Derrida & Animals

Posted by @ 12:58 pm on October 23rd, 2009

As I was saying to Darby recently, after he commented over at my spot about the frequency of my posting artworks of human-animal hybridity, in academia right now Animals are all the rage.

A recent edition of PMLA focused on Animal Studies, and a glance at the Penn CFP page reveals a growing number of conferences on the topic of Animals in literature, art, politics, etc.

Further proof of this growing trend can be seen in the rise of websites like The Inhumanities, as well as the swarm of books being published on the topic, including this new book of Derrida’s lectures being release on November 1st by University of Chicago Press:

The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume 1 launches the series with Derrida’s exploration of the persistent association of bestiality or animality with sovereignty. In this seminar from 2001–2002, Derrida continues his deconstruction of the traditional determinations of the human. The beast and the sovereign are connected, he contends, because neither animals nor kings are subject to the law—the sovereign stands above it, while the beast falls outside the law from below. He then traces this association through an astonishing array of texts, including La Fontaine’s fable “The Wolf and the Lamb,” Hobbes’s biblical sea monster in Leviathan, D. H. Lawrence’s poem “Snake,” Machiavelli’s Prince with its elaborate comparison of princes and foxes, a historical account of Louis XIV attending an elephant autopsy, and Rousseau’s evocation of werewolves in The Social Contract.

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