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Traces of a Half-Forgotten Dog: Suffering and Animal Humanity in Hélène Cixous' Algerian Scenes
Uppsala universitet, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Teologiska fakulteten, Teologiska institutionen, Tros- och livsåskådningsvetenskap, Etik.ORCID-id: 0000-0001-6768-5292
2017 (engelsk)Inngår i: Literature & Theology, ISSN 0269-1205, E-ISSN 1477-4623, Vol. 31, nr 4, s. 420-431Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

Hélène Cixous’ engagement with animals is a significant but neglected aspect of her work. In this article I trace one specific character among her animals, Fips, a dog she had when she was living in Algiers during the late 1940s. By reflecting on this figure, I outline the way the dehumanising logic of colonialism and anti-Semitism are critiqued by Cixous. I lift up her themes of relationality and corporeality as constructive for animal studies. Taking the work of Jacques Derrida as a starting point, the article shows how Cixous’ primal encounter with Fips produces a wound that, belatedly, ruptures the barriers between herself and this dog; its dehiscence reveals Fips’ ‘profound animal humanity’ generated by shared suffering, finitude, and love. The lesson Cixous learns from revivifying the memory of this dog is, I suggest, how to become more human. The ‘humanity’ of the dog is the capacity to see and indeed love outside preconceived ideas: ‘Perhaps the irony is that we are never more human than when we are dogs.’ Becoming more human is an assault on the borders of racialised exclusion and a challenge to the false humanism of the colonial project.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Glasgow: Oxford University Press, 2017. Vol. 31, nr 4, s. 420-431
Emneord [en]
Cixous; Derrida; Animal; Humanity; Wound; Algeria
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Etik; Litteraturvetenskap; Filosofi
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-308751DOI: 10.1093/litthe/frx030ISI: 000417185100004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-308751DiVA, id: diva2:1050714
Prosjekter
Ethics and the Politics of Writing: Membership, Testimony and Representation
Forskningsfinansiär
Swedish Research Council, 2014-968Tilgjengelig fra: 2016-11-29 Laget: 2016-11-29 Sist oppdatert: 2019-03-16bibliografisk kontrollert

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