CFP: Animal Whites: Whiteness, Animals and the Human (11/30/05; ACLA, 3/23/06-3/26/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Lucia Hodgson
contact email: 

Call for papers for a seminar entitled, "Animal Whites: Whiteness,
Animals and the Human," to be held at the American Comparative
Literature Association 2006 Annual Meeting: The Human and Its Others
at Princeton University, March 23-26, 2006.

Organizer: Lucia Hodgson, English Department, University of Southern

Abstracts (max. 250 words) must be submitted by November 30, 2005
using the online form on the ACLA website (

Seminar Description:

The debate sparked by PETA's animal "liberation" campaign entitled,
"Are Animals the New Slaves?"--which has drawn criticism for
comparing the institutional mistreatment of animals to the
enslavement of African Americans--illustrates the complex racial
dynamics of humanist discourse in American culture. Tim Wise's
Counterpunch article, "Animal Whites," postulates that PETA's
"blindingly white" and wealthy membership explains its inability to
comprehend the dangers of destabilizing the human/animal divide. Yet
modern western textual instantiations of that divide historically
have been raced, basing the coherence of (white) human identity on
the abjection of the (black) other, positioning "negritude" at the
limits, as Warren Montag has argued, as "the site of an oscillation
between the human and the nonhuman."

This seminar seeks to interrogate the role of racialized discourse,
particularly white supremacy, in literary, philosophical, scientific,
and political narratives engaging the division between humans and
animals, and in the interrelated cultural project of constituting the
modern human subject. The focus is literary and cultural productions
of the Americas and the Black/Green Atlantic from the
sixteenth-century into the twenty-first century, with an emphasis on
texts that negotiate racialized disciplinary regimes, including "New
World" slavery, civil rights, institutional violence, public
education, criminal justice, military training, and religious
teaching. The seminar will also pay close attention to issues of
gender, sexuality, age, ability, and socio-economic status as they
complicate the racialized production of the human subject.

Discussion will address how a discourse of the human can challenge
the racism on which it is grounded.

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Received on Sat Oct 29 2005 - 14:49:13 EDT