Ethics, Animality and Ahuman Theory

Ethics, Animality and Ahuman Theory

Patricia MacCormack (English, Communication, Film and Media, Anglia Ruskin University)
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

This talk seeks to radically alter trajectories by which the term ‘animal’ is understood, both in nonhuman and human incarnations. It is founded on the urgent ethical imperative to think animality differently and beyond humanism in order to project ecosophical futures. It is premised on two key themes: an absolute critique and repudiation of speciesist discourse, and a desire to liberate subjectivity from human discourse and subjectification. The paper asks: what can the human be as its own animal, at once no longer fetishising non-human animals, and also giving up the majoritarian species category human toward ahuman theory — an ethics of absolute alterity? What takes us from human systems of thought, acknowledging ourselves as lives without the intervention of excluding and oppressive human discourse? The catalysts for this are limitless. Some examples could be found in certain forms of art encounters, libidinal events, abstraction, literary and filmic experiences, political activism, transgressive practices, ecosophical and chaosmotic becomings, any examples which take us to the outside. Ultimately the question of care toward material alterity, ethics and care is: “what makes possible our thinking beyond thought within a human episteme?” This question is one which must be addressed in order to truly liberate all organic bodies from oppression toward freedom of expressivity and becomings.

Patricia MacCormack’s  principal research interests are in continental philosophy, particularly the works of Deleuze, Guattari, Irigaray, Foucault, Bataille, Serres, Lyotard and Blanchot and she has published extensively in these areas. She has also written on a diverse range of issues such as body modification, performance art, monster theory and European horror film.

Sponsored by the IHC’s The Value of Care series and the Leverhulme Trust.

Click here to listen to a recording of Patricia MacCormack’s talk for the IHC’s Value of Care series.