Unnatural selection and the making of nonhuman animals

Rebecca Marsland (University of Edinburgh)
Chrissie Wanner (University of Edinburgh)
Matei Candea (University of Cambridge)
Room 7
Start time:
16 April, 2015 at 9:15
Session slots:

Short abstract:

What effects do our concepts of racial purity and contagion have on other species? In this panel we seek to explore how the lifeworlds of nonhuman animals are shaped by practices of exclusion and inclusion, such as breeding, immigration regulations, and contagion.

Long abstract:

What effects can our concepts of race, classification, and taxonomy have on other species? Animal studies in anthropology have convincingly demonstrated that both the hierarchies inherent in racial classification and the distinctions we draw between humans and non-humans seep into the ways in which we imagine human Others. But how do these concepts affect non-human Others? Other species may not be aware of, or able to reflect on, the categories we impose on them, but racialised thinking still shapes their worlds. For example, how are concepts of race and ethnicity incorporated into breeding practices, and how do they affect the physiology, biology, and well-being of other creatures? Are the movements of different species restricted by the same fears and regulations which surround immigration? How do seemingly 'natural' boundaries between different species shape the ways in which we imagine the spread of disease and contagion? In this panel we seek to explore an ethics of co-existence which is shaped by practices of sorting and selection in multi-species communities.