Theory has gone to the birds . . . and to apes, dogs, and horses. The recent explosion of writing and teaching on animals has recharged those questions of identity and difference, of power and its effects that have embroiled academic theory over the past quarter century. Even trauma studies has turned its focus to nonhuman animals, both because of the violence they suffer at human hands and because of the difficulties humans have in assessing the extent of that violence. This article examines the animal turn by tracing three theoretical moments or trends for which the ``the animal'' (that word which, Jacques Derrida says, humans have given themselves the right to give to others) has become a test or limit case: the linguistic turn, the post- or counter-linguistic turn, and the ethical turn. It is also a report that builds on the words of Kafka's ape, Red Peter, who, in his ``Report to an Academy'' (1919) addressed and fell victim to the aporias in our knowledge about what it means to be an animal and, consequently, a human.
Kari Weil; A Report on the Animal Turn. differences 1 September 2010; 21 (2): 1–23. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-2010-001
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