Queering Animal Acts

By Miranda Niittynen

Una Chaudhuri and Holly Hughes, eds. Animal Acts: Performing Species Today. University of Michigan Press, 2014. 246 pp.

“Animal Acts” writes Una Chaudhuri, “are a powerful way to change the world” (1). Performance arts, in particular, create room for political discussion, as well as forging alternative spaces, places, time, and creatures.
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Pity on the Offensive

By Richard Iveson

Élisabeth de Fontenay. Without Offending Humans: A Critique of Animal Rights. Trans. Will Bishop. University of Minnesota Press, 2012. 160pp.

First and foremost, Élisabeth de Fontenay is a philosopher. A philosopher, moreover, who has for decades committed herself to bettering the situation of other animals. I mention this at the outset because, while reading Without Offending Humans, not only did I find it necessary to repeatedly remind myself of this fact, but also, because de Fontenay herself would do well to recall an equal level of commitment on behalf of certain philosophers she deals with here.
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Intersectionality Matters

By Melissa Haynes

Mel Y. Chen. Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. Duke University Press, 2012. 312 pp.

The title of Mel Y. Chen’s Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect immediately announces to readers that this is not a book that can be easily disciplined. “Animacies,” for readers who are unfamiliar with the term, might sound like a portmanteau of “animal” and “intimacies.” The rest of the title evokes a compendium of areas of inquiry, namely biopolitics, critical race theory, new materialism, queer studies, and affect theory.
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Becoming Analogical

By Chad Vollrath

Gilbert Simondon. Two Lessons on Animal and Man. Trans. Drew S. Burk. Univocal, 2012. 88 pp.

In 2009, Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy, published a special issue dedicated to “the occasion of the forthcoming publication of the English translation of Gilbert Simondon’s L’individuation psychique et collective” (De Boever et al.
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Back to the Slaughterhouse

By Tristan Sipley

Nicole Shukin. Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times. University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

While it may seem redundant to assert the materiality of animal life, the emerging branch of cultural theory known as “animality studies” has in fact been riddled with philosophical idealism. On one hand, poststructuralist approaches have tended to reduce animals to linguistic and cultural signifiers, overlooking their historical role as actual bodies.
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