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Writing Between "the Human" and "the Animal" in Contemporary North American Literature

Director of thesis Prof. Deborah L. Madsen
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis

This thesis is located within the field of postmodern and critical animal studies, focusing on the theories in Haraway's “A Cyborg Manifesto,” in Derrida’s The Animal That Therefore I Am, and in Deleuze and Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus. These theories comprise a significant basis of the theoretical framework of critical animal studies, leading to questions not only on the placement of the nonhuman (animal) in an anthropocentric society but on the very idea of species differentiation: what it is to be “human” or “animal,” “humane” or “bestial.”


Considering these theories, this thesis will study the entanglement and blurring of the human, nonhuman (animal), and posthuman in contemporary North American literature, analyzing the literary techniques and innovations in narrative voice and figurative language which force a reconsideration of the “defining” qualities of species differentiation, such as language, emotivity, and morality. The indicative corpus will focus specifically on genetically-modified human-animal hybrids in posthuman literature, mythical human-animal figures in contemporary Native American/First Nations literature, and human-animal heroes and “freaks” in fantasy literature. The project will use these genres as a textual framework from which to study the shared topics of transformation, survival and adaptation, normativity, as well as Western ontologies and epistemologies.


Status on-going
Administrative delay for the defence
URL http://unige.academia.edu/BrynSkiboBirney
LinkedIn http://ch.linkedin.com/in/brynskibo/
Twitter @bskibobirney