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The Traces of a Half-Forgotten Dog: On Animal Humanity in Cixous' Algerian narratives
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, Studies in Faith and Ideologies, Ethics.
2016 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the place of the human and the animal in Hélène Cixous' work. It takes the figure of Fips, the dog of the Cixous family that she writes about in her autobiographical narratives, as a starting point. By thinking through this figure, I argue, Cixous analyses the dehumanizing logic of colonialism and anti-Semitism in Algeria and develops her own response to it, arguing for human relationality and animal corporeality. The paper shows that Cixous’ primal encounter with Fips produces a stigma that, belatedly, ruptures the barrier between herself and this specific dog; its dehiscence reveals a profound animal humanity generated by suffering, finitude, and compassion. The lesson Cixous learns from the memory of the Dog is how to become ‘more human’. This becoming is also an assault on the false humanism of the colonial project, on the closed gates as markers of colonial dehumanization and racialized social exclusion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Ethics Humanities
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-283044OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-283044DiVA: diva2:918081
AAR Annual Meeting San Antonio, TX November 19-22, 2016, paper accepted
Ethics and the Politics of Writing: Membership, Testimony and Representation
Swedish Research Council, 2014-968
Available from: 2016-04-09 Created: 2016-04-09 Last updated: 2016-04-17

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