For thousands of years, in the myths and folktales of people around the world, animals have spoken in human tongues. Western and non-Western literary and folkloric traditions are filled with both speaking animals, some of whom even narrate or write their own autobiographies. Animals speak, famously, in children’s stories and in cartoons and films, and today, social networking sites and blogs are both sites in which animals—primarily pets—write about their daily lives and interests. Speaking for Animals is a compilation of chapters written from a variety of disciplines that attempts to get a handle on this cross cultural and longstanding tradition of animal speaking and writing. It looks at speaking animals in literature, religious texts, poetry, social networking sites, comic books, and in animal welfare materials and even library catalogs, and addresses not just the "whys" of speaking animals, but the implications, for the animals and for ourselves.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part I: (Mis) Representing Animals: The Limits and Possibilities of Representation 1. What Do We Want from Talking Animals? Reflections on Literary Representations of Animal Voices and Minds Karla Armbruster 2. Our Animals, Ourselves: Representing Animal Minds in Timothy and The White Bone Ryan Hediger 3. Investigations of a Dog, by a Dog: Between Anthropocentrism and Canine-Centrism Naama Harel Part II: Animals in Human Traditions 4. With Dogs and Lions as Witnesses: Speaking Animals in the History of Christianity Laura Hobgood-Oster 5. The Speaking Animal: Non-Human Voices in Comics Lisa Brown 6. Who'll Let the Dogs In? Animals, Authorship, and the Library Catalog Nancy Babb Part III: Animal Self, Human Self 7. Mistresses as Masters: Voicing Female Power Through the Subject Animal in Two Nineteenth-Century Animal Autobiographies Monica Flegel 8. Catster.com: Creating Feline Identities Online Jennifer L. Schally and Stephen R. Couch 9. Identity, Community and Grief: The Role of Bunspace in Human and Rabbit Lives Margo DeMello Part IV: Interspecies Communication and Connection 10. Talking Dogs, Companion Capital, and the Limits of Bio-Political Fitness Merit Anglin 11. If We Could Talk to the Animals: On Changing the (Post) Human Subject Kathy Rudy Part V: Speaking and Knowing: Accessing Animal Subjectivity 13. The Power of Testimony: The Speaking Animal’s Plea for Understanding in a Selection of Eighteenth-Century British Poetry Anne Milne 14. "Straight from the Horse’s Mouth": Equine Memoirs and Autobiographies Marion Copeland 14. First Friend, First Words: Speaking of/to Talking Dogs Jill Morstad Part VI: The Ethics and Value of Speaking for Animals 15. Horse Talk: Horses and Human(e) Discourses Natalie Corinne Hansen 16. Speaking For Dogs: The Role of Dog Biographies in Improving Canine Welfare in Bangkok, Thailand Nikki Savvides 17. The Elephant Letters: The Story of Billy and Kani G.A. Bradshaw
Margo DeMello lectures at Central New Mexico Community College, teaching sociology, cultural studies, and anthropology.