Animal Scholarship Opportunity in Social Text

Call for Papers: Special Issue of Social Text

SPECIES

We are soliciting papers for a special issue of Social Text titled SPECIES.  The past decade has witnessed the emergence and crystallization of a field of scholarship hailed as “Animal Studies” or alternatively, the “Post-human turn.”  While this relatively novel formulation reflects a self-conscious interest in animals, it also intersects with longstanding forms of humanistic and social science research on animals that preceded the articulation of an animal-centered field of research.
Inter/disciplinary approaches toward and investments in the study of animals based in philosophy, literature, anthropology, postcolonial studies, history, to name a few—probe a range of critical positions.  Many studies in this field are interested in relations between humans and animals, often interrogating human/animal distinctions in order to de-center humans as ur-subject.  This special issue of Social Text in part will query this trend and thereby the transparency of this human-animal divide and where and how it gets marked; as well as the intellectual instrumentalizing of animals in order to understand humans, which often result in anthropomorphizing of animals through an accordance of “agency”
and “rights”; and will also pursue a potential “post-human” interest in animals in and of themselves.

Our aim for this issue is to map some of the above tendencies while at the same time charting the relatively unknown parameters of this rapidly evolving field. Crucial to our project is an emphasis on both geographical as well as species diversity.  Though there are notable exceptions, their exists a current Euro -American trend in animal studies as well as its tendency to focus on domesticated animals without thoroughly investigating how distinctions between domesticated and non-domesticated animals arise historically and geographically. These are tendencies we seek to disrupt.
Possible themes that submissions may address include:

•    the unsettling of taxonomies of scale and hierarchies of scientific
knowledge across species; heavily trafficked and policed boundaries between humans, animals, and other life forms.

•    animals and intimacy/affection/love/disgust.

•    primates, insect studies, parasites, bacteria, and other forms of
living that challenge the presumed stability and impermeability of human bodies as somehow separate from animals or separate from non-human animals (incompanionate species).

•    pets as neoliberal projects; animals as laborers, producers, consumed
and consumers; domestication as global phenomenon.

•    animals as ubiquitous but also geographically singular and wondrous;
place and species familiarity.

•    animals we ‘live’ with–interrogation of the category ‘domestic’ animal.

•    nature/nuture; animals as ‘natural”; animals as biological proxy for
research (like us, but not like us); use of animals in biotechnology; cloning.

•    animal demography; biopolitics and population construction; the rise
and demise of species.

In addition to standard academic essays, we are open to alternative forms for submissions such as comics, poetry, short fiction, review essays, photo-essays and images (pending production approval).  Essays should be no longer than 8000 words.

Deadline for submission of full essay/contribution is June 1, 2009, though the co-editors of this issue (Jasbir Puar and Julie Livingston) are happy to review abstracts beforehand.  Submissions should be emailed to both editors at jpuar@rci.rutgers.edu and jliving@tulrich.com.

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