The dream of humanism is to cleanly discard of humanity’s animal remains along with its ecological embeddings, evolutionary heritages and futures, ontogenies and phylogenies, sexualities and sensualities, vulnerabilities and mortalities. But, as the contributors to this volume demonstrate, animal remains are everywhere and so animals remain everywhere. Animal remains are food, medicine, and clothing; extractive resources and traces of animals’ lifeworlds and ecologies; they are sites of political conflict and ontological fear, fetishized visual signs and objects of trade, veneration, and memory; they are biotechnological innovations and spill-over viruses.
To make sense of the material afterlives of animals, this book draws together multispecies perspectives from literary criticism and theory, cultural studies, anthropology and ethnography, photographic and film history, and contemporary art practice to offer the first synoptic account of animal remains. Interpreting them in all their ubiquity, diversity, and persistence, Animal Remains reveals posthuman relations between human and non-human communities of the living and the dead, on timescales of decades, centuries, and millennia.
Table of Contents
Animal Remains: An Introduction
Sarah Bezan and Robert McKay
I. Fossil Figurations
- J.G. Ballard’s Fossil Imaginaries: Apocalypse, Deep Time and Deathly Life
- Photographing Dead Animals: Taphonomy as Embedded Media
- Snail Trails: A Foray into Disappearing Worlds, Written in Slime
- Making Specimens Sacred: Putting the Bodies of Solitario Jorge and Cụ Rùa on Display
- A Tale of Two Bucardo: Laña, Celia, and the Contested Meanings of Animal Remains
- Beef, Bull and Ballyhoo: America’s Cattle-Cinema Complex
- Read Meat
- Le Voreux: Scenes of Animal Labour in Émile Zola’s Germinal
- Making Cows Live: Bovine Remains and the Rise of Hindu Nationalism
- Before The Thing: Viruses, Sled Dogs, Seabirds, and Science Fiction
- Between Data and Affect: Interspecific Accommodation in the Models of Art
- Up in Smoke: Cremation, Mourning, and the Afterdeaths of Bodily Remains for Companion Animals
- Fish Market, Lagos: Artist Pages and Supporting Statement
Ana María Gómez López
II. Extinction Futures
Thom van Dooren
Gitte Westergaard and Dolly Jørgensen
III. The Political Cultural Lives of Animal Remains
IV. Empire, Colony: Animal Remains as Infrastructure
V. Ethics and Affects: Mourning Animal Remains
Mark Wilson and Bryndis Snæbjörnsdóttir
Sarah Bezan is Postdoctoral Research Associate in Perceptions of Biodiversity Change at The University of York’s Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity in the UK. Her research focuses on the entangled social and ecological dimensions of species loss and revival in contemporary British, North American, and Australian literature and visual culture. She is currently at work on two book projects: Dead Darwin: Necro-Ecologies in Neo-Victorian Culture (under advance contract with Manchester University Press), along with a second monograph (in progress) that examines species revivalist representations of the woolly mammoth, great auk, dodo, Steller’s sea cow, thylacine, and Pinta Island tortoise.
Robert McKay is Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of Sheffield, where he is Co-director of the Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre. He has published widely on the politics of species in modern and contemporary literature and film, including the co-edited volumes The Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature (Palgrave, 2021) and Werewolves, Wolves and the Gothic (Wales UP, 2017). He is series Co-editor for Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature and Associate Editor (Literature) for Society & Animals.