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This chapter critically examines efforts to rehabilitate endangered Asian draft elephants as artists painting self-portraits for sale. The author frames the extension of selfhood to animals as a self-evident gesture of liberation as a “humane-itarian intervention” that combines the rhetorical force of humanitarian reason with the disciplinary logic of humane reform. The chapter examines posthumanist approaches to the animal question that have critiqued the anthropocentrism of humane-itarian ethics, framing these approaches to reflexivity as respectively formal and political. The author argues that Roger Caillois’s account of mimesis as a radically passive mode of existence challenges the underlying interventionist logic of...

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