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The Animals in Us – We in Animals

Edited By Szymon Wrobel

In art and literature, animals appear not only as an allegoric representation but as a reference which troubles the border between humanity and animality. The aim of this book is to challenge traditional ways of confronting animality with humanity and to consider how the Darwinian turn has modified this relationship in postmodern narratives. The subject of animality in culture, ethics, philosophy, art and literature is explored and reevaluated, and a host of questions regarding the conditions of co-existence of humans and animals is asked: Should discourse ethics now include entities that initially seemed mute and were excluded from discussions? Does the modern animal rights movement need a theology, and vice versa, is there a theology that needs animals? Are animals in literature just metaphors of human characters, or do they reveal something more profound, a direction of human desires, or a fantasy of transgressing humanity? This book provides answers and thus gives a new impetus to a so far largely overlooked field.
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Reviving Biophilia: Feeling Our Academic Way to a Future with Other Animals


Mary Trachsel


The experience of animality, common denominator of human and nonhuman animal life, is the core concern of Animal Studies. An interdisciplinary project whose methodological spectrum embraces both experiential and observational ways of knowing, Animal Studies poses both moral and scientific questions and pursues both academic and activist goals. By training multiperspectival attention upon the experience of animality, Animal Studies can and does cultivate what environmental philosopher Arne Naess first theorized as “deep ecology.” Sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson hypothesizes a biological capacity for deep ecological thinking, an aesthetic and affective responsiveness to nature that he calls “biophilia.” By allying biophilia with biology, Animal Studies can focus the power of both naturalism and natural science upon today’s looming environmental threats to animality in its many earthly forms, including our own.


biophilia; naturalism; relational ethics; human uniqueness; deep ecology; Animal Studies; Edward O. Wilson.

1.  Experiencing Animality: Biophilia as an Organizing Principle of Animal Studies

The title of this collection of papers asks us to think of animality as an identity we can know through first-person, daily experience as well as third-person observation. This inclusion of daily experience as a valid way of knowing animality requires us to practice ways of knowing that our academic training often discourages. In the U.S., most academic worksites deliberately exclude or strictly regulate the presence of nonhuman animals on their premises and thus limit the human experience of animality...

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