Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Animals and aesthetics

To interested colleagues: to what extent do we have dialogue with participants in events such as the one below?

Proposed Panel Subject: Imagining Boundaries: Animals, Aesthetics, and the Posthuman

Panel Organizer: Drew Ayers, Georgia State University

Summary: The goal of this panel is to explore the various strategies of imagining the Animal within cultural and scientific imagery. The Animal has been a source of interest for commentators throughout history, and ideas of what constitutes the Animal have informed ideas of what constitutes the Human. That is, Humanity has been, in part, defined in opposition to Animality. Contemporary and 20th century philosophers such as Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, Agamben, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Haraway have all contributed to the discussion of the Animal, and this panel aims to understand these various conceptualizations of the Animal in relation to contemporary visual culture. In particular, this panel aims to interrogate the aesthetics of visualizing animals and to understand more fully the ways in which the relationship between the human and non-human animal is imagined within cinema, TV, and other media. Theoretical, philosophical, and/or historical approaches of all types are welcome, and this panel is open to analyses of any kind of contemporary media – film, TV, new media, advertising, painting, plastic art.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

*The construction of cultural and scientific boundaries between the human and non-human animal
*Ecocriticism and media
*The phenomenology of human and non-human interaction
*The animal in posthumanism
*Socio-scientific approaches to the animal
*The ideology of biology’s attempts to separate the human and non-human animal
*Imagining the animal thorough nature films and documentaries
*Histories of animal imagery
*Imagining the animal through animation
*Media technologies and animal imagery
*The media industry’s use/exploitation of animal actors

Please send abstracts or proposals (250-500 words), including a five-item bibliography and brief biographical note, to Drew Ayers ( by August 8, 2009. Selected presenters for the panel will be notified by August 15, 2009, and the panel will be submitted to SCMS by September 1, 2009. Acceptance of your proposal does not guarantee that SCMS will accept the panel as a whole.

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