Accepted Paper:

Jungle backyards: a postnatural history of US Tigers  


David Jaclin (University of Ottawa)

Paper short abstract:

This paper questions the communicational processes that inform and affect the plasticity of animal existences. By taking the example of US Tigers, it readresses some critical biodiversity issues.

Paper long abstract:

Because there is a dramatic decrease in the number of tigers in the world today (from 100 000 in 1900 to less than 20 000 in 2005), considerable efforts are made in order to save and protect this species (i.e. as pre-defined members of a category). But a problem lies in the definition of species itself. How does our idea of a tiger hold up when a majority of actual tigers now live in captivity? Is a tiger still a tiger if it remains caged, eats meat from the supermarket and reproduces only when allowed to? Thinking restrictively in terms of species may lead the debate on conservationism (and the organisms concerned by it) to a dead end. What to make of the variations and transformations experienced by individuals of a same phylogenetic category?

A postantural history of US tigers suggest taking into account the diversity of situations where known living organisms experience unknown (re)organizations of life. Here, nature and culture overlap. Hybridized, they modulate biologies and mythologies, articulating physicality and discursivity, behaviours and policies. In that respect, examples taken from contemporean "humanimal" case studies could shed a new light on adaptation processes, plasticity and (new) ways organisms express not only life, but vitality.

Panel W052
Threats on biodiversity: species extinction and sentinel technologies