MAPACA

Mid-Atlantic Popular &
American Culture Association

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Animal Studies and American Culture

Area chairs

Edward J Ingebretsen PhD (Georgetown University, Georgetown University)
Henry Schwarz

This area will examine the complex interchange between humans and animals in American cultures. We have a hundred encounters a day with animals, although likely we pay little attention to most of them: we eat animals, we wear them. Our beauty, health, and home products are tested on them. Animals perform for us and satisfy our need for novelty. We remove them from their natural lives and display them for our pleasure and education. But are they ours for our use? What do we owe them? Western culture—and Christian theology, generally — positions animals as subservient to humans; post-colonial rhetoric subjugates their bodies in the same discursive frame that gave Harriet Beecher Stowe the sub-title for Uncle Tom’s Cabin: “The Man Who was a Thing.” Papers are welcome that explore any of the theories or practical consequences of animals in American commodity culture.

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