Appel à contributions : “Animal Humanities”, Ecozon@, 15 janvier 2015

“Animal Humanities”, Ecozon@
European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment

Appel à contributions (date-limite 15 janvier 2015, pour une parution en juillet 2016)

In Marcovaldo, or the Seasons in the City, an imaginative meditation on the relationship between urban and rural spaces in 1950s Italy, Italo Calvino writes that “The city of cats and the city of men exist one inside the other, but they are not the same city.” The imagined lines of demarcation between cats and men motivated (a naked) Jacques Derrida to return his cat’s gaze and to write about it in The Animal That Therefore I Am, a text that has become a landmark reference in a growing field that is variously referred to as animal studies, human-animal studies, or animality studies. Derrida’s cat helps trace a complex network of relations linking human and nonhuman animals—relations that include questions of companionship, consumption, labor, exploitation, ontology, language, and poiesis, to name but a few. Committed to both interspecies and interdisciplinary methods, the field of animal studies works to rethink the human-animal entanglement within a material world and within texts of all kinds.

The project of thinking animals in the humanities encompasses an array of currents and voices intent, to varying degrees and with different accents, on broaching philosophical, political, gender-based, and species-related hierarchies. The otherness of Derrida’s staring cat signals “the abyssal limit of the human” and the inadequacy of those categories and abilities —reason, language, amongst others— traditionally and jealously deemed by man as proper to man. A multifaceted anxiety answers the collapse of the carefully constructed edifice of anthropocentric humanism. This loss of human privilege unleashes doubts that are not just ontological, gnoseological, and socio-political; humankind must also recognize the embodied vulnerability and finitude we share with the nonhuman animal. Thus while Heidegger struggles before our “scarcely fathomable, abyssal bodily kinship with the animal,” D.H. Lawrence acknowledges the cognitive and ethical limits of humanity in the face of fish being: “I am not the measure of creation. / This is beyond me, this fish. / His God stands outside my God.” However, dismantling anthropocentrism also allows the humanities to reposition the human within a broader web of relations. Here we might locate Derrida and his cat, Rosi Braidotti’s call for a “bioegalitarian” thinking that could allow us to “relate to animals as animals ourselves,” Deleuze and Guattari’s becoming-animal, and Roberto Marchesini’s acknowledgment of the human cultural debt to the world of nonhuman animals. We might also identify currents including but not limited to: posthumanism (Haraway, Wolfe), zoosemiotics (Maran, Martinelli), ecocriticism (Buell, Garrard), ecofeminism and feminist ecocriticism (Adams, Gaard), biopolitics (Foucault, Agamben), postcolonial ecocriticism (Huggan and Tiffin), transcorporeality (Alaimo).

This special issue of Ecozon@ aims to recognize the hybrid, conjoined, and transversal quality of knowledge, being, and representation, or how the animal question urges us to think other forms of thought—artistic forms of knowledge that rely on imagination, fantasy, and empathy. We invite contributors from across the humanities to examine texts – artistic and material – that confront the interlocked questions of humans, animals, and ecosystems.

Topics and approaches may include but are not restricted to:

  • Humanisms and posthumanisms
  • Ecocriticism (including material, postcolonial, and feminist ecocriticisms)
  • Biosemiotics, zoosemiotics, and zoomusicology
  • Ecocinema and ecomedia studies
  • Biopolitics
  • Gender and sexuality studies
  • Dystopia, apocalypse, monsters
  • Race, colony, and empire
  • Mythologies, bestiaries, and cosmographies
  • Modernism and post-Darwinian anxiety
  • Agriculture and animal labor
  • Alimentary regimes and food studies

Please direct questions to Deborah Amberson ( and Elena Past ( Articles should be typed, double-spaced, with references in the MLA style and footnotes (see Author Guidelines on the Ecozon@ platform). Authors are invited to submit an optional abstract proposal via email to Amberson and Past by January 15, 2015. Completed manuscripts (6,000-8,000 words) must be submitted via the journal platform no later than July 15, 2015, and will be subject to peer review. Articles will be accepted in English, French, Spanish, and Italian.

ISSN 2171-9594

Universidad de Alcalá

Anne Simon

Anne Simon est Directrice de recherche au CNRS et Professeure à l'Ecole normale supérieure (Paris). Responsable du Centre international d'étude de la philosophie française–PhilOfr, elle anime les carnets PhilOfr, Animots, Pôle Proust et Prix Recherche au présent.

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