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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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Introduction: Intellectual Motivation to Undertake the Subject of Animality


Introduction:Intellectual Motivation to Undertake the Subject of Animality

Szymon Wróbel

At the opening of this collection of papers I would like to expound on the reasons why we have decided to make the effort to discuss in one volume the subject of animality in culture, ethics, philosophy, art and literature. My diagnosis today differs somehow from the one worked out over two years ago, when we were preparing for the conference The Experience of Animality In Culture, Science And Daily Life held between 11th and 13th October 2012 at Faculty of “Artes Liberales” at the University of Warsaw. I am now fully aware of the variety of questions to be raised in the presentations. I will therefore try to outline the cognitive interests, intellectual motivations, ethical reasons and practical effects that substantiate this volume.

The main axis of this volume is the recognition of a yet another turn in the humanities. After the linguistic turn (30s to 70s) and the pictorial turn (70s to 90s), what follows next is what we only tentatively refer to as the animal turn. Our main task here is to determine what precisely animal turn is and what its further development might be. Specifically, can we provide this turn with a meaning? Are we the lucky ones who can name and diagnose their times and consciously participate in the events to follow?

First of all we challenge the most important and most difficult question: animal...

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