BiographyI have been teaching in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for over a decade. My training is in Comparative Literature, which I see as an intellectual hub of interdisciplinary activity within the humanities where different languages, traditions, and methodologies come into contact with one another to produce new knowledge. I became interested in Animal Studies before it was known as Animals Studies when I wrote my Master's thesis on representations of the poet as animal in modern literature. The recent emergence in the work of philosophers, historians, and literary critics of a recognizable field of study whose object is the relation between human and nonhuman animals has allowed me to focus once again on the presence of animals in literature, but now with the intention of describing what literature has been doing with animals throughout its history and what this doing tells us about how we relate to them. Among other things, it tells us that literature is the best tool we have at our disposal to learn the language of animals.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
English and Comparative Literature
Published: Aug 13, 2016 by EJES: European Journal of English Studies
Authors: Mario Ortiz-Robles
The figure of monster occupies an indeterminate zone between human and animal in Late Victorian Gothic fiction. This essay shows how the liminal status of the monster serves to naturalize biopwer’s dividing practices, which create social categories such as race that come to be understood as biological categories.