Fellow's Forum: Disanimality: When Disability, Illness, and Animality Meet
If you are supportive of disability advocacy, should you also be vegan? Should your thoughts on euthanizing a pet be consistent with how you might think about humans in search of assisted suicide? Scholars in disability studies have recently called for greater engagement with animal studies as a field. But complicated questions remain. Disability activists have long been fighting to reclaim the humanity of disabled people, for example, who have historically been constructed in ableist terms as somehow less than human. Should disability and animal activism therefore be linked together? Comparing nonhuman animals to people with terminal illnesses and disabilities is inevitably offensive for some, while others might wonder why there shouldn’t be more solidarity between these movements. The purpose of this talk is to unpack the discomfort these questions can produce, while also suggesting better ways of bringing together disability, illness, and animality, primarily by focusing on the concept of disanimality. Engaging related fields such as posthumanism, biopolitics, animality and illness studies, the larger book project from which this talk is derived explores disanimality through a wide range of contemporary U.S. novels, films, and memoirs. Key examples for this talk will include Don LePan’s dystopian and controversial novel Animals, in which people with disabilities are literally bred and raised for food like animals on factory farms, and Mark Doty’s memoir Dog Years, in which euthanizing companion animals raises questions about the bioethics of assisted dying for humans with terminal illnesses and disabilities.
Date: 29 May 2024, 12:30 (Wednesday, 6th week, Trinity 2024)
Venue: Rothermere American Institute, 1A South Parks Road OX1 3UB
Venue Details: Main Seminar Room
Speaker: Dr Michael Lundblad (University of Oslo)
Organising department: Rothermere American Institute
Organiser contact email address: events@rai.ox.ac.uk
Host: Prof. Lloyd Pratt (University of Oxford)
Booking required?: Not required
Booking url: https://www.rai.ox.ac.uk/event/disanimality-when-disability-illness-and-animality-meet
Booking email: events@rai.ox.ac.uk
Audience: Public
Editor: Hannah Greiving