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Traces of a Half-Forgotten Dog: Suffering and Animal Humanity in Hélène Cixous’ Algerian Scenes
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Studies in Faith and Ideologies, Ethics.
2016 (English)In: Literature & Theology, ISSN 0269-1205, E-ISSN 1477-4623Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

The article examines the place of animal humanity in Hélène Cixous’ work. Taking Rêveries de la Femme Sauvage and her writings on Algeria published in Stigmata: Escaping Texts as a starting point, especially the figure of Fips, the dog of the Cixous family in Oran. By thinking through this figure, I argue, Cixous analyses the dehumanizing logic of colonialism and Anti-Semitism in colonial Algeria and develops her own response to it, arguing for human-animal relationality and affective corporeality.

Derrida’s concept of the “animot” in L’Animal que donc je suis establishes criteria inherent to animals that change their stature vis-à-vis humans, which I relate to Cixous’ autobiographical fiction. I hope to show that Cixous’ primal encounter with the dog Fips produces a stigma that, belatedly, ruptures the barrier between herself and this Dog; its dehiscence reveals a profound animal humanity generated by shared suffering, finitude and compassion. The lesson she learns from the memory of Fips is how to become "more human". This becoming is also an assault on the borders of the colonial project.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
Ethics; Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-308751OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-308751DiVA: diva2:1050714
Swedish Research Council, 2014-968
Available from: 2016-11-29 Created: 2016-11-29 Last updated: 2016-12-03

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