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Intersectionality of Critical Animal Studies

A Historical Collection

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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 Two: From Beastly Perversions to the Zoological Closet: Animals, Nature, and Homosex (Jovian Parry)

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CHAPTER TWO

From Beastly Perversions to the Zoological Closet

Animals, Nature, and Homosex

JOVIAN PARRY

 

A wealth of recent scholarship in cultural and literary studies and the social sciences is concerned with the myriad relations, both material and semiotic, between human and non(or other than-)human animals.1 Social theorists such as Haraway (2003, 2008), Agamben (2004), and Derrida (2002) have argued that the human–animal divide, like so many other binary constructions before it (white/nonwhite, masculine/feminine, culture/nature, and straight/gay, to name a few), is historically and culturally nuanced, blurry and co-constructed rather than essential and fixed—in certain key ways, humans become humans through recourse to a discursively constructed animal “other.” Ideas about gender and sexuality feature prominently in the construction of the human in relation to the animal: as biologist and historian of science Donna Haraway provocatively states in When Species Meet, “species reeks of race and sex” (2008, p. 18). Cultural theorist Jennifer Terry puts it another way: “Animals help us tell stories about ourselves, especially when it comes to matters of sexuality,” she writes (Terry, 2000, p. 151).

In considering how the sexual behavior of nonhuman animals becomes entangled in the stories we tell ourselves about our own sexual proclivities, “Nature” is a key and recurring term, and one with multiple, overlapping and historically contingent meanings. “Nature” and “the natural” have frequently been invoked throughout Western history2 as denoting something...

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