Demenageries: Thinking (Of) Animals After Derrida. (Critical Studies)

Demenageries: Thinking (Of) Animals After Derrida. (Critical Studies)

Anne Emmanuelle Berger

Language: English

Pages: 282

ISBN: 9042033509

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Demenageries, Thinking (of) Animals after Derrida is a collection of essays on animality following Jacques Derrida's work. The Western philosophical tradition separated animals from men by excluding the former from everything that was considered "proper to man": laughing, suffering, mourning, and above all, thinking. The "animal" has traditionally been considered the absolute Other of humans. This radical otherness has served as the rationale for the domination, exploitation and slaughter of animals. What Derrida called "la pensée de l'animal" (which means both thinking concerning the animal and "animal thinking") may help us understand differently such apparently human features as language, thought and writing. It may also help us think anew about such highly philosophical concerns as differences, otherness, the end(s) of history and the world at large. Thanks to the ethical and epistemological crisis of Western humanism, "animality" has become an almost fashionable topic. However, Demenageries is the first collection to take Derrida's thinking on animal thinking as a starting point, a way of reflecting not only on animals but starting from them, in order to address a variety of issues from a vast range of theoretical perspectives: philosophy, literature, cultural theory, anthropology, ethics, politics, religion, feminism, postcolonialism and, of course, posthumanism.

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(L’Animal 82). One way of accessing the animal “course” in or of philosophy – one way of scenting it out of discourse – is to lend an ear to Derrida’s “que donc,” to sense or scent it (after Derrida’s own defense and illustration of the force of flair). At this stage, gnosis gives way to noses – on the trail of a volatile “air” in and out of Derrida’s name. Among the key-concepts in L’Animal, the animot (65) is, Derrida explains, a disparate montage or chimera, in which he “allies” in one body a

one way or another Is, beyond a silent ecological act, To try to shift the border, to erase it By following the apes on the uncertain path On which they advance, like complete philosophical objects And perhaps like philosophers as well, That is, like unfathomables. Only poetic thinking concerns itself with the animal without appropriating it, from Montaigne to Kafka, and including Alice, the Autobiogriffures of the “Cat Murr” or L’Amour du loup (The Love of the Wolf) by Tsvetaïeva and Cixous,

of Sophocles’ king Oedipus, whom we watch, blind to his own blindness, while everything – his own name16 and history, the oracle, the way he has come to sovereignty, the blind soothsayer Tiresias – tells him who he is. But there are additional twists and turns in the scene of the naked I seeing himself seen naked by a cat. It is not about human spectators seeing themselves blind in another human. It demands that we weigh how the eyes of a non-human being, whose point of view is absolutely out of

anthropocentered relations. • • • It would be too quick and easy, as I suggested in the beginning, to group these novels by the Countess together under the banner of moral idealism, alongside other edifying writings and more specifically writings by women aimed at a large and somewhat popular audience. Such idealism cannot be simply moral, nor such moralism ideal, as soon and as long as a statement such as “You will kill animals” implicitly underwrites the human(ist) “You shall not kill.”

South Africa following a recent eruption of what has been called “xenophobic” violence, expresses an obvious and commonplace sense of othering. It is a nearly universal gesture to abuse others by naming them as animals. But if one listens carefully to these words, one can also discern in them something more specific. Here, animality designates the kind of being that lacks compassion, that does not care for the suffering of others, and that disavows others precisely by withholding from them a

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