International Academic Conference
Animals and Their People.
The Fall of the Anthropocentric Paradigm?
Conference partners are:
Le Centre de civilisation française et d’études francophones (CCFEF) de l’Universit&...
International Academic Conference
Animals and Their People.
The Fall of the Anthropocentric Paradigm?
Conference partners are:
Le Centre de civilisation française et d’études francophones (CCFEF) de l’Universit&...
During the third day of the conference will be held an optional excursion to the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture in Oronsko to visit the exhibition:
Museum of Contemporary Sculpture, Centre of Polish Sculpture in Oronsko
8th March – 15th June 201...
AXER Jerzy, MARCINIAK Katarzyna - Mowgli in Each of Us. Animals as Our Guides There and Back Again
Children’s literature is one of the spheres of our culture most populated by animals. Among the wealth of various texts we find tales whose protagonists are solely animals (e.g., animal fable, animal fantasy), accounts about human children brought up by animals (feral child), and “mixed” stories, in which humans and animals enter into multifarious interactions (e.g., pet story, talking animals, real animals, mythical creatures). According to traditional interpretations, these literary animals are stand-ins for children or specific human models. Ascribed to differing degrees of anthropomorphization they are intended to be children’s teachers in the aim of preparing their pupils for life in human society. They are treated as didactic tools – attractive because of the “natural love” children are meant to feel toward animals. However, as soon as the young readers are inducted into human civilization, their bond with animals is expected to be broken. In our presentation we will consider another approach to children’s literature. Namely, the recent changes in the attitude of humans to animals permit us to access a new interpretative layer in the texts. Literary animals may be perceived as guides helping children to mature in order to build an ideal world for all creatures. Looking for the origins of such a utopian construction, we will reflect on whether it is possible to maintain or re-establish the bond between humans and animals in adulthood, how to do so, and at what cost.
BABILAS Dorota - A Dog’s Life of Queen Victoria: Canine Companions in Victorian Britain
The Victorian era has developed new evaluations of animals, and the biography of its eponymous monarch offers many examples of more humane, sentimental, and often anthropomorphising attitudes towards man’s canine companions. Since her early youth, Victoria took interest in animal protection, e.g. shortly after her coronation she granted the prefix Royal to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals founded in 1824. Pictorial and photographic portraits of the Queen frequently show her in the company of animals, especially dogs and horses. Usually the images are given a symbolic meaning, commenting on the emergent bourgeois morality that the monarch herself favoured.
Victorian art elaborates on the ideas of William Hogarth, who in the 18th century emphasised the importance of humanitarian treatment of animals as a training of proper relations towards fellow people. Nineteenth-century painters, such as Edwin Landseer, Briton Riviere or Charles Burton Barber glorified the intelligence and loyalty of dogs, portraying their virtues as surpassing those of humans. Despite certain hypersensitivity, which may appear ridiculous today, Victorian „dog portraits” are an important example allowing better understanding of modern, highly commercialised, pet culture.
BAKER Steve - How do we speak about art about animals?
“De l’animal peut-on parler?,” Jacques Derrida famously asked in relation to philosophy’s tendency to overlook nonhuman animals, and to have little idea of how to speak about their relation to humans in meaningful terms. The art of the past few decades has engaged with animal imagery and with ideas about animals in more serious, more adventurous and more contentious ways than ever before, but there is little agreement about how these artworks can or should be discussed and assessed – especially in those cases where they incorporate actual animals, living or dead. Drawing on a range of contemporary examples, including a few of the pieces on show in the Ecce Animalia exhibition in Orońsko, this talk will consider the distinctive “voice” of the artist and will aim to offer insight into animal imagery that might otherwise sometimes seem wilfully controversial or obscure. The focus will be on artists who engage directly with questions of animal life, but whether or not they regard themselves as animal advocates, the distinctive manner in which they look at animals (and more perplexingly, overlook them too) must be articulated with some care. Conventional distinctions (human versus animal; ethics versus aesthetics) have no useful place here. Instead, to borrow Foucault’s words from a slightly different context, what these artists can sometimes offer are images, experiences and structures “within which we both recognize and lose ourselves.”
BAKKE Monika - Animals Beneath the Surface. Revisiting the Relations Between Humans and Aquatic Animals
The aquatic environment covering more than seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is still mostly unknown. In the last decade, we have gained a better understanding of water-dwelling animals, including those in the deep-sea, due to scientific exploration employing the most advanced technologies. Yet, while learning that marine animals influence the Earth’s climate and that invertebrates such as octopus have conscious awareness, we have allowed the great Pacific garbage patch to grow and watched geo-engineering projects such as ocean fertilization develop. Meanwhile, conservation projects consider wild aquatic animals part of a marine heritage closely linked with the concept of human custodianship, rather than in terms of belonging and symbiosis.
In my talk, I will discuss how the new body of scientific knowledge about aquatic animals and related digital media productions, which often combine entertainment and education (photography, IMAX and TV productions), as well as art projects and citizen science projects, have been influencing our position vis-à-vis water-dwelling animals, including those inhabiting places recognized as the Earth’s most remote and extreme habitats. I will ask if recent scientific findings and contemporary representations of underwater environments can actually challenge anthropocentric attitudes towards animals.
BARCZ Anna - Human and Animal Portaits, or the Issue of Similarity After Darwin
The hypothesis I would like to propose is based on that: a psychological impression is insufficient to explain why there is some similarity between humans and animals. It is not a direct relation like similarity commonly given as an example: between parents and children. Though, a source generating this aesthetic illusion, however, very real-istically, must be located somewhere else. First, I associate it in the pre-evolutionary materials: in physiognomy developed especially in the 18th century and somehow anticipating Darwin's main assumptions in “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals". Then, I analyse how Darwin was perceived and aesthetically popularised, and how the notion of similarity between humans and animals was reconstructed by Darwin's input, leaving some consequences like animal anthropomorphisation.
BRAULIŃSKA Kamila - "What does that mean, ‘tame’? (...) It means to establish ties (...) If you want a friend, tame me...” Dogs of ancient Egyptians.
Ancient Egyptians tamed wild animals, but did they establish special ties with them?
There are few examples, compared to the number of species with their representatives tamed. Presumably the “hundred thousand foxes” were too numerous. However, one was unique and made a huge step towards the humankind. It became domestic in every sense and eabled man to establish the bond with itself. Supposedly it occured in ancient Egypt as well. One can deliberate whether dog was considered a friend, however it is without a doubt that it had a special place in Egyptians’ reality. Dog helped and, noteworthy, accompanied. Some archaeological finds evidence the relation between a man and his dog (or perhaps the dog and his man) as “unique in all the world”. Egyptian iconography draws the positive attitude towards a dog, contrary to written sources that fluctuate between e.g. granting it a
determinative role in the storyline and an ordinary despise. The contemporary apprehension of a dog in Egypt is more complicated then it was in antiquity. Observing it, one could contemplate who should tame whom nowadays.
CYNKIER Maria Anna - Animal biotechnology and its dangers presented in the artworks of Patricia Piccinini
The question of biotechnology in animals has been widely discussed from the ethical perspective. The presentation addresses the issue of speciesism and its variations nowadays with special focus on its possible dangers to both human and animal species shown in the works of an Australian artist – Patricia Piccinini.
The presentation examines currently vanishing border between humans and animals. The pictures present in the artworks of Piccinini and her viewpoint presented will be juxtaposed with the arguments of the animal organ-transplantation supporters in order to reveal the possible outcome of experimenting with human and animal genomes shown in her sculptures.
Furthermore, the presentation aims to assess the dangers for biodiversity coming from the xenotransplantations. While the natural course of evolution is disturbed by the human intervention, it carries the risks which are being exposed in the sculptures of Piccinini. With the course of technology development, according to Piccinini, the scientists are in danger of confusing creation with control.
The presentation will include the samples of works by Patricia Piccinini from 2000 to 2013, which would shed new light on the artists’ involvement in the animal studies and the fight for biodiversity. The issue of xenotransplantations will be examined on the basis of the art pieces.
CZAPLIŃSKI Przemysław - Biocriticism - integrative ideas
DĄBROWSKA Magdalena - Deep play? Purebred dog shows in Poland
Ethnographic study of purebred dog shows in Poland reveals special kind of relations between dogs and their people. I argue that purebred dog shows have elements of “deep play” (Geertz 1973). In some cases financial and emotional engagement in showing a dog go far beyond potential gains. I claim that in most of the cases participation in the dog shows is rather innocent practice and does not harm either to dogs nor to people who participate in this. However, when “deep play” is considered, fierce fight for social status may have negative impact on animals. Social hierarchies created by dog's show successes create local, heterogenic structures of status and are prone to changes and falsifications. Dog are are treated as means to ultimate aim of winning, and thus it may have impact on their welfare. When breeding dogs for show rings breeders often apply close imbreeding and sometimes prefer exaggerated features of anatomy which may have impact on dogs welfare and wellbeing. In some breeds, keeping dog's coat in “show condition” may limit his or her ability to move.
The paper is based on ethnographic methods (participant observation, interviews) and provides “thick description” (Geertz 1973a) of purebred dog shows in Poland.
DELL'AVERSANO Carmen - Analyzing Categories: Harvey Sacks and Critical Animal Studies
My work in critical animal studies hinges on the possibility to extend and generalize queer theory to a radical questioning of the human-animal binary. In the Sixties, while he was laying the groundwork for what would eventually become conversation analysis, Harvey Sacks devoted a large share of his analytical acumen and of his theoretical creativity to the study of the social use of linguistic categorizations and to the issue of normalcy, defined not as a trait but as an activity, as “work”, exactly paralleling, almost twenty years in advance, the denaturalization Butler would accomplish through the fortunate term “performance”.
Over the last few years I have realized that Sacks's work is momentously relevant both to queer theory in general and to my own approach to critical animal studies. The purpose of this paper is to show how a number of concepts and tools from Sacks's Lectures on Conversation can illuminate the foundations of the relationship between humans and nonhumans, and show the role that mastery of other species, speciesism, and the exploitation of animals for food play in building and strengthening the cohesion of human societies and the coherence of human cultures. I will concentrate on four key concepts: "category-bound activity", "boundary category" "accountable action and "doing being ordinary", and explore their application to a number of attitudes, convictions, rationalizations and behaviours which shape the daily relationships of our species with other sentient beings.
DZWONKOWSKA Dominika - Cultural and ethical implications of human-animal relation
When in 1972 Thomas Taylor Publisher a sarcastic essay A vindication of the Rights of Brutes he couldn’t have predict that two centuries later the animal rights would be subject of scientific research and many people would consider animals as sentient beings, that should not be a subject of suffering. The shift in perception of animals has been enforced in recent years giving new type of human-animal relationship. Does it mean a dawn of anthropocentric paradigm and shift to new paradigm with animals included? Undoubtedly it is a sign of furthering moral consideranda and noticing moral obligations towards non-human others.
The shift in perception of animals is a part of shift in perception of nature and natural environment, and as such is an interesting field of research for philosophy. The aim of the speech is presentation of chosen philosophical concepts, that influenced on a shift in the perception of nature. The crucial element of the discourse is the transformation of wild nature into domesticated, tamed nature that has lost its natural characteristics and has became a part of culture. Does it mean the dawn of anthropocentrism of is it rather the further expansion of anthropocentric paradigm?
FABISIŃSKA Liliana - Stupid pigs, a vulpine fox: animal figures in children's literature of the 21st century
Animals have been present in fables and fairy tales for centuries – Aesop told stories about them in ancient times, La Fontaine two thousand years later. Classic fables, as those written by H. Ch. Andersen or the Brothers Grimm, show children an entire gallery of animal characters personifying different human traits. As a result, children from all over the world will tell you without any hesitation that a wolf is bad, a pig stupid, a goat simple-minded and a sheep gentle.
We can examine recent Polish literature, to see that animal characters are not always styled according to classic models – maybe we can find some “twisted” tales, for instance with shy wolves? We have already seen “equality”, “gender” or “feministic” fables, but perhaps we can discover also “vegetarian” tales, or stories trying to teach us some respect for the animals. I’d like to discuss these topics in my presentation and show some examples of good things happening in modern children’s literature (and some bizarre things as well). I will also discuss several works of world literature and compare them with recent Polish books. Finally, giving voice to psychologists and educators, I will try to find out how the way the animals are presented in literature influences the emotional development of children and their attitude towards animals.
This short lecture will be accompanied by a presentation of illustrations for children’s books about animals.
FILIPOWICZ Anna - Species (co)existences, species (co)evolution. Neo-Darwinism in the works of Anna Świrszczyńska and Anna Nasiłowska.
In posthuman visions of man, referring to Darwin's theory of evolution (Grosz , Hird), the possibility of appointing any ontological boundary between humans and animals are questioned. The concept of separating the two entities impassable difference replaces the belief in existence of a common for all species, biological and cultural, potential, non-identical only in degree. Thus, according to neo-Darwinians, the human and non-human existence are combined together not only through the similarity of bodily practices, but also through the convergence of emotional, rational and even ethical and aesthetic behavior, which previously has been attributed only to homo sapiens. Sometimes their form depends on the co-evolution of species, on its exposure to other influences.
A similar representation of human-animal continuity can be found in works of Świrszczyńska (poetic cycle: Matka i córka) and Nasiłowska (Księga początku). Opportunity to verify the anthropocentric bias becomes an experience of care for offspring shared with animals. Discovering itself in a relationship with a female child, female subject exceeds both oppression phallocentric constitution and the traditional paradigm, which links femininity with nature (negative as well as affirmative). The post-dependence direction of both works founds it unexpected complement in biology and evolutionary psychology. Identified in this way, the convergence of human and non-human motherhood (parenthood), allows to open human life as a process of continuous exchange of forms, visible for centuries, especially between species cohabitated alongside each other (human, dog, cat). It opens for a definitely fuller life, more unpredictable and astonished us in many ways. As then, when under the influence of the forces of nature, it conditioning the entire existence, the area of culture, as a field of biological survival, formed during evolution.
FISTER-STOGA Frances - In the Killing Fields: Notes on Animal Death in Film and Literary Texts
This brief survey will discuss how the killing of animals is positioned in several literary texts and films and how these depictions function both inside and outside the respective works. Parkman’s The Oregon Trail sets out the slaying of buffalo not only as a call to investors and adventurers, but also as a rationale for the culling of herds for the construction of the trans-continental railroad. Other authors have portrayed animal slaughter as a turning point in personal beliefs. John Woolman’s Journal candidly recounts how the killing of a an innocent creature leads him to feel empathy towards all creation.( Woolman later became one of the first advocates against slavery.) Centuries later, Bashevis Singer echoes Woolman’s epiphany in The Penitent (בעל תשובה). In one of the most prominent Victorian novels, Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy parallels the slaughter of farm animals with the descent of the protagonist to a life of brutality---all in a non-anthropomorphic fashion. In the chief anti-Jewish film of the National Socialist period, “Der Ewige Jude”, the quasi-documentary scene of ritual slaughter (the longest section of the film) is used to marginalize and sterotype The Other. The contemporary cinematic work “Fast Food Nation”underlines how the meat packing industry includes not only inhuman butchering, but how this action has ramifications in immigrant exploitation, destruction of the environment and human relationships. The presentation will examine two early “ecological” texts: Bartram’s “Alligators” (Travels) and Jewett’s “A White Heron.” These masterpieces portray animals as part of a natural balance and prefer to substitute human interference and animal death with observation. The presentation will conclude with Charotte’s Web, a children’s classic in which the avoidance of animal slaughter allows the reader to understand in depth the natural cycle of life. This survey will examine primary texts and include film highlights.
FORKASIEWICZ Kris - In Defense of the Unknown: Bodying the World at the Limits of Intellection.
The animal body has become the order of the day in much of recent continental philosophy, cognitive science, and various related disciplines. Conceptualizing and reconceptualizing animal bodies, researchers have rushed in to develop and utilize powerful theoretical and experimental instruments to unlock the secrets of newly rediscovered and appraised corporeality. Bodies of all shapes and sizes, but notably those of the homo sapiens, are variously interrogated, analyzed, and objectified: made, remade, and forced, if need be, to become both the basis and the object of knowledge par excellence. However, there is, it turns out, a fine line between appraisal and bondage.
This paper attempts to elaborate the basics of what can alternately be called corporal agnosticism and negative somatology. The antifoundationalist theory I try to elaborate, drawing on the likes of Adorno, Dewey, and Nietzsche, is employed to indicate and operate at the limits of the concept as such, what Adorno termed "identity principle" in his Negative Dialectics. It thus aims to demonstrate the indispensability of freedom as the guarantor of the animal body's freeflowing, lived reality. This, I argue, necessarily includes freedom from being colonized by knowledge, the other side of which, Foucault teaches, is power. This freedom, then, is constituted by securing a sphere of autonomy for the corporeal and animal vis-à-vis the concept. Negative dialectics, I explain in the paper, is a dynamic grasp of a fluid reality, and could be deemed non-dominating thought in that it does not rest or, in other words, freeze, on a stable basis. But what does it mean to truly ground that thought in the living, sentient body as the organic activity of thinking? Doesn't the non-identity of thinker and the thought, the impossibility of representing without objectifying (albeit for an instant), preclude the possibility of thinking body as body, both in philosophy and in science? I look for the answers to these questions.
I conclude by delving into the possibility of the animal body's discovering itself beyond thought, through its own concrete, worldly activity, and wonder where thinking might properly factor into that activity. It is here that Dewey's pragmatism (instrumentalism) comes into play. The animal body figures here akin to water, indeterminate and elusive: you grab at it, and it sifts through your fingers. You let it be itself, and you practice a sort of zoopoiesis. Corporal agnosticism (negative somatology) is, in a sense, an antitheory in that it attempts to save the body from overt theoretical encroachment, thereby restoring for it a space unrestricted, and yet presupposed, by all thinking.
GARYCKA-BALMITGERE Anna - The presence of animals in the Polish accounts on Africa in the 20th century
GRĄDZ Krystian - The Animot and the Human Discourse: An Open Language
The paper aims at scrutinizing and juxtaposing the phenomenon of language as an expression of attitude towards the world both in animals and humans. Engaging such scholars as Jacques Derrida, Emile Benveniste, Walter Benjamin, and Giorgio Agamben, the author endeavors to trace the differences between human language, which is always already discourse, and the animal 'language' that is characterized by 'openness' - to use Agamben's parlance - and unobstructedness.
GZYRA Dariusz - Sentiency and Regan's theory of animal rights
For many, the rights view created by Tom Regan is the most complete rights-based philosophical position regarding the ethics of the relations between human and nonhuman animals. One of its distinguishing features is a concept created by Tom Regan called the subject-of-a-life. It specifies the characteristics required of individuals who may be referred to as having moral rights. The set of such characteristics making up subjects of a life and giving them a moral status has given rise to a considerable number of comments, including very critical ones. Critics say that the characteristics not only demand too much - by requiring more than sentiency - but they also make a value judgment by being similar to human characteristics. The concept of sentiency does not have one, strictly defined meaning. It is referred to by a number of ethical theories concerning nonhuman animals, also nondeontological theories such as the preference utilitarianism of Peter Singer. In my paper, I will discuss Regan's attitude to sentiency and its place in his theory of animal rights
HURLEY Scott - The Dog Fancy: A Site for the Intersection of Ableist, Healthist, and Speciesist Ideologies
Using my personal observations of dog shows, American Kennel Club breed standards, and literature about how to show and breed dogs as my primary source material, I argue in this paper that the “dog fancy” (the promotion, breeding, and showing of dogs) contributes to capitalist agendas which permit the manipulation, modification, and destruction of human and nonhuman animal bodies for financial gain, reifies social and cultural constructions of normalcy (defined as able-bodied, beautiful, and healthy) for both humans and canines, and perpetuates views that marginalize groups of human and nonhuman animals on the basis of their body shape and type as well as their abilities to successfully perform certain mental and physical tasks. In doing so, I demonstrate how the exploitation of canines parallels that experienced by people with disabilities or illness. Employing the concepts of eco-ability explicated in Earth, Animal, and Disability Liberation (2012) and Harlan Weaver’s “becoming in kind,” I explain the ways that relationships between humans and canines in the dog show world provide the conditions for specific experiences of health, species, and ability that reinforce hierarchical ideologies. Finally, I discuss how the category of “junk dog” is created in juxtaposition to that of “show dog” and argue that humans, living vicariously through dogs, inscribe anthropocentric notions of beauty and able-bodiedness on canine bodies resulting in such deleterious practices as inbreeding and cosmetic alterations.
JAKUBOWIAK Katarzyna - Domesticated or feral? Attempt to analize status of a dog in the human world.
In my paper, I will focus on the presentation of an ambivalent status of a dog in the human world, with particular emphasis on three topics: the common space occupied by both species (and thevariable hierarchy outlined within it); the issue of power relations, ownership and subordination; and, the consequence of those two, the problem of the border - how to mark and cross it- between man and animal. The ambiguity of the position occupied by this species is derived from two contradictory assumptions relating to the character, nature or the manner of presence of dogs in an anthropocentric horizon of imagination. According to the first of them the dog was domesticated by man, and in consequence of this process we can talk about spatial, psychological and physical proximity of both species, which, by convention, let us call a dog a friend of man. On the other side, the contradictory position emphasizes adherence of this species to the world of animals, not humans, which is governed by different, natural (as opposed to cultural) rights.
In the first of these areas the subject of discussion will be the issue of a common space - created by man, but inhabited by him along with the dogs – and in particular the situation in which domesticated animals return to their wildness, thereby annexing the space and displacing the people. Such feral dogs are described by Jean Rolin in his excellent reportage, but also a book
"The Dogs of Üsküdar", which is both photographic and literary work.
Secondly, I am interested in situations in which the status of the dog as a pet, a family member, a friend, is a status characterized by ambivalence, which gives opportunity to ask questions about crossing of the human/non-human border (by establishing friendship, trying to understand the differences and mutual, daily devotion), on the other hand, pointing to the favoring individualization of a particular animal, reveals the mechanisms of power and obedience, and anthropocentric criteria governing the relationship between man and dog. Good example of that situation gives “My dog Tulip” by J.R. Ackerley.
Finally, I'm interested in the question of the status of a dog as one who accompanies man, living with him in the spatial, physical and emotional intimacy. A dog, as the one who combines human with animal, is the faithful companion of man, regardless of changing circumstances. Like in the “The Possibility of an Island” by M. Houellebecq, the story about neohumans, who are still in mutualistic relationships with dogs, as the only species of animals (including other humans and neohumans), with whom they are in physical and psychological closeness.
JANKOWSKA Małgorzata - Used, sentimentalised, glorified? - artists and their animals at Ars Electronica
The author will attempt to trace the artistic and research projects involving animals awarded and distinguished at the Ars Electronica Festival. Focusing on artistic and ethical issues, the author will pose questions about the role of animals in contemporary art, including the manner in which they function in gallery space.
Awarded and exhibited works featuring animals by Ken Rinaldo, Art Orienté Objet, Agnes Meyer-Brandis or Koen Vanmechelen present various aspects of artistic choices and problems explored, from discovering the truth about animals, attempts to establish a relationship, to assigning them entirely new roles. However, it is associated with certain danger, lurking between what J. Baudrillard saw as man's desire to annihilate the animalism in animals "along with their ambiguity principle", and what Gary L. Francione emphasises in his claim that animals (like people) are not objects, and that they cannot be goods owned by anyone, which translates to "the prohibition of using them for the purposes of others" (Probucka:2013). Thus, much as the projects of the above mentioned artists are very intriguing and – worse still – spectacular, they also reveal certain "cracks" and innuendos which give rise to questions regarding the nature of the projects, and in particular the place of animals in them (or rather the place they have been assigned by artists). Another important issue is how animals "may" function in the gallery and exhibition space, and how they actually do. The authors of Rethinking Curating. Art after New Media, Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook (2010) do not mention this problem, whereas organisation and taking care of animals during exhibitions, as well as their life "after" the exhibition, require knowledge, experience and empathy far transgressing previous curatorial and exhibitory practices, or relations that men established so far in art between each other, or between themselves and objects.
The question of animals becoming a "medium" in the sphere of art, an art object or the target of man's exploration and the means of solving his problems remains open... .
JAROSZUK Anna - Historical perspective of the animal studies - theory and practice
JARZYNA Anita - Heresies: regaining sensitivity (Tadeusz Nowak, Jerzy Nowosielski)
The starting point of my report is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, binding since 1994 and signed by John Paul II. It says: “One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons”. In 1996 the same pope, in his statement concerning the evolution, absolutely distinguishes the man and the “animate matter”. On this background, the coherent and definitely non-orthodox views of Jerzy Nowosielski being the key for my speech, appear to be expressive. The artist considered the asymmetric nature of the relations between humans and animals as a kind of a necessary, inevitable sin, a scandal that cannot be avoided, evidence for the imperfection of the world. A similarly complex vision of the human’s approach towards animals appears in the poetry of Tadeusz Nowak (1930-1991). Among others, he questions the consent for killing animals, sacred by the Bible and folk tradition, but simultaneously he does not believe it to get abolished. To a large extent, this clinch constitutes his creative imagination.
Both of them, the poet and the artist-thinker, were not declared animal rights defenders. By placing a situation of an animal in the world of human, arranging it with their own metaphysical intuitions, they crafted languages which infringed the hierarchical order imposed by Christian religions, redefined the cultural matrixes of sensitivity, but neither absolved the acts of human’s violence on animals nor created utopian visions of harmonious relations between the species. In my speech I am going to show in a broader perspective that in the output of Nowak occurs a peculiarly symptomatic for the poetry of the 20th century – considering the entire diversity of its languages – act of heretic copying of the relations between humans and animals.
JEŚMAN Joanna - Do Not Silence Bacteria. The Works by Anna Dumitriu in Context of Interspecies Communication
In the era of omnipresent sterilization bacteria are presented as the invisible evil. Even though the times of plague, smallpox and tuberculosis are over and viruses are definitely
a bigger challenge for medicine the secrete memory of killer bacteria still resides in human minds. It is estimated that only 1% of bacteria can be harmful, the others are symbionts and without them no living organism would be able to exist. Even though they are invisible, bacteria are the foundation of the earthly ecosystem. At the beginning of the XXI century microbiologists discovered that bacteria communicate with each other also outside of their strain.
Anna Dumitriu who is a bioartist fascinated by the diversity of bacterial flora has used different strains of bacteria in her works, “the good” and the most dangerous. Her projects not only blear the boundaries between art and science but also touch upon such important issues as ethical implications of biotechnologies, interspecies communication as well as gender.
Even though bacteria are not animals in the strict definition of the word the purpose of my presentation is to show wider methodological possibilities of animal studies in context of all relations among living organisms.
JUST Amadeusz - Schopenhauer on animals and (corporal) compassion
Schopenhauer’s modification of Kant’s epistemology allowed him to narrow the distance between humans and animals, and to grant the latter with the intellect. What follows, the faculty of cognition of causation is for them a priori, as in humans. The thought was then so original that Schopenhauer has ironically commented it by saying: “The Intellect of vertebrates will question only those who don’t have it by themselves”. However, it is not the changes in epistemology introduced by him that strikes the most. Schopenhauer’s method – which Rüdiger Safranski will later call the hermeneutics of experience – allows him to become a ruthless critique of his times. When vivisections, baiting dogs, and exhaustion of harnessed horses occurred on a daily basis, Schopenhauer appealed for the establishment of animal welfare organisations. The main aim of his attack became both: Cartesian-Leibnizian-Wolffs’ philosophy which with the concept of anima rationalis introduced the principle of an absolute difference between man and animal; and the anthropocentric morality which allowed cruelty towards animals. Schopenhauer was the first to create a complete ethical system which, due to its nonreciprocal tendencies, enabled to encompass non-human animals as “moral beneficiaries”. The basis for that morality is compassion (Mitleid) towards the humans as well as for the animals from the same source, as it is explained in Schopenhauer’s metaphysics of the Will.
In my talk I will look at Schopenhauer’s philosophy in which each living being constitutes the centre of the world, and from the metaphysical point of view, they all are One, as an possible anticipation of posthuman non-anthropocentric thought. I intend to show briefly the place of an animal in Schopenhauer’s philosophical system, and I will try to examine the images from the margins of his theory which refer to something that was perhaps at that time unspeakable.
KANTNER Katarzyna - The Interspecific Transgressions of Olga Tokarczuk
On the contemporary Polish literary stage Olga Tokarczuk is probably a writer, who speaks about complicated relations between human and the other species in the most direct way. She inverts the hierarchies, crosses the borders and ridicules the traditional anthropocentric discourses. In her novels literature becomes the „discourse of the excluded” and she speaks in the name of non-human animals. In her literary world view body is the interspecific sphere of understanding and empathy and pain is the basic common experience.
KAPUŚCIŃSKI Grzegorz - Animal as the gothic Alien in American TV series
Text comprises an analysis of two documentary TV series, produced in USA,
but presented worldwide: "Infested" and "Monsters inside me". First of
them concerns stories of the common American families which houses was
haunted out of the blue by the plague of animals, which settled near the
humans: black beetles, bedbugs, bats or skunks etc. Another presents
events of the people mysteriously infected by some exotic and dangerous
parasites. The thesis of the author is that the narration and formal
devices put the both series in the tradition of the American Gothicism.
In that approach in the lack of haunted castles and ancient ruins –
traditional scenography of terror in European gothic novels – the
dangerous, wild, gloomy Nature and her creatures was often casted as an
KIELAK Olga - Zoonotic epithets in Polish.
The justification of the figurative meanings of the animal names
The subject of my speech are the figurative meaning of the animal names in the Polish language functioning as a derogatory epithets for the people. The metaphors contained in these epithets are not accidental, but associated with human experience and imagination. I want to look for the causes of the negative evaluation of animals in the Polish language and answer the question why the cow connotes slowness and clumsiness, donkey and sheep – stupidity, pig – dirt.
KOWALCZYK Agnieszka - Non-human agency. Lessons from ecofeminism and critical animal
In Fear of the Animal Planet Jason Hribal notices that often: “[a]gency is discussed as a theory, but it is not applied in practice. The agents (i.e. the animals themselves) dissipate into a vacant, theoretical category. This is a view from above. History from below is not a theory. It is a methodology or form of analysis, which can be applied to the study of historically un/underrepresented groups” (Hribal, 2010, p. 102)In my presentation I would like to consider what such methodology should consist of and why it should be an important part of critical
animal studies toolbox. Therefore, my argument proceeds in three stages. First, I would like to consider critical animal studies as a specific theoretical-practical approach towards agency. Then, I will explore the possibilities for deriving agency from the corporeal realm rather than exclusively conscious subjectivity. In this context I will try to combine findings from ecofeminism (Mies & Shiva, 1993) and feminist readings of Foucault's work (Faith, 1995; McLaren, 2002) in order to sketch essential features of “embodied materialism” (Salleh, 1997). In closing remarks I will argue that this perspective can be particularly helpful for
conceptualizing the collective aspect of “agentival capacity” (Mallory, 2008) which opens possibility of politically relevant alliances across species boundaries.
KOWALCZYK Izabela - Traps of Posthumanism – Display of Animals in Visual Art
Undoubtedly, the posthumanism is one of the most popular keywords in new humanities. It is impossible to deny that it undertake many important challenges, turns to reformulate our thought and opposition between nature and culture. Theoreticians of posthumanism break down with this opposition, reflecting among others on exclusion of word of animals from cultural studies. However this word has own customs, uses tools and leads social life. We can find in this word some things that were though as reserved only to human word.
The interest in animals appears also in the visual art. Artists not only reflect on common things and customs between people and animals, on our attitude to them, but also some of them use animals in their works. Dorota Łagodzka wrote about the cruelest ways of using animals in art, reflecting on killing animals for the aim of art or display of dying ones. In this text I don’t want to undertake this motif, but rather reflect on works of art with animals as their element. Although their authors evoke posthumanism, they don’t reflect on ethical aspect of display of animals. I want to undertake this issue and ask how far some artistic attitudes confirm in fact specism.
KRZOSKA Markus - How to Save this Mighty Animal? The „International Society for the Protection of the European Bison” in the Interwar Years
The years after the First World War in the perception of today at least in Central Europe had left their marks because of escalating ethnic conflicts and a constant threat of democratic and economic structures. It has already been shown that this development did not spare social elites. However, since some time is also known that experts continued to cooperate at the international level and took up their work from the years before 1914. Especially concerned within this context have been the jurists and natural scientists. Widely uninvestigated, though, is the initiative of mainly German and Polish zoologists, to protect the biggest European land mammal massively threatened by extinction, the bison.
The foundation of the International Society for the Protection of the European Bison in Berlin in 1923 marked the beginning of an astonishing successful story. During the years up to the Second World War a huge number of European and American institutions and private individuals joined this organization. To its members belonged hunters, foresters, zoologists and early environmentalists. Apart from the forging of concrete breeding measures the society developed an extensive pedigree book for every living bison. Against the background of this the talk should introduce to the structures of the society, its networking and the activities which could be called to a certain point “ecological”. There won’t be forgotten the different models of breeding linked to the rise of National Socialism in Germany and the ways, animals were perceived by the scientists.
LEJMAN Jacek, ULITA Maciej - Philosophical and Beyond Philosophical sources of anthropocentrism. Hominism as Speciesism in the Media
In the first part the paper is to show philosophical positions concerning our relationship to animals. Next part shows evolutionary (sociobiological and paleoanthropological) theories regarding the origins of the human speciesism that we call hominism. On the whole they give a picture of the attitude that characterizes modern humans from its inception to the present day. We show it in the paper, how in the light of modern scientific knowledge hoministic position can be discarded and replaced with non-hoministic ethics but, at the same time – not anty-anthropocentric.Third part of the paper is regarding to the way that media shows the issue. One may think that media has no knowledge concerning hominism, but still shows attitude showing exactly what hominism is. So the question is – where lies the truth, does media do it on purpose or is simply "stupid"?
LESTEL Dominique - To Think Hairy. Animality from the Point of View of the Second Person.
We have a great number of problematic concepts and reasonings to think human/animal opposition but we lack intellectual resources to think their proximities. In this lecture, I wish to propose and discuss a new conception of animality whose premises we could originally find in Paul Shepard (1925-1996) – animality from the point of view of the second person, quite different of animality from the point of view of the third person of the scientists or of the animality from the point of view of the first person of the phenomenologist. To think animality from the point of view of the second person is to think animality as constitutive of what it means to be human. To adopt the point of view of the second person to think animality is precisely what I call “to think hairy”.
LISZEWSKI Dariusz - The limits of love for animals, that is where animal-philia begins and ends
Recently, we have seen an amazing social increase in animal welfare, or animal wellbeing. Philosophical literature abounds in concepts that justify in various ways numerous attempts to incorporate animals into the universe of human morality. Such changes in ethics and social sensitivity caused the changes to the law that increasingly penalizes cruelty to animals.
The analysis of how such cultural changes could cause this animal-philia kind of awareness is not the subject of my paper. In this paper, I'm interested in the meaning of the word 'animals', which humans not only worship, study, protect, respect, but also give them rights similar to human rights. Who or what we mean exactly when we talk or write about animals, in non anthropocentric and post human terms? Certainly, we do not mean all the representatives of the kingdom of Zoa, and if some, why these ones and not some others? Which categories determine these preferences?Is this modern movement really for the sake of animal welfare? Or rather is it more about protecting our good feelings in the face of not too optimistic realization that we are the most numerous and ruthlessly dominant species, whose reign on earth means the postponed-in-time death sentence, or - in the best case – slavery for most animals?
To sum up, I will try to answer the question:
Is it possible for us to overcome our (often hidden) anthropocentrism in our relationships with animals? And if so, at what price and why? Would it truly improve our relationships with animals?
LOBA Mirosław - Animal Oppression and Holocaust in Elisabeth de Fontenay
ŁAGODZKA Anna - Animalization of the Language
The theme of my inquiry is the question of how the understanding of animals and animality reveals itself in the language when “non-animal” experiences – human experiences which are not directly related to non-human animals – are becoming the subject of verbal description. Among the possible examples of such verbal expressions, I focus on one kind: descriptions of difficult experiences where a human speaker, trying to put them into words adequately, does not resort to popular and typical expressions together with their typical references to the animals. The field of inquiry has been restricted to this specific group of verbal expressions. I analyse closely one such formulation using interpretative dialogue and the hermeneutical category of prejudice. The aim of the analysis is the exposition of these beliefs concerning animals and animality which are written into the text, not in the form of assertions or hypotheses, but as figures of speech entangled in the contexts that are in principle not focused on animals. Verbal expression then becomes a notation of a particular way of understanding animals or animality, even if it was going to be the notation of something else: non-animal human experiences. These experiences, however, turn out to be “animal” because the language in which they are expressed does not dispense with the reference to animals. I call this phenomenon animalization of the language: non-verbal animals’ presence in the world enters into the realm of verbal expressions and generates its meanings. On the basis of some reflections on the importance of such animalization for understanding, I propose some criteria of how it can be recognized in verbal expressions and try to distinguish its types.
ŁAGODZKA Dorota - “Ecce animalia” and exhibiting animal art in Poland
MAEKIVI Nelly - Zoosemiotic perspective on zoos: communication and Umwelten
Zoological gardens are shared hybrid environments — they are places where people and other animals meet and where nature intersects with culture. Although these environments are shaped by people, as conservational institutions they have to meet the requirements of captive animals. However, there is always a certain tension between balancing the needs of animals and what the people want.
In order to analyze these complicated environments one has to take into consideration different aspects of intra- and interspecies communication, and in addition also ecological relations that different species (including humans) are enable to create. It is obvious that differences of Umwelten (Uexküll 1957) of various species and the extent that their communicative abilities do or do not overlap with ours are major issues in creating the hybrid environment for those different species; also the similarities and differences in Umwelten shapes the possibilities for intra- and interspecies communication ― enabling and disabling certain aspects.
This presentation incorporates anthropological and ethological zoosemiotics (Martinelli 2007), in addition biological and cultural ecosemiotics (Nöth 1998) are considered to better understand different facets of zoological gardens and animals in them.
MAŁECKI Wojciech - Slaughtering Pigs while Protecting Koalas, or on the Curious Morality of
Richard Rorty is often described as a humanist philosopher, and therefore might seem to be a rather unlikely source of inspiration for animal studies. Yet, as I am going to show in my paper, his oeuvre is replete with conceptions and ideas which the field in question would definitely profit from exploring. I am going to begin with his “subject naturalism,” which, drawing its inspiration from a philosophical reinterpretation of the theory of evolution, conceives human knowledge and all discursive activity in entirely non-representationalist terms – as an instrument of coping with the world rather than copying it. On this view, the idea that our cognitive and linguistic capacities make us ontologically different from other animals hardly makes any sense, as those capacities should rather be seen as something analogous to, and “as natural as,” for instance, “beaver’s teeth.”1
Another of Rorty’s conceptions which I am going to discuss is that of justice as a larger loyalty, in particular his views on the possibility of extending the human sense of loyalty to “all those who … can experience pain – even the cows and the kangaroos – or perhaps even to all living things, even the trees” (Richard Rorty, Philosophy as Cultural Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, p. 45). Finally, I am going to link those latter views to Rorty’s idea that the “moral prohibitions are expressions of a sense of community based on the imagined possibility of conversation, and [that] the attribution of feelings is little more than a reminder of these prohibitions,” which provides him with an answer to the question, Why do “we send pigs to slaughter with equanimity, but form societies to protect koalas”?(Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979, p. 190)
MARQUEZ Rene – What we call “home:” Dog-Human Collaborative Space
MCKAY Robert - Read Meat, or, the Literary Politics of Species in Michel Faber’s Under the Skin
Under the Skin is the story of Isserley, a woman who escapes a socially and ecologically ravaged planet by working secretly in remote Scotland for an opaque corporate concern. In an astonishing reversal of species fortunes, she captures human males who are prepared underground and slaughtered as meat to be consumed by a social elite at home. Faber’s careful focalization of this story through Isserley allows for a subtle, ambiguous and counterintuitive inquiry into the nature of anthropocentrism and human exceptionalism. The science fiction genre effects in the novel deliver a plot that commands the reader to sympathize with a protagonist who enacts murderous views about humans that are analogous to ideas that underpin human use of animals in the meat industry. It is gradually revealed that a commitment to species exceptionalism is Isserley's flawed vision of enlightenment, her protection against the social degradation that has blighted her life. Eventually, however, she comes to sense that subjection, alienation and bodily vulnerability align her with the human animals she kills, and she finally stops. Via the play of genre and form, then, Under the Skin offers a narrative of the political recognition of nonhuman species that exceeds significantly the established story of principled and reasoned recognition of their rights.
MEIJER Eva – Political Animal Voices
The aim of my project is to develop a theory of ‘political animal voice’. I will do this by developing and integrating accounts of a) political animal agency, b) animal languages and human-animal communication, and c) animal voices in relation to existing human political institutions and as a foundation for new political rituals. In developing these accounts, the project integrates insights from political philosophy (including poststructuralist analyses of power and language), Wittgenstein’s later philosophy of language and phenomenology, deconstruction, and different fields of animal studies, such as animal ethics, ethology and animal geography. Although my main goal is to provide a philosophical theory of political animal voice, the project also aims to conceptualise political animal voice on a practical-political level, both in addressing the entanglement of politics and language in relation to animals, and in developing a method of thinking with animals.
MYK Małgorzata - Thalia Field’s Posthumanist Ecology of Questions in Bird Lovers, Backyard
The paper proposes a reading of experimental post-genre writing of American author Thalia Field through the lenses of Donna Haraway’s trope of “companion species” as theorized in 2003 The Companion Species Manifesto and 2008 When Species Meet. While Haraway’s work examines the complex transactions of humans and animals against the backdrop of global civilization, Field’s collection of writings brings into focus the medium of narrative as a crucial critical tool in approaching a number of familiar, if conflicted, interactions, as well as some less commonly recognized human-animal encounters. Whether astutely philosophical, dramatic and poignant, extremely witty, or simply hilarious, texts in Bird Lovers, Backyard deploy narrative self-reflexivity and kind-hearted irony to address the present-day culture’s most intimate and pressing ethical questions about the possibility of non-hierarchical co-existence of humans and animals. Instead of appropriating the animal question merely to return to the human(ist) impulse of constant self-scrutiny, Field reminds us that despite their precarious status, today’s narratives are capable of revealing the every-day history of abuse of human powers, awakening a sense of accountability for the many “failures between species,” while the literary paradoxically emerges as a means of counteracting those failures.
NAWARECKI Aleksander - Zoophilology Under the Auspices of the Augurs
I would like to present a project, or a cognitive concept, called “zoophilology”. This name, analogical to “philology”, means the research on the “language” of animals in literature (especially Polish literature). Sounds made by animals, their imitations in the form of words and other attempts at representation are the point of departure, the objective is the subject presence in the text (narrative from an animal’s point of view, animal cognitive perspective etc.). The roots of “zoophilology” called for here reach deep into the history of civilization, combining the ability to recognize tracks with the beginnings of writing, combining the human and animal elements. The practices of ancient augurs are particularly inspiring, especially “ornithomancy”. This forgotten type of divination could be the patron of the genesis of many sciences from ornithology, through semiotics, to the arts of interpretation – psychoanalysis and hermeneutics.
PEDERSEN Helena - Follow the Judas sheep: A critical posthumanist account of a slaughterhouse study visit
What becomes of education when performed in a slaughterhouse? The slaughterhouse is an establishment where large-scale, severe violence is performed in an utterly mundane fashion (e.g., Pachirat 2011, Pick 1993, Vialles 1994). With veterinary medical education as empirical setting, this paper asks what happens when institutionalized physical violence toward animals converges with formal education and becomes a safe and sanitized component of the curriculum.
Drawing on Raunig’s (2010) Marxian-Deleuzian treatise on the machine, the paper configures the veterinary education curriculum and the animal production system as two symbiotic apparatuses connected by innumerable flows, routes, movements, rhythms, and passages. Using critical posthumanist analyses to work through empirical material from zooethnographic fieldwork in veterinary education, the paper maps how human and animal subjectivities are formed along with crisscrossing bio-choreographies of pedagogical and animal production rituals in intimate interplay. The paper argues that as education becomes materially enclosed in the process of animal slaughter, teaching becomes distributed among human and nonhuman actants, students (and the education researcher) become a collective human component, or prosthesis, of the slaughter apparatus, and pedagogy becomes a prosthesis of slaughter.
PHILIP Justine - The change of animal status – presenting and representing animals; new ways of depiction and perceiving nonhuman creatures
This report examines the cultural history of the Australian Dingo over the past two hundred years, through their representations in art, scientific illustration, and as an animal exhibit, in museums and zoological collections worldwide.
The Dingo is Australia’s apex predator, and like populations of wild canines worldwide, they have endured a long history of conflict with human society. Their authenticity as a native animal is often questioned, being a relatively recent arrival to the otherwise ancient flora and fauna of the Australian continent. Genetic and behavioural studies indicate that the dingo represents a unique population of ancient canine, having survived geographically isolated from other wild and domestic canines for over 4,000 years.
Prior to European settlement, the dingo held a central place in cultural traditions of the Aboriginal people, maintaining a symbiotic relationship as both companion animal and top-order terrestrial predator.
This research explores the social, political and ecological factors that have impacted on the dingo over time, and how these human dimensions and cross-cultural shifts in the perception of wild canines has influenced the dynamics of predator management. Bringing this history together offers valuable insight into a complex human-animal interface, and a greater appreciation of the cultural and ecological significance of the Australian dingo.
PIOTROWIAK Dariusz - “An old jade lies here in the mud”. Glosses written in the margins of Old Polish animal epitaphs
The main goal of my paper is to reinterpret the Old Polish animal epitaphs. My analyses will be focused on poems written by Szymon Szymonowic, Jan Gawiński and Jan Chryzostom Pasek.
Animal epitaphs were so far described as a parody of epitaphs devoted to people or as a variety of Aesopic fables. A possibility of treating this genre as an expression of criticism of Renaissance humanism was only briefly mentioned in Polish academic discourse. I am going to show that in animal epitaphs the traditional binary opposition ‘human – animal’ is disturbed or even completely destructed. Finally, in these texts the idea of antropocenthrism is questioned.