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Accepted Paper:

Becoming with Dogs; When Race and Species Meet: Race, Kinship and Discourses of Otherness in Dog-Human Relations in South Africa  
Catherine Rudolph (Utrecht University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will illustrate how pet dogs in South Africa are part of upholding gendered racial relations, through spatial, affective and bio-political bondings and separations. In view of this, it considers the possibilities and limits of refiguring these relations.

Paper long abstract:

Understanding the ways in which the nonhuman is folded into oppressive systems is necessary in pursuing justice for both humans and nonhuman animals. I illustrate how suburban dogs become part of a racialized species kinship, in which they are humanized and cast as white people’s companions, while protecting private property and white bodies. In the logic of this kinship, dogs are figured in ongoing discursive iterations of the human Self and the animalized-racialized Other, where the value of life is defined by proximity to whiteness. Dogs also function in material systems of oppression, as part of the organization of white spaces as inhospitable to black bodies, including the hypervisibilising of white female bodies as objects of protection and racialization of black men as threatening. These processes of bonding and separation, are not only bio-political, but also affective. This mandates an attentiveness to the chains of affect in the network of interactions between humans, and humans and animals, while also acknowledging the reality of gendered and racial vulnerability. Exploring the intersections and dissonances between critical animal studies and critical reflections on race, the paper will ultimately consider if it is possible to imagine different forms of relation and thus different spatial and discursive landscapes. In this, the researcher's positionality poses limitations and ethical questions in proposing the symbolic and material possibility of dog-human relations in undermining oppressive systems of power. Considering these questions is necessary when reimagining a future for our multi-species world.

Panel P07
Anthropocene and the Global South. Decolonizing knowledge through spatial imaginaries and the everyday
  Session 1 Friday 30 June, 2023, -