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Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies

A Historical Collection


Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II and Amber E. George

Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection represents the very best that the internationally scholarly Journal for Critical Animal Studies (JCAS) has published in terms of articles that are written by public critical scholar-activists-organizers for public critical scholar-activists-organizers. This move toward publishing pieces about engaging social change, rather than high-theoretical detached analysis of nonhuman animals in society, is to regain focus for liberation at all costs. The essays in this collection focus on intersectionality scholarship within the realm of Critical Animal Studies, and discuss issues related to race, gender, disability, class, and queerness. Not only are these articles historically significant within the field of Critical Animal Studies, but they are integral to the overall social justice movement. Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies: A Historical Collection should be read by anyone interested in the Critical Animal Studies field, as we consider them to be classic writings that should be respected as foundational texts. There are many interesting and innovative texts, but these are historical, not only because they were published in JCAS, but because they were among the first to publish on a particular intersectional issue.

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Chapter One: The Love Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken: Queering the Human–Animal Bond (Carmen Dell’Aversano)


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The Love Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken

Queering the Human–Animal Bond



Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence (Halperin, 1995, p. 62). What makes queer so productive as a hermeneutical category is its structural elasticity, its definitional indeterminacy:

Queer […] does not designate a class of already objectified pathologies or perversions; rather, it describes a horizon of possibility whose precise extent and heterogeneous scope cannot in principle be delimited in advance. (Halperin, 1995, p. 62)

Because of its fluid nature, of its being unaligned with any specific identity category, queer has the potential to subvert accepted ways of thinking on any issue. Subversion, as well as fluidity, is definitory of queer; indeed, its fluidity is not an end in itself, but simply the most effective and aesthetically fulfilling means to accomplish the political and metaphysical task of permanent and never-ending subversion.

The main analytic and hermeneutic device queer uses in its subversive enterprise is denaturalization, a radical and ruthless ability and willingness to question all assumptions of individual and social identity: queer signifies “a resistance to regimes of the normal” (Warner, 1993, p. xxvi), it “mark[s] a flexible space for the expression of all aspects of non-(anti-, contra-) straight...

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