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Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now? Paperback – 11 May 2012


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Review

"As historical, literary, and philosophical studies of human-animal relations begin to fill press lists, a book that invites readers to take stock of how the academy came to this moment in animal studies is enormously important. Weil maps the theoretical history of animal studies while also setting a course for future studies. The author makes challenging theoretical arguments accessible and inviting. The framework of ethics also offers a framework for abstract discussion that should include even those without deep theoretical knowledge into the conversation."--Teresa Mangum, Director, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Iowa

Weil's book is a deeply felt and keenly thought engagement with key philosophical questions animating the exploding scholarly world of "animal studies." In this graciously written and eminently approachable text, Weil has created a book that will stimulate seasoned scholars and beginning students alike to take up the 21st century challenge of taking animals seriously across all realms of academia.This book belongs on bookshelves and syllabi for courses in philosophy, cultural studies, anthropology, literature, ecology, animal science, and biology. It takes a very good scholar indeed to make such "challenging issues underpinning our moral, aesthetic, and philosophical relations with animals seem so compelling and clear without in the least simplifying them. Highly recommended!--Jane Desmond, author of Staging Tourism: Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Sea World

Kari Weil's Thinking Animals provides a lively and compelling introduction to essential debates shaping posthumanistic animal theory today. Using a wide range of examples from literature, film, and art, Weil illustrates how modern and contemporary texts trouble ethical positioning in response to questions of animal life by revealing the peculiarly human quality of "b?tise" that philosopher Gilles Deleuze notoriously diagnosed as "the origin of the melancholy that weighs down on the finest human figures." Whether with ordinary expressions of grief at the death of pets, or by extreme fantasies of animal liberation through extinction, Weil argues, the problems of animal representation are proving increasingly difficult to separate from those of representing people. With original readings and nuanced translations, Thinking Animals locates French poststructuralist and material feminist theory as pivotal to this so-called animal turn in the twenty-first century.

Weil maps the theoretical history of animal studies while also setting a course for future studies. She makes challenging theoretical arguments accessible and inviting. The framework of ethics also offers a framework for abstract discussion that should include even those without deep theoretical knowledge into the conversation.--Teresa Mangum, director, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Iowa

Kari Weil's book is a deeply felt and keenly thought engagement with key philosophical questions animating the exploding scholarly world of 'animal studies.' In this graciously written and eminently approachable text, Weil has created a book that will stimulate seasoned scholars and beginning students alike to take up the twenty-first century challenge of taking animals seriously across all realms of academia. This book belongs on bookshelves, and syllabi for courses in philosophy, cultural studies, anthropology, literature, ecology, animal science, and biology. It takes a very good scholar indeed to make such 'challenging issues underpinning our moral, aesthetic, and philosophical relations with animals seem so compelling and clear without in the least simplifying them. Highly recommended.--Jane Desmond, author of "Staging Tourism: Bodies on Display from Waikiki to Sea World"

A lively and compelling introduction to essential debates shaping posthumanistic animal theory today. Whether through ordinary expressions of grief at the death of pets or by extreme fantasies of animal liberation through extinction, Weil argues, the problems of animal representation are proving increasingly difficult to separate from those of representing people. With original readings and nuanced translations, "Thinking Animals" emphasizes French poststructuralist and material feminist theory as pivotal to this so-called animal turn in the twenty-first century.

engaging--Chris Wilbert"Radical Philosophy" (01/01/0001)

From J.M. Coetzee and Bill Viola to Virginia Woolf and Sam Taylor-Wood, Kari Weil plumbs our thick entanglements with non-human animals as companions, as abjected others, as subjects of grief and mourning--those dense contact zones in which art and literature may well 'think' non-human animals better, or at least more patiently, than theory and philosophy. Anyone interested in love, life, and death across species will want to read this book.--Cary Wolfe, author of "Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and the Posthumanist Theory"

About the Author

Kari Weil is University Professor of Letters at Wesleyan University. She has published widely on feminist theory; literary representations of gender (especially in France); the riding, breeding, and eating of horses in nineteenth-century France; and, more recently, on theories and representations of animal otherness and human-animal relations. Her course, "Animal Subjects," which she first taught at the California College of the Arts, won "Best Course Award" from the United States Humane Society.


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