Foucault and Animals CFP

Matt Chrulew writes in with a CFP on Foucault and Animals.

Call For Abstracts: Foucault and Animals
Matthew Chrulew and Dinesh Wadiwel (Eds)

“The animal in man no longer has any value as the sign of a Beyond; it has become his madness, without a relation to anything but itself; his madness in the state of nature.” “it is a technique of training, of dressage, that ‘despotically excludes in everything the least representation, and the smallest murmur’…” “for millennia, man remained what he was for Aristotle: a living animal with the additional capacity for a political existence; modern man is an animal whose politics places his existence as a living being in question.”
Michel Foucault, History of Madness; Discipline and Punish; and The Will to Knowledge.

Michel Foucault had much to say on many things, and the legacy of his thinking can be found across a diverse range of fields of inquiry, including philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, politics, architecture, health sciences, ethics and sexuality. Yet Foucault says very little about animals. And perhaps, as a consequence, while Foucault would seem to be everywhere in social and political theory, the impact of his work is yet to be fully appreciated within the emerging field of animal studies. As has been shown in recent critical engagements with Foucault that have drawn connections with animal life, including those of Giorgio Agamben, Donna Haraway, and Roberto Esposito, Foucault’s work is extremely profitable for understanding our conflicted relationships with animals. More than another of the endless applications of his work, we believe this conjunction to be essential: both for the advancement of a new field struggling with questions of power, knowledge, and ethics; and for the study of a philosopher whose antihumanism failed to interrogate the category of species.

We are seeking abstracts from scholars engaged with Foucault and animal studies for a proposed edited book collection. The collection will be unashamedly critical in approach, seeking to include articles that challenge systems of power which simultaneously organise conduct, violence, care and domination of nonhuman animals, from wildlife parks to factory farms. However, we also recognise there is an urgent need for indepth, inter-disciplinary theorisation that is able to map and challenge the lines of distinction between human and animal. We therefore encourage submissions from scholars working in a range of disciplines,
interested in how Foucault might be used to consider human and animal relations in a broad sense. We welcome not only philosophical discussion but analysis of science, policy, and activist praxis. We encourage not simply the transfer of Foucauldian concepts but their effective adaptation to multispecies contexts.
Suggested topic areas include:
• Biopolitics;
• Ethics and the care of the self;
• Power and the political;
• Discourse and knowledge;
• Governmentality and conduct;
• Sovereignty and security;
• History of biology and science;
• Discipline, training and communication;
• Panopticism, surveillance, gaze, spectacle;
• Sexuality;
• Animal subjectivities;
• Heterotopias of interspecies contact;
• The animality of humanity;
• Humanism, language and the border of species.
For abstract submissions (of 500 words), or to discuss proposed contributions, please email either Matthew Chrulew at or Dinesh Wadiwel at
Abstract deadline: 28th February 2010.
Projected completed book chapter deadline: late 2010.


One Response

  1. I don’t think “antihumanism” per say is incompatible with the critique of the human-animal binary. Indeed I would say it provides the most fertile ground for the critique of Man as an abstract subject distinct from Nature and “beasts”. Perhaps the “death of Man” can be achieved not on the linguistic/structuralist front but on battlefield of animal studies.

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