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colin dayan is professor of English, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, and professor of law at Vanderbilt University. Her books include The Law Is a White Dog; Haiti, History, and the Gods; and, most recently, With Dogs at the Edge of Life. A recipient of NEH and Guggenheim fellowships, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012. “Possum Hunting” is part of a forthcoming memoir called Animal Quintet, a return to the South.
This meditation marks a return to the South and its somewhat raucous racism, a hate so visceral that it can be known only through the tracks of the nonhuman: the possum that suffer in the destruction we have wrought against all species, vegetable and mammalian, everywhere.