Animals as Cultural Capital, ACLA 2014 -- Deadline Nov. 1st

full name / name of organization: 
American Comparative Literature Association

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

View the cfp here:

Submit an abstract here: