Those nonhuman beings called "animals" pose philosophical and ethical questions that go to the root not just of what we think but of who we are. Their presence asks: what happens when "the other" can no longer safely be assumed to be human? This collection offers a set of incitements and coordinates for exploring how these issues have been represented in contemporary culture and theory, from Jurassic Park and the "horse whisperer" Monty Roberts, to the work of artists such as Joseph Beuys and William Wegman; from foundational texts on the animal in the works of Heidegger and Freud, to the postmodern rethinking of ethics and animals in figures such as Singer, Deleuze, Lyotard, and Levinas; from the New York Times investigation of a North Carolina slaughterhouse, to the first appearance in any language of Jacques Derrida's recent detailed critique of Lacan's rendering of the human/animal divide.
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Cary Wolfe is chair and the Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor in the Department of English at Rice University. His books include What Is Posthumanism?
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