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.
Figures & Tablescontents
Figures & Tables
The Open: Man and Animal. Trans. Kevin Attell. Stanford: Stanford up,
Ankersmit, F. R.
Sublime Historical Experience. Stanford: Stanford up,
The Postmodern Animal. London: Reaktion,
Empathic Vision. Stanford: Stanford up,
Berger, James. “Falling Towers and Postmodern Wild Children: Oliver Sacks, Don Delillo, and Turns against Language.”
Berger, John. “Why Look at Animals.”
About Looking. New York: Pantheon,
Bernard-Donals, Michael, and Richard Glejzer.
Between Witness and Testimony: The Holocaust and the Limits of Representation. New York: State up of New York,
Brown, Wendy. “Suffering Rights as Paradoxes.”
Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins up,
Cavalieri, Paola, and Peter Singer. “A Declaration on Great Apes.”
The Great Ape Project. Ed. Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer. New York: St. Martins,
The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy. Oxford: Oxford up,
Coetzee, J. M.
Elizabeth Costello. New York: Penguin,
Daston, Lorraine, and Gregg Mitman, eds.
Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism. New York: Columbia up,
Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari.
Kafka, Toward a Minor Literature. Trans. D. Polan. Minneapolis: u of Minnesota p,
A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: u of Minnesota p,
Derrida, Jacques. “And Say the Animal Responded.”
The Animal That Therefore I Am. Trans. David Wills. New York: Fordham up,
Derrida, Jacques, and Elizabeth Roudinesco.
For What Tomorrow... A Dialogue. Trans. Jeff Fort. Stanford: Stanford up,
Foucault, Michel. “What Is Enlightenment?”
The Foucault Reader. Ed. Paul Rabinow. New York: Pantheon,
Fouts, Roger S., and Deborah H. Fouts. “Chimpanzees' Use of Sign Language.”
Cavalieri and Singer
Gardner, R. Allen, Beatrix T. Gardner, and Thomas E. Van Cantfort.
Teaching Sign Language to Chimpanzees. Albany: suny p,
Gruen, Lori, and Kari Weil. “Teaching Difference: Sex, Gender, Species.”
Teaching the Animal. Ed. Margo de Mello. Seattle: Lantern, forthcoming.
The Companion Species Manifesto. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm,
———. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century.”
Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge,
When Species Meet. Minnesota: u of Minnesota p,
How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago: u of Chicago p,
Adam's Task: Calling Animals by Name. Pleasantville: Common Reader,
Herrnstein-Smith, Barbara. “Animal Relatives, Difficult Relations.”
differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies
Songs of Experience. Berkeley: u of California p,
Kafka, Franz. “A Report to an Academy.”
Collected Stories. Ed. Gabriel Josipovici. New York: Knopf,
Klinkenborg, Verlyn. “Alex the Parrot.”
New York Times12 Sept.
History and Its Limits. Ithaca: Cornell up,
Writing History, Writing Trauma. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins up,
Moyn, Samuel. “Empathy in History, Empathizing with Humanity.”
History and Theory
Witnessing: Beyond Recognition. Minneapolis: u of Minnesota p,
Patton, Paul. “Language, Power, and the Training of Horses.” Wolfe,
Pepperberg, I. M.
The Alex Studies: Cognitive Communicative Abilities of Grey Parrots. Cambridge: Harvard up,
Regan, Tom, and Peter Singer. “Animals in the History of Western Thought.”
Animal Rights and Human Obligations. Ed. Tom Regan and Peter Singer. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall,
Kanzi: The Ape at the Brink of the Human Mind. New York: John Wiley,
Animal Liberation. New York: Avon,
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “Can the Subaltern Speak?”
Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Ed. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg. Urbana: u of Illinois p,
Talbot, Margaret. “Birdbrain, the Woman behind the Chattiest Parrots.”
New Yorker12 May
von Uexküll, Jakob. “A Stroll through the Worlds of Animals and Men.” 1934.
Instinctive Behavior: The Development of a Modern Concept. Trans. and ed. Claire H. Schiller. New York: International Universities p,
Androgyny and the Denial of Difference. Charlottesville: u of Virginia p,
———. “French Feminism's `Écriture Féminine.'”
The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Literary Theory. Ed. Ellen Rooney. Cambridge: Cambridge up,
Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthuman Theory. Chicago: u of Chicago p,
Wolfe, Cary, ed.
Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal. Minnesota: u of Minnesota p,