[UPDATE] CFP: Animals as Cultural Capital, ACLA 2014 -- DEADLINE EXTENDED to Nov. 15

full name / name of organization: 
Sundhya Walther

Animals as Cultural Capital

Seminar Organizer(s):
Sundhya Walther (University of Toronto), Jessica Carey (University of British Columbia Okanagan)

Animals often enter into human culture by way of their symbolic currency; their power as figures of representation often overshadows their presence as material beings. At the same time, the living animal body appears as an excess that cannot easily be contained by culture's intended binaries. This panel will examine the intersection of the cultural and material roles of animals in the human imagination as this position shapes and is shaped by living relations between human and nonhuman animals. We invite papers that interrogate the relationship between "real" and "represented" animals.

How do novelists, visual artists, filmmakers, and other cultural workers employ the uniquely powerful cultural capital that animals figures offer? How do they attempt to do justice to the fact of the animal body in their work? In what ways do cultural representations map an imagined geography of the animal body? How do contemporary food discourses negotiate the tension between figurative and material animal bodies? How are animal bodies abstracted in current economic imaginaries?

Possible topics for papers include:
Animals in advertising
Contemporary conceptions of interspecies relationships, including food cultures, conservation and ecology, animal rights
Animals as surrogates for the artist
Literary representations of animal worlds, including animal narrators, fables, animal-human hybrids
Representations of escaped food animals
Forms of animal resistance, such as trainer or spectator attacks, disobedience, and spatial transgressions
Discourses of economic speculation in animal bodies
Representations of animals in the emerging fields of human-animal studies, critical animal studies

SEMINAR KEYWORDS: animal studies; posthumanism; human-animal relationships; representation; visual art; literature; ethics; ecocriticism; food; cultural studies