Multispecies Entanglements in Literatures of the Global South: ACLA 2023

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Thakshala Tissera/University of Massachusetts Amherst and Sreyashi Ray/University of Minnesota
contact email: 

This panel aims to bring together the theoretical, methodological and political concerns of literary animal studies and postcolonial studies. As theoretical frameworks, the intersection of the two is not always free of contention. For instance, certain seminal postcolonial texts such as Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth have been noted to affirm a strongly humanist position in advancing the political project of reclaiming the humanity of the racialized, colonized subject. Nevertheless, the last decade has seen the growth of a significant body of work in literary studies and other disciplines that considers multispecies entanglements from postcolonial perspectives. Often, such an approach is positioned as a much needed corrective to the preponderance of Euro-American work that comprises and shapes literary animal studies and its related disciplinary categorizations like critical animal studies and human-animal studies. This panel invites papers that explore these theoretical and methodological convergences and departures, particularly paying attention to the narrative and linguistic strategies that literatures of the global south draw on in representing alterity and relationality in shared multispecies worlds that grapple with context-specific material, political, and ethical concerns. We are interested in exploring comparative, cross-linguistic, and cross-cultural perspectives on human-animal relationships and their multidimensional entanglements with shared environments in postcolonial contexts. We pay particular attention to the theories and techniques of postcolonial studies that might be instrumentalized and/or reformulated to talk about multispecies lived realities. From a broader disciplinary perspective, we also invite papers that explore the possibilities and limitations of postcolonial literary analysis as a method in human-animal studies: either on its own, or as part of an interdisciplinary approach. 

How do interspecies intimacies thrive in vulnerable landscapes and volatile political conditions? How are interspecies hierarchies dismantled or reified in the contexts of postcolonial violence? What are the formal and aesthetic methods that postcolonial authors use to talk about animals, animalities, and multispecies interdependence? How do interspecies relationships address questions of climate crisis, nationalism, religion, political violence, capital, and industrial modernization? These are some of the questions (but, by no means, the only ones) that this seminar seeks to explore by focusing on postcolonial/global south literary texts as primary objects of analysis.