could only arise given the rather unlikely probability that each individual might somehow throw off their chains, engage this double-binding embodied knowledge of amour propre and do so en masse. A probability so low that perhaps this is why many before Rousseau, and so many more since, have voiced that erstwhile cry, ‘O my Friends, there are no friends.’

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But what if it could be otherwise; what if, without having to invoke a homogeneous and rather starry-eyed version of a state of nature, we could approach this by resituating the very notion of pitié without its attendant (mythical) reverse moves to an elsewhere over-the-rainbow dwelling ‘outside’ the social? What if we could enable a kind of amour propre emerging from some ‘where’ or some ‘thing’ quite different than a personal 1–2–1 sighting of the sufferer within a proscribed boundary, be it natural, outside the social or in our dreams? Here one must take pause to reconsider, particularly in light of the four technologies of friendship thus far developed. For if one releases from their conceptual and practical arsenal the anthropocentric notion of the ‘individual’ per se and the zero-sum property game to which that individual has for so long been consigned; if one begins to weave together the approaches to being (as sentient or otherwise) a ‘becoming-with’ process in a so-called ‘minor key’, forged at/in/through the moment of listening-hearing-telling adventure-encounters; if, that is to say, the very ‘ground’ on which social agency is made manifest, is no longer – if ever it was – reduced to the infamous ‘State of Nature vs. Civil Society’ linear time-space positionalities; if the very meaning of life itself is closer to a ‘becoming-x’ forged on de-terroritorialised playing fields of attuned encounters, then, apart from many other consequences, be they practical, political, mathematical, economic, aesthetic or theoretical, a very different notion of social agency and, alongside it, a rather different form of empathy, compassion, indeed ‘self-love’ emerges. This is one born out of a nomadic, de-territorialised event – an event that is ‘itself’ a ‘multiple singularity’ emerging from and reconstituted over and again by the pluralised intra-action of entangled encounter. This being-with encounter, this multiple-singularity intensity, able to be reconfigured in the ‘here and now’ irrespective of proximity or distance, irrespective, that is to say, of a common, territorialised location, is both enabling and at the same time, an ethical proposition. To use Karen Barad’s phrasing, it generates a ‘response-ability’, the ability to respond, to be accountable; it enables the ethical to take shape, to take place, to make the leap.19 Naming this ethical agency ‘agential realism’, Barad puts it thus: With each intra-action, the manifold of entangled relations is reconfigured. And so consequentiality, responsibility, and accountability take on entirely new valences. There are no singular causes. And there are no individual agents of change. Responsibility is not ours alone. And yet our responsibility is greater than it would be if it were ours alone. Responsibility entails an ongoing responsiveness to the entanglements of self and other, here and there, now and then.20 I want to call this being-with encounter and the ethical response-abilities it enables a ‘radical matter’: a radical matter imbued with the logics of sense, no longer paralleling the propositions and deductions of a Newtonian physics; no longer repeating ad nauseum the conceptual/political inadequacies of bounded-terriorialised bodies or states; no longer demarcating the human being from any other being, sentient or otherwise. Perhaps one could push the logic even further and say that radical matter bears a family resemblance, as it were, to Roger Penrose’s reconsideration of Niels Bohr’s ‘spooky action at a distance’, the throwaway remark by Albert Einstein in 1927 dismissing what until then was unproven: that entanglement can and does occur faster than the speed of light, irrespective of its ‘where’.21 This far-reaching

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simultaneous positionality is ‘superpositionality’, writ both tiny-tiny and grandiose in an instant. Perhaps one could make the leap, then, that radical matter is no more (nor less) than a super-positional event, the instantaneous entanglement exchange of information faster than the speed of light, where proximity and distance no longer impede the enactment of entangled response-ability. A quantum encounter of the wild science kind, if ever there was one. With this shift to a radical mattering, let us return to the possibility of pitié, now eased away from the individuated ‘natural’ agency to which Rousseau had given it, and resituated instead via the nomadic ‘groundless grounds’ of a superpositional encounter/event. At the very least, one could say that its ‘double-bind’ amour propre re-emerges as non-individuated, non-localised response-ability. One could say, further, that this is a heterogeneic, fractalised response-ability, a simultaneously ruptured/ entangled non-localised emergence of the ‘whatever-x’. One could say even further that this ‘whatever-x’ folds back on itself (on its multiple ‘itself’) to create in that (mani-) fold moment, reiterative de-territorialised intensities, paradoxical instantaneous, surface intensities, which, in their superpositional entanglement ‘enable’. Of the many things enabled is the event of sensuous amour propre, a moment of self-toself generosity, a renewed sense of being, a mark of respect. It is a collaborative, multidimensional empathy neither ‘given’ nor ‘received’ by individual beings per se, but productive and enabling nevertheless; an epemelia heatou, whose exchange/circulation economy produces the generosity of respect, not only without losing the love of self in the process, but by strengthening it. I want to call this: radical pitié, the fifth technology of friendship. Now picture a moonless winter evening, where the provenance of light emanates more from the deep-snow-encrusted ground rather than the sky itself. Now picture the bewitching hour of midnight, strewn with twenty-seven horses, some with and some without riders, their breaths white cold against the frozen air. Here we were, a somewhat motley crew of sentient beings, whose friendships had long ago crossed the blood-brain barrier. Midnight snow runs were of course the most thrilling, moonless ones; all the more so, perhaps, because they were the most dangerous. We would assemble at the farthest northern trail, torches strapped to helmets for those wearing one. Everywhere the crunch-squelch rhythm of hooves slicing the thick atmosphere of a profoundly invigorating silence, with undulating lanterns blinking as walking geared up to the trot, then a quick shift into canter and then, in a fit of moonless madness, to high-voltage galloping. Those without riders would sometimes lead the way. And this is precisely how we came upon a gelding lying in the middle of a field, who, judging by the no longer free-flowing blood which at some point had shot out from an horrifically torn leg, meant that he must have lain there dying and then dead for at least a few hours or more. And then the extraordinary happened. As the riders silently moved away, the riderless horses remained. Out of the blackened horizon from points unknown, a few other mustangs joined the group, now numbering around twenty. In what seemed to go on for quite some time, they kept encircling their fallen comrade, and once forming that circle, stood stock still. Paying their respects to him and each other, it was then all over, dispersing as silently as they had come. ‘Friendship as a way of life’, Foucault would say.22 But perhaps it is more accurate to say: Friendship as life.

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Notes 1. Walt Whitman, ‘Book IX: Song of the Answerer’, in his Leaves of Grass, ed. Jim Manis, Electronic Classic Series (Hazelton: Pennsylvania State University, 2007–13 [1855, 1856, 1881]), p. 200. 2. This is a well-known lament, attributed by Montaigne (1588) to Aristotle (though the phrase has never been found in Aristotle’s work). See Michel de Montaigne, Of Friendship (1588), John Florio, trans. (1603) (Monadnock Valley Press, 2017). Available at (accessed 28 August 2017). Of course, for Montaigne, this was more a comment used to underscore how a friend could turn as easily as not into a bitter enemy. As is well known, Derrida re-launches the phrase over the course of his book Politics of Friendship, in part to develop via constellation/configuration the paradoxical nature of apostrophe (and its reverse catastrophe, as in ‘Enemies, there are no enemies’) as foundational to the very notion of the political. See in particular Jacques Derrida, ‘Loving in Friendship: Perhaps – the Noun and the Adverb’, in Politics of Friendship, trans. George Collins (London: Verso Press, 2005), pp. 26–48. My development of friendship will take it in a somewhat different direction than the one(s) explored by Derrida. 3. This will be developed further, but clear influences include Karen Barad’s diffractive/agential realism in her Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and The Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2007); Donna Haraway’s explosive tentacular thinking in Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2016); and Isabelle Stengers’s sensuous attunement to Gaia in ‘Gaia, the Urgency to Think (and Feel)’, given at Os Mil Nomes de Gaia, do Antropoceno à Idade da Terra, Colóquio Internacional, Departamento do Filosofia PUC-Rio and PPGAS do Museu Nacional – UFRJ, 15–19 September 2014, Rio de Janeiro, (accessed 28 August 2017). Important also but developed later in the chapter, Jean-Luc Nancy’s ‘being-with’ in his Being Singular Plural, trans. Robert D. Richardson and Anne E. O’Byrne (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000); Gilles Deleuze’s re-workings of athleticism, encounter and the logics of sense in his The Logic of Sense, ed. Constantin V. Boundas, trans. Charles Stivale (London: The Athlone Press, 1999 [1969]); and, with Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. and foreword by Brian Massumi (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2005 [1980]). See also: Heidegger’s Eregenis (event – of belonging together/apart) in The Event, trans. Richard Rojcewicz (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press [1940–41]) and his Identity and Difference, trans. Joan Stambaugh (New York and London: Harper & Row, 1969 [1957]). Important also to the larger arguments around social agency but not developed here: Jean-Francois Lyotard’s erotically charged pagan theatrics, in his Libidinal Economy, trans. Iain Hamilton Grant (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993 [1974]) alongside Kurt Gödel’s work on incompleteness/undecidability in his On Formally Undecidable Propositions in ‘Principia Mathematica’ and Related Systems (New York: Dover Press, 1962 [1931]). 4. For the development of parrhēsia via the Socratic move, see Michel Foucault, The Courage of Truth (The Government of Self and Others, II), Lectures at the Collège De France 1983–84), ed. Frédéric Gros, trans. Graham Burchell (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008/2011), Lectures 1–3, pp. 1–56. Although no recorded writing by Socrates on parrhēsia is known, initial discussions regarding parrhēsia as part of the Socratic development of courage can be found in Plato, Laches [380 bce], trans. Benjamin Jowett (The Project Gutenburg EBook, 2013 [1892]). With respect to Rousseau’s pitié, a more detailed exploration of will be developed further in the chapter relying in the main on Jean-Jacques

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johnny golding Rousseau, On the Origin of Inequality, trans. G. D. H. Cole (London: J. M. Dent and Sons, Everyman Library, 2010 (1923) [1755]). Rousseau’s development of pitié can also be found in his Essai sur l’origine des langues (Paris: Gallimard, Folio, 1990). ‘Technology’ is used here to denote the logic of techne, a discursive logic of making, grasping, inventing that requires in that making, a self-to-self ‘plural’ relation. Cf. Michel Foucault, Technologies of the Self: Lectures at Vermont University, 1982, ed. Luther H. Martin, Huck Utman and Patrick H. Hutton (Cambridge, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988 [1982]). ‘Modern philosophy’, writes Kierkegaard, ‘has permitted itself without further ado to substitute in place of ‘faith’ the immediate. . . . In that way faith comes into rather simple company along with feeling, mood, idiosyncrasy, vapors, etc. . . . [On the contrary] Before faith there goes a movement of infinity, and only then, necopinate, by virtue of the absurd, faith enters the scene . . . but only after it is done, only when the individual has evacuated himself [sic] in the infinite, only then is the point attained where faith can break forth.’ Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, trans. Walter Lowrie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941 [1843]), p. 50. Here one walks carefully with and amongst the thinking ‘otherwise’ of concept via entangled encounters of ‘iterability’ and ‘event’ as developed, albeit differently, in the seminal works of Deleuze, Deleuze and Guattari, and Derrida. For the development of concept away from its traditional forms, see in particular the ‘becoming-animal’ as developed in Deleuze and Guattari’s Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature, trans. Dana Polan, Theory and History of Literature, vol. 30 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986 [1975]) and their A Thousand Plateaus. See also Deleuze’s Logic of Sense and his Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (New York: Columbia University Press 1994) and his What is Philosophy?, trans. Graham Burchell and Hugh Tomlinson (London: Verso, 1994); alongside Jacques Derrida’s ‘Différance’, in Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (London/Chicago: Harvester Press, 1982 [1972]), pp. 1–28; Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1997 [1967]), pp. 74–94; and Derrida’s ‘Signature, Event, Context’, in Limited, Inc., trans. Samuel Weber and Jeffrey Mehlman (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988 [1972]), pp. 1–24. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, trans. Dana Polan, foreword by Réda Bensmaï (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986 [1975]), pp. 16–27. Walter Benjamin, ‘The Story Teller: Reflections on the Work of Nicolai Leskov’, in Hannah Arendt (ed.), Illuminations: Essays and Reflections, trans. Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken Books, 2007 [1955]), pp. 83–110. Benjamin, ‘The Story Teller’, p. 86. See also Friedrich Nietzsche’s remarkable ‘Why I Am So Wise’ and ‘Why I Write Such Good Books’, in his iconic Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is, trans. R. J. Hollingdale (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979 [1888]), pp. 8–20 and 39–47. Jean-Luc Nancy, Being Singular Plural, trans. Robert E. Richardson and Anne E. O’Bryne (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000 [1996]), especially pp. 26ff. See also Jean-Luc Nancy, Listening, trans. Charlotte Mann (New York: Fordham University Press, 2007 [2002]), especially ‘How Music Listens to Itself’, pp. 63–8. The wider implications of Foucault’s epimelia heateou will be developed in the final section of this chapter. But see Michel Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject: Lectures of the Collège de France, ed. Frédéric Gros, trans. Graham Burchell (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005 [2001; 1981–2]), especially the first Lecture, ‘6 January 1982: The First Hour’, pp. 1–19. ‘All this points to the nature of every real story,’ Benjamin observes. ‘It contains openly or covertly something useful. The usefulness may, in one case, consist in a moral; in another,

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in some practical advice; in a third, in a proverb or maxim. In every case the storyteller is a man [sic] who has counsel for his [sic] readers. But if today “having counsel” is beginning to have an old-fashioned ring, this is because the communicability of experience is decreasing. Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom. The value of information does not survive the moment in which it is new. It lives only at that moment; it has to surrender to it completely and explain itself to it without losing any time. A story is different.’ Benjamin, ‘The Story Teller’, pp. 86–7. 14. In 1876, under what would become known as The Indian Act: An Act Respecting Indians, Canada’s 614 First Nations bands were forced onto specific demarcated ‘homelands’ or ‘reserves’ in what today has come to be known as ‘First Nation Reserves’. This brutal, racially motivated, legally sanctioned cultural/economic apartheid was subsequently brought into South African State law in the early twentieth century, eventually by the 1960s evolving into ‘homelands’ of racial segregation. With the armed insurrection and subsequent overthrowing of apartheid in the mid-1990s in South Africa, the homelands policies were denounced and dismantled. This has not been the case in North America, where to this day ‘reservations’ remain as (often) brutally enforced secured perimeters, with excessive infant mortality rates, serious sexual assaults and the usual statistics found in damningly preventable poverty-stricken environments. For an excellent summary see Mark Aquash, First Nations in Canada: Decolonization and Self-Determination, University of British Columbia 19:3, pp. 1–16. Available at (accessed 28 August 2016). 15. Rousseau writes: ‘The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”’ Rousseau, On the Origin of Inequality, p. 183. 16. Rousseau, ‘Book II’, On the Origin of Inequality, p. 184. But see also Rousseau’s general remarks on pitié in his Essai sur l’origine des langues, where he writes: La pitié bien que naturelle au cœur de l’homme resterait éternellement inactive sans l’imagination qui la met en jeu. . . . Comment imaginerai-je des maux dont je n’ai nulle idée ? Comment souffrirai-je en voyant souffrir un autre si je ne sais même pas qu’il souffre, si j’ignore ce qu’il y a de commun entre lui et moi ? Celui qui n’a jamais réfléchi ne peut être ni clément ni juste ni pitoyable; il ne peut pas non plus être méchant et vindicatif. Celui qui n’imagine rien ne sent que lui- même; il est seul au milieu du genre humain. (Pitié, although natural in the heart of man, would remain eternally inactive without the imagination that puts it into play. How can I imagine evils of which I have no idea? How will I suffer if I see another suffer if I do not even know that he is suffering, if I do not know what is in common between him and me? He who has never reflected cannot be merciful, neither righteous nor pitiable; Nor can he be wicked and vindictive. He who imagines nothing feels only himself; He is alone in the midst of the human race.)’ (p. 92) 17. Rousseau, ‘Book II’, On the Origin of Inequality, pp. 180–1. 18. Rousseau, ‘Book I’, The Social Contract or Principles of Political Right, p. 35. 19. For the development of ‘deterritorialised nomadism’ see Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen Lane (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000 [1972], and in particular its preface by Michel Foucault, ‘Preface: Towards a Non-Fascist Life’, pp. xi–xiv. For the

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development of agential realism, response-ability/responsibility and ethics, see in particular Karen Barad, ‘Entangled Beginnings: The Science and Ethics of Mattering’, in her Meeting the Universe Halfway, pp. 26–38. 20. Barad, ‘Ontology, Intra-activity, Ethics’, in Meeting the Universe Halfway, pp. 394–5. 21. See Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, ‘Can Quantum Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?’ Physical Review 47 (1935), pp. 777–80, where ‘spooky at a distance’ is first discussed. For more recent debates where ‘spooky at a distance’ is reworked as ‘quantum information’ with the further hypothesis that information travels both forward and backward in time, see Roger Penrose, The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe (New York: Vintage Press, 2016); Huw Price and Richard Corry, Causation, Physics and the Constitution of Reality: Russell’s Republic Revisited (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); and George Musser, Spooky Action at a Distance: The Phenomenon That Reimagines Space and Time – and What it Means for Black Holes, the Big Band and Theories of Everything (New York: Scientific American/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015). 22. The phrase is usually attributed to the interview given by Michel Foucault, and entitled ‘Friendship as a Way of Life’, in Gai Pied, interview by R. de Ceccaty, J. Danet and J. Le Bitoux, trans. John Johnston, April 1981. More of a declaration in this interview, Foucault’s Courage of Truth and Care of the Self provide a much stronger discussion.

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18 Genealogies Matthew Calarco

Introduction: On the Present Situation Concerning Animals

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he aim of this chapter is to explore leading trends in animal studies and animal activism from a genealogical perspective. I argue, in what follows, that the ultimate stakes of this approach are to be found in developing both more effective histories of, and modes of resistance to, the present. Before undertaking this analysis, however, it is first necessary to provide a forthright accounting of some rather dispiriting realities about the status of animals within the current established order. Indeed, for those of us who are working in the fields of animal studies and animal activism, surveying the present state of animal welfare is a rather grim affair. Beyond the daily news of atrocities in slaughterhouses, research labs, forests and oceans across the globe, we know that violence against animals has been rapidly increasing across several registers and domains for the past several decades. During just my lifetime (I was born in 1972), the number of land animals slaughtered for human consumption in the United States has increased from three billion to more than nine billion,1 while the annual global production of meat has more than tripled, from 100 million tons to over 300 tons.2 At present, the global number of animals hunted and subjected to violent experimentation runs into the hundreds of millions on an annual basis,3 while the number of animals killed by automobiles on roads and highways in the United States alone has been estimated at some million animals per day.4 Animals are also suffering in ever increasing numbers from severe breakdown in the biophysical systems and habitats on which they rely. While climate change is already causing substantial deaths among certain animal species, increasing habitat fragmentation, soil degradation, freshwater scarcity and other forms of ecological collapse are poised to accelerate these threats. A recent report notes that since 1970 there has been a greater than fifty per cent decline in vertebrate species populations due to these and similar causes.5 While environmental scientists research the breaching of various ‘planetary boundaries’ that threaten to undercut a ‘safe operating space for humanity’, these same processes of degradation have already led to the deaths of countless individual animals and the extinction of numerous animal and plant species.6 As proanimal activists and theorists, we are now facing serious questions about what animal liberation might mean when animals would be liberated into a world and a future in which the ecological infrastructure on which they depend is no longer functioning sustainably.

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Just this small sampling of the stark realities concerning the current situation of animals provides ample temptation to believe that resistance to the present is essentially hopeless. Alongside these difficult realities, however, we must note that there have been important political successes concerning, and improvements in, the lives of animals. Just as we hear daily of atrocities, we also hear daily of animals resisting their subjection; of direct action liberations of caged animals; of animals being removed from labs and given new lives in sanctuaries; of friends, family and students becoming involved in pro-animal politics; and of serious policy discussions concerning environmental sustainability and animal rights and welfare. In brief, although our present is heavily tilted in the direction of increasing violence towards animals, a growing number of individuals are becoming passionately involved in trying to contest the established order. It would not be inaccurate, then, to say that we are in the midst of what Jacques Derrida calls a ‘war . . . over the matter of pity’, a struggle between those who violate animal life and disavow responsibility towards animals and those who insist on compassion for animals and protest the present situation.7 Derrida notes that this war is unevenly divided at present in terms of the number and force of those who support either side. In relation to the hegemonic anthropocentric order, he characterises those who defend compassion for animals as having only ‘minority, weak, marginal voices’.8 Yet he is confident that, despite this current inequality in powers, the war over pity for animals is going through a critical phase of transition that will lead to fundamental changes in how we live. In line with the concerns raised at the beginning of this chapter, Derrida’s analysis of the critical phase of this war emphasises the radical intensification of violence towards animals that we have seen in the modern industrial and contemporary technological eras. But even as this violence is amplified, he emphasises that there is a countermovement of animal compassion that has grown in intensity and numbers over this same period. Derrida believes this movement is gaining force and that the trend of intensified animal violence will become less and less tolerable and defensible.9 Whether such shifts towards increased compassion will in fact continue is something I will not speculate on here. What I do wish to underscore, however, is that struggles for animal justice are indeed passing through a critical phase, although I would characterise this phase in slightly different terms from those that Derrida uses. The important point for us, today, is to understand that even as pro-animal resistance increases,10 the advances that are made in struggles for animal justice are being swamped by the rapid expansion of animal violence due to anthropocentric-economic globalisation and ecological breakdown. As such, the nature of the war over compassion and justice for animals is shifting underneath our feet. Now, more than ever, we need to take stock of our present situation, understand how we have arrived at this point, and begin to construct alternative lines and forms of resistance to the established order. In other words, we need a genealogy of the present. The concept of genealogy as I use it here is, of course, heavily indebted both to Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucault. Although genealogies serve multiple and varied functions in Nietzsche’s and Foucault’s respective writings, my aim here is to tease out merely a few of the key themes of their analyses that I believe will be useful in helping us to gain a critical handle on the present situation concerning struggles

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over animal justice. In particular, I want to focus on the way in which genealogical analysis provides us with: a unique understanding of the histories that constitute the established order; a useful perspective on the possibilities for resistance; and a keen awareness of the dangers of reinstating violent power relations where we might least expect them. Allow me to say a brief word about each of these functions before turning to the fuller analysis. The first aspect of a genealogical approach that will be helpful for us concerns the effort to interpret history from the perspective of the interaction of forces and relations of power. Here, the history that leads to our present circumstances is not seen as teleological, fixed or necessary but as the result of interactions, events and relations that are largely contingent. Inasmuch as the history of the present is the result of contingent events, this implies that the present might have been different and that the future also has no fully determined character. The stress on contingency and force relations should not be taken to imply that there are no discernible patterns or structures that pervade historical ages; rather, the idea is that such patterns are only capable of capturing certain portions of history and do not uncover some ultimate, deep structure. There are no ultimate origin stories from this perspective, only, as Foucault notes, accounts of ‘the singularity of events outside of any monotonous finality.’11 In the context of our analysis, we will want to attend to the various ways in which relations between human beings and animals have come to take the form they have today and how they might be reshaped in the future. The second aspect of a genealogical approach that will be of use to us here concerns potentiality and resistance. The point of tracing the complex origins and contingent unfolding of a given set of power relations is ultimately to discern cracks, openings and fault lines in those relations such that alternative forms of life and subjectivities become possible. Where are the vulnerabilities in a given set of power relations that might render them susceptible to displacements or even radical shifts? The accounts of power relations and forces that we find in both Nietzsche and Foucault rule out the idea that a given power structure could ever be totalising. Resistance is ontologically primary, and the history of power relations is the history of various modes of the partial and always incomplete capture and domestication of resistance. In Foucault’s words, a genealogical approach provides a ‘new economy’ of power relations and takes ‘the forms of resistance against different forms of power as a starting point’.12 As such, any and all power relations are vulnerable to being undermined in various ways – their continued existence is never guaranteed. The inevitable fault lines, vulnerabilities and potentialities in the established order should not be taken, however, as the source of naïve hope or radical optimism about ultimately establishing justice. Just as a genealogical approach rules out a teleological ordering of past events, so too does it call into question the presumption that the future will be guided by a necessary march towards liberation. The aim of a genealogical approach is not to uncover some ultimate arc of history; the goal is much more modest. The aim is instead to uncover overlooked potentials for revolt, hidden lines of flight, and places where connections among various struggles that have hitherto been missed might come to light. For our purposes, then, we will want to discern how power relations between human beings and animals might be destabilised, interrupted and sent along different paths.

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The third feature of a genealogical approach that will guide our analysis concerns the idea that shifts in relations which move us in the direction of a more just, less hierarchical and less violent way of life are not necessarily themselves free of power and lingering forms of violence. Foucault’s famous statement that ‘everything is dangerous’13 should be read in this light. Changes in the social order that we take to be unambiguously liberatory often contain hidden seeds of violence, repression and hierarchy. This does not entail that we are prohibited from saying a given order is in some way ethically or politically preferable to another; instead, a properly critical and genealogical perspective reminds us that there is no resting point in struggles for justice, no point where dogmas and inequalities are finally transcended. As Foucault notes, this kind of critical and suspicious attitude does not entail ‘apathy’ (as some of his less charitable readers have suggested) but instead leads to a ‘hyper- and pessimistic-activism’ inasmuch as ‘we always have something to do’, some problematic form of power with which to engage.14 In view of human-animal relations, this aspect will be especially important to bear in mind when considering competing ethical and political visions that circulate among proanimal activists and theorists. In what ways do the ideals that we defend harbour lingering dogmas and create other forms of violence? Do they create new zones of sacrifice, new classes of entities that can be killed with impunity? Such questions do not seek to undermine pro-animal activism and intellectual work but instead aim to radicalise these movements from within. With these basic aspects of the genealogical perspective in mind, I now turn to an analysis of three distinct strands of inquiry that have come to play a prominent role in animal philosophy and animal studies. I have described these approaches elsewhere under the rubrics of identity, difference and indistinction.15 My aim here is to present each of these frameworks as offering a specific genealogical perspective on the animal question. Thus, I will examine each framework in view of: what kind of narrative it offers about the present situation concerning animals; what modes of resistance are perceived to be most promising; and possible dogmas and problematic forms of power that might persist. Although the theorists and activists who subscribe to these specific frameworks do not always understand them to be genealogical in nature, I will suggest that reading them as genealogies will help to shed light on their respective positive potentials and critical limitations.

Identity, or How (Not) to ‘Overcome the Rulers through Their Own Rules’ The identity approach to animal issues is one that dominates in analytic animal ethics and in animal law. The primary aim of this approach is to argue for continuity among human beings and animals at certain ethically and legally relevant levels, and then use arguments from analogy and principles of consistent reasoning to extend basic protections usually reserved for humans to animals based on those shared similarities. This strategy is constructed in view of contesting what identity theorists see as an unjust ‘speciesism’ – usually defined as an ‘irrational’ prejudice on behalf of the human species and against non-human animals – that pervades the current social

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order. Given its roots in philosophical circles, the historical narrative that is offered to explain our present circumstances tends to be conceptual and intellectual in nature. Speciesism is often traced back to origins in ancient Greek thought and early Christian tradition, both of which emphasise human exceptionalism and human rank over animals in the Great Chain of Being. It is also usually emphasised in these narratives that several canonical philosophical figures (Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant and so on) have actually played essential roles in elaborating and defending the dogmas of speciesism.16 Although there have been occasional pro-animal philosophers and other figures in this intellectual history, identity thinkers often locate the chief challenge to speciesism in the modern Darwinian challenge to human exceptionalism. In establishing fundamental continuity among human and animal life in the broader unfolding of evolutionary history, Darwin removes a key ideological support for speciesism. Claims about unique, species-wide human characteristics along with insuperable abysses between human beings and animals are replaced by a biological framework with more complex evolutionary stories that highlight shared anatomy, physiology and cognition, and that admit differences between human beings only in terms of degree. Once this basic human-animal continuity is established, then simple application of equal consideration for like beings requires that human beings and animals should receive similar ethical and legal standing in those cases where they are relevantly similar. Identity theorists thus see our current established order as deeply irrational, inasmuch as it relies on outmoded human-animal ontologies that posit sharp breaks at cognitive and behavioural levels and unjust conceptions of ethical consideration. In contemporary society, animals are routinely placed outside the ethical and legal community and subject to being killed with impunity in a wide variety of contexts, from factory farming to medical experimentation to hunting. Identity theorists argue that once we begin to see the utterly arbitrary, contingent and outmoded nature of dominant attitudes and practices regarding animals, we might – indeed, ought to – begin to think about how best to contest them. Although the identity framework is sometimes characterised by critics as being extreme or radical, it is actually rather conservative in terms of its attitudes towards the general ethical and legal principles and rules of the dominant social order. Identity theorists do not usually mount any sort of broad challenge to common-sense norms, but instead seek to show that the norms to which most people are already committed imply – given what we now know about evolution and the cognitive and emotional lives of animals – the need to extend full consideration to animals.17 In making use of this strategy, identity theorists are actually exposing the contingent nature of dominant norms and rules, showing how a given order can be reversed and even turned against itself. This kind of reversal of the ruling order is a quintessential gesture of genealogical analysis. As Foucault notes, ‘rules are empty in themselves, violent and unfinalized’, and as such are always subject to being inverted, reversed and turned back against the order from which they derived.18 Such inversions and reversals testify to the fact that an uneven set of power relations is never entirely fixed in place, and that it is sometimes possible to ‘overcome the ruler through their own rules’.19 One particularly interesting example of this kind of strategy among identity theorists can be found in the writings of Paola Cavalieri, who argues that human rights

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cannot be restricted to human beings alone.20 For Cavalieri, human rights – while obviously constructed with human beings in mind – can be shown logically to imply rights for many animals. She arrives at this conclusion by teasing out the central normative premise underlying human rights doctrine, namely, that human beings are deserving of rights because they have intentionality. Intentionality here is understood as a characteristic that belongs to a subject or agent who has goals or interests of some sort and desires to achieve them; as such, intentional agents have a stake in how they are treated and ought not be reduced to the status of instruments, commodities and so on. But, as Cavalieri demonstrates, many animals fulfil this basic criterion of being an intentional agent, a being with aims and desires to fulfil those aims. Therefore, human rights doctrine logically implies rights for animals who are intentional agents, and animal rights activists can employ that framework to fight for the extension of the basic protections that human rights afford human beings to many animals. In view of such a strategy, it might be suggested that both Foucault and Nietzsche have taught us to be deeply wary of the sort of humanism, liberalism and moralism at work in this kind of discourse. So, does this kind of identity approach constitute a genuine instance of a critical, genealogical reversal? Much depends here on what kind of commitments one holds in regard to the rules and principles that are used to invert and reverse the system. In the case of pro-animal utilitarian theorists like Peter Singer or rights-based theorists like Tom Regan, their arguments are built on quasidemonstrative arguments for their respective moral frameworks. They insist that their frameworks are the most rational ones to adopt and spend a great deal of time defending their normative premises against objections. In short, they clearly believe in and openly defend key normative components of the liberal and humanist status quo. Such an approach, it is clear, is far from the kind of genealogical perspective I have adopted here. In the case of Cavalieri, however, her argument proceeds dialectically, starting from what she takes to be the most widely shared normative doctrine – that is, human rights – and then showing how its own internal logic can be turned against its human exceptionalist tendencies. In other words, she takes dominant rules and principles and strategically inverts them. Cavalieri thus has no metaphysical commitments to human rights doctrine; rather, her project is grounded chiefly in strategic concerns and is oriented towards the potential pragmatic promise of extending a doctrine that already enjoys widespread support. Still, one could be sceptical about the value of this approach. Does it not lead to an emphasis on extending rights only to animals who show a great deal of cognitive similarity to human beings, such as great apes and cetaceans? And in so doing, does it not fundamentally maintain the same basic set of power relations and violent hierarchies that characterise our present situation and shift them to a slightly different register? This consequence might, in fact, be the case with identity theorists like Steven Wise who maintain that certain animals who exhibit ‘higher-order’ cognitive capacities are deserving of more consideration and standing than other animals.21 In Cavalieri’s case, though, no such perfectionist hierarchies are at play. In a recent essay, she explains that the strategy behind extending rights to great apes, cetaceans and other such species is ultimately aimed at finding fault lines in the current established order and exploiting them so that the further extension of those rights to other animals becomes more

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likely.22 Given the relative entrenchment and stability of institutional anthropocentrism in the current social order, such strategies cannot be faulted for being uncritical or overly simplistic. An identity-based approach like Cavalieri’s does, however, contain other dangers and critical limitations of which we should be cognizant. In particular, it fails to address adequately what we could call, following Foucault, the biopolitical nature of the present order. Human rights doctrines and politics have, in fact, been used to offer basic protections to human beings; but they have also been simultaneously used (and often by way of rhetorics of animality) to create caesuras internal to the human and to de- and sub-humanise large swathes of humanity.23 To find a place for animals within this social order might be a necessary strategy at certain points, but we should be wary of the implications of viewing human beings and animals within what Cary Wolfe calls this ‘biopolitical frame’.24 Moreover, the unacknowledged underside of this approach is that beings who cannot demonstrate robust intentionality by modern scientific standards are placed in a particularly precarious zone. Among such beings are many human beings, countless animals and nearly the entire natural and nonhuman world. Although Cavalieri and other identity theorists are keen to defend drawing strong lines of moral consideration around their given criteria of inclusion (whether it be intentionality, sentience or some other marker), such strategies are not just uncritically ethnocentric and provincial but also risk instituting deeply pernicious and violent exclusions. These dangers do not give us reason to abandon the identity approach entirely, but they do raise the necessity of developing critical supplements to this approach while simultaneously aiming to construct a generally less violent form of life.

Difference, or How (Not) to Challenge What Is Accepted as ‘Self-Evident’ The difference approach to animal issues has become prominent in animal studies and is associated primarily with the writings of Jacques Derrida. This framework seeks to construct a thought of animals in terms of radical alterity (which denotes the singularity of other animals and lack of full accessibility to their interiority) and multiplicity (which refers to the wide variety of animal species and the differences among animals themselves). As with identity theorists, difference theorists take strong issue with the current treatment of animals and seek to transform individual and social practices in a direction that is more just and respectful.25 The narrative that difference theorists offer concerning how we have arrived at our problematic present differs, though, to some extent from the identity-based approach. Rather than viewing violence towards animals in terms of an irrational speciesism, pro-animal thinkers of difference tend to view our present circumstances as a result of the long and complex unfolding of anthropocentrism. In Derrida’s analysis, anthropocentrism is an interlocking series of thoughts and practices that revolve around a sharp human/animal binary, a division that ultimately functions to reduce the multiplicity and radical alterity of animals to a single shared essence. Although Derrida acknowledges that the major figures in the history of philosophy have not caused anthropocentrism in any significant way, he

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tends to read their work as being reflective and symptomatic of dominant, hegemonic attitudes towards animals. As such, it is often in the works of major philosophers that we can locate particularly clear and informative versions of the most stubborn dogmas concerning animals. Yet if we read those texts against the grain, looking for ways in which philosophers encounter but foreclose other possible ways of thinking about other animals, we also gain a glimpse of lines of flight away from the hegemonic tradition of anthropocentrism. The difference approach takes a more complex and differentiated approach to understanding anthropocentrism and the human/animal binary than does the identity approach. Because their focus is on the historical articulation of ‘the human’ in relation to its various ‘others’, difference theorists are able to demonstrate that the human/animal binary does not track simply along species lines, with all human beings on one side and all animals on the other. Instead, anthropocentrism is shown to function in such a way as to constitute a world that revolves around ‘the human’, a subject position that is typically available only to a privileged subset of what we might think of as the biological species Homo sapiens. As a means of gaining critical intellectual insight into the power relations at play in anthropocentrism, Derrida has coined the term ‘carno-phallogocentrism’, a concept that refers to the ways in which being a meat-eating, virile, self-present, rational and speaking subject are all essential to being properly and fully human.26 Thus, very much in line with Foucault, Derrida sees human subjectivity and the human/animal distinction to be the result of a complex interplay of power relations and forces of subjectification. From this perspective, if our aim is to contest the dominant configuration of power, it would be necessary to challenge the numerous ways in which ‘the human’ has been constituted over and against its so-called ‘non-human’ others, a category that includes animals but extends to a wide variety of other marginalised entities, relations and living and non-living beings. In the opening section of this chapter, I made reference to Derrida’s characterisation of our present moment as being structured by a war in regard to animal compassion and pity. In developing this view of the present, Derrida clearly shares the basic premise of a genealogical approach in terms of seeing resistance as irreducible. Although there can be little doubt that violence against animals is dominant in most of our major institutions and practices, our world is not homogeneous; resistance, along with alternative modes of relation and forms of life, exist in minor forms in the interstices of the dominant social order. Derrida’s sympathy with the minor and minoritarian groups who fight on behalf of animals is manifest throughout his work. He and related theorists like Cary Wolfe frequently note their support for animal rights movements and legislation, and they offer their own arguments concerning the importance of developing strategies for current intervention in such practices as factory farming, experimentation and the violent use of animals for entertainment. They offer their support to these struggles and the animal rights movement, however, only in abeyance. Difference theorists tend to view animal rights and related movements having humanist and liberal origins as running the risk of reinstating the very intellectual and political worldview that a thought of difference is trying to contest. In order to avoid the ‘disastrous contradiction’27 of reconstituting the hierarchies and violence of the liberal humanist tradition, difference theorists seek to radicalise

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pro-animal thought from within, thereby opening the movement up to a richer view of human-animal relations and holding open the possibility for building future forms of life that go beyond simply expanding the liberal humanist order to include certain animals. This kind of two-pronged strategy of partial but critical support for pragmatic movements for change, coupled with the more radical aim of creating a more just world for animals, is one of the chief characteristics of the difference approach. Thus, on the one hand, it tends to work parasitically on existing movements for change, recognising the need for intervening in the present with whatever tools and strategies are at hand. But, on the other hand and in parallel with Foucault, difference theorists seek to mount a deeper challenge to ‘what is accepted as self-evident’ in the present social order.28 This means that not only do they reject dominant, anthropocentric perspectives on animals, they also reject the idea that liberal humanism is ‘the only game in town’ and that pro-animal movements can hope only to tweak and reform that established order. Alternative forms of life – which is to say, other ways of living that depart from the status quo in substantial and significant ways – are possible, and one of the central commitments of the difference approach is that such worlds can be actualised, if only in part. There are no pretensions, however, towards creating radically different forms of life in the short term. Derrida argues that instituting different forms of life in regard to animals is work that ‘will no doubt take centuries’,29 hence the need for pragmatic strategies in the interim. Derrida does not offer a detailed critique of animal rights or intervene in any significant way in existing debates among the various wings of animal liberation thought and practice. Instead, the bulk of his work – along with much of the work done in mainstream animal studies – can perhaps best be seen as contributing to the proto-ethical and proto-ontological infrastructure required to institute another form of life. To this end, Derrida has offered a variety of ‘quasi-infrastructures’ and conceptual inventions that articulate an alternative vision and economy of humananimal relations. One of the more important (albeit contentious) aspects of this project is Derrida’s reworking of the human-animal distinction in terms of différance, which stresses the radical multiplicity of both human and animal life, while also multiplying the differences between and among human beings and animals. Against the biological continuism of the identity approach, which risks instituting new forms of homogeneity, Derrida’s overarching strategy is to reframe the anthropological difference in terms of a wide variety of human-animal folds, differences and intersections. While this strategy has the merit of emphasising the radical multiplicity of both human and animal life, it tends to reinforce the seemingly self-evident notion that consideration of the anthropological difference should form one of the primary coordinates of positive philosophical thought. In the following section, I will examine some of the thinkers and activists who develop a notion of thought and practice that operates beyond the frame of anthropological difference(s) with the goal of establishing broader and more complex notions of relation that radically displace human beings from the centre of reflection. In terms of other critical limitations with the difference approach, we should note that Derrida’s suggestion that a long-term cultural move away from anthropocentrism ‘will no doubt take centuries’ to accomplish

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appears deeply problematic in view of the ecological breakdown that characterises our present order. This widespread breakdown was already evident during much of the time that Derrida wrote intensively on animals and has been unmistakably present in the subsequent rise of the portions of animal studies inspired by his work. Yet, to date, the overlap between the difference approach to animals and important work on environmental justice, climate change politics, extinction studies and radical environmental activism has been minimal. Whether the difference approach can be suitably expanded and reoriented to take this emerging body of work and activism on board remains to be seen.

Indistinction, or How (Not) to Solve Problems The indistinction approach in animal studies has emerged against the backdrop of the critical limitations of both the identity and difference approaches. Indistinction in this context refers to the ways in which the traditional distinction between human and animal has been replaced with a more fluid, pluralistic, relational view of humananimal relations in which no sharp boundaries can be discerned. Although the identity approach also stresses human-animal continuity, the continuity tends in that context to proceed unidirectionally, with emphasis on the ways in which ‘animals are like us’. Indistinction theorists tend, by contrast, to emphasise overlap and continuity in the opposing direction, uncovering the surprising ways in which human beings find themselves ontologically and relationally alongside animals and the rest of the morethan-human world.30 And while difference theorists might be concerned that this stress on continuity will flatten the ontological field and create problematic homogeneities, indistinction theorists are quick to note that seeing human beings and animals as belonging to a shared zone of indiscernibility is not aimed at eliminating identities and differences but at locating them along other lines and in other registers. The main gambit of the indistinction approach is that if the emphasis on the anthropological difference is set aside, other and richer possibilities for enacting human-animal relations (as well as human-non-human relations more generally, along with non-human-nonhuman relations) come to the foreground, possibilities that displace human beings from the centre of attention and that resituate them inside other kinds of relations and alongside the rest of the more-than-human world. If one considers the indistinction approach to be a desirable mode of thought and practice, the account of the origins of our present situation shifts accordingly. What would need to be explained from this perspective are the mechanisms and apparatuses whereby anthropocentrism and the anthropological difference are instituted, maintained and resisted.31 Among animal studies theorists, one of the more influential accounts of the origins of our present anthropocentric order is found in the writings of Giorgio Agamben, who uses the image of an ‘anthropological machine’ to explain the various intellectual and political apparatuses that have produced our current image and subject position of the human.32 For Agamben, this machine functions primarily by instituting divisions between animal existence and properly human political life. This split functions in various ways to divide human life internally and thereby to create splits in and among the socius. Animal studies theorists have gone beyond Agamben to explore the effects of this machine not just on human

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life and communities but on the lives of animals as well. And while Agamben’s particular genealogy of the anthropological machine does allow for some variation in its historical function, theorists who follow in his footsteps have had to supplement his account with the kind of nuanced and multi-layered accounts of power that we find in Foucault’s and Nietzsche’s genealogies. Indistinction theorists, then, take the anthropological machine – the set of apparatuses, practices, institutions and ideologies that institute and reproduce ‘the human’ over and against animals and its sub- and non-human others – to name the dominant, hegemonic logic of our present situation. How best to interrupt and stop the functioning of this machine thus becomes of paramount importance. If we maintain the genealogical perspective developed here, then we should expect to find places in which there has already been resistance to this hegemonic order. For pro-animal theorists and activists working from this general perspective, such resistance is found in several places, most notably among: the current and widespread acknowledgement of the breakdown of the traditional anthropological difference; the agency and creativity of animals and the more-than-human world that exceeds attempts at full capture; and the various struggles to establish and maintain nonanthropocentric forms of life. From the perspective of the indistinction approach, even if the anthropological machine cannot be entirely eliminated, it is currently in a vulnerable position and is subject to being reduced in scope and influence. This is why it is so essential from this perspective not to reinstitute the anthropological difference along other lines, no matter how self-evident such a distinction and project might appear according to the current doxa. The fact that innumerable alternative notions and practices of human-animal relations already exist gives the lie to the notion that the current order is somehow fixed, natural or necessary. We find ourselves, today, in a complex field of relations in which what it means to be human and how humans are related to animals is fundamentally in question. The indistinction approach seeks to seize this moment of destabilisation and to think, practice and experiment with the various possibilities that emerge within the shared space of human-animal encounters. Agamben characterises our present situation of destabilisation as one in which the anthropological machine is idling,33 thereby leaving us with a decision to be made about whether to restart the machine with a new figure of the human or to do what is possible to shrink its influence and stop its functioning altogether. While indistinction theorists are clearly in favour of taking the latter route, there are dangers here in proceeding without sufficient care and humility. For in trying to rethink life, death and relation beyond the anthropological difference, it is all too easy to reinstitute alternative ontologies and practices that reproduce many of the dogmas of anthropocentrism. Indeed, as Rosi Braidotti and others have demonstrated, much of the work carried out in Continental philosophical and posthumanist circles along these lines remains situated on all-too-human terrain and fails to grasp sufficiently the radically nonanthropocentric implications of indistinction.34 In addition, given the tendency within the contemporary intellectual and activist scene to get caught up in various versions of the ‘race for theory’ and in the search for major thinkers, there will be a temptation to institute the new thought of relation, the new alternative.35 Foucault, as we have seen, has warned us of this desire to institute a single alternative form of thought, inasmuch

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as any given alternative will carry its own dangers and problematic power relations. Consequently, as attractive as certain new materialisms, multispecies ethnographies and multiple-actor theories might be, we should be careful in assuming that any particular pluralist ontology constitutes the alternative. Instead, as Philippe Descola has shown, there are plural ontologies of relation that lie outside Western anthropocentrism and the hegemonic worlds that have been built on a reductive human/non-human split.36 Effectively challenging the anthropological machine requires us not to choose one approach among these options but to multiply and refine them. Such a gesture would thus entail taking up what Walter Mignolo calls the decolonial option and thereby ensuring the conditions for a ‘pluri-verse’ of ontologies, epistemologies and forms of life.37 In experimenting and living within these other forms of life, two considerations are of overarching importance for those of us who are working in animal studies and who are interested in pursuing a thought of indistinction in a positive, constructive direction. First, it will be important to allow the problems that characterise the current established order to help determine the salience of given ontological and political interventions. This is why it is essential to give an honest accounting of where we find ourselves today with regard to the animal question. The problem and the question concerning animals has shifted under our collective feet in recent years, and that shift must be marked and met both in the forms of resistance and the forms of life that are adopted. The intersectional work that is currently being carried out among animal activists and activists working in radical environmental, anti-racist, critical disability, feminist, queer, decolonial and related struggles is particularly promising here.38 In view of the interlocking and mutually reinforcing effects of anthropocentric marginalisations, these struggles are working to find ways to deepen their alliances and to help each other expose lingering dogmas and combat various ecological and economic injustices. The second issue to bear in mind as the discourse on indistinction proceeds in the context of animal studies is the deep debt that is owed here to non-Western cultures and to indigenous cultures in particular. Many of the relational and multispecies ontologies currently being developed have strong parallels with a variety of indigenous worldviews and cosmologies; it is insufficient, however, simply to mark this overlap. What is instead needed is a careful and humble engagement with these nondominant traditions, one that recognises the commonalities among them as well as their singularities. As Kim TallBear notes, efforts to reconfigure human-animal relationships on the basis of a more generous and respectful view of animals have longstanding precedents in both her own Lakota/Dakota tribal background and in related indigenous traditions.39 And if, as Agamben suggests, the anthropological machine that structures the dominant culture is currently idling, it might be wise for those of us who come from settler colonial societies to use this moment to listen to and learn from these living traditions about what other forms of life are possible and not simply rush forward to construct new ontologies and practices using concepts and resources that are already familiar. Further, as TallBear also emphasises, indigenous worldviews can assist animal studies in learning to embrace a broader set of relations beyond the scope of human-animal relations. Although it is no doubt essential to track the specific history of the subjugation of animals and to create new modes of relation in

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