1887

n Journal of Literary Studies - Postcolonial ecologies and the gaze of animals : reading some contemporary Southern African narratives

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Abstract

This essay is located within the new field of Animal Studies, and foregrounds literary representations of animals within a historicised culture, while stressing that ecologies are inseparable from politics and culture. Three southern African writers, Mda, Vera and Couto, contradict colonial discursivities about nature in their postcolonial texts. Their representations of human-animal relationships will be discussed, to some extent, in relation to Derridean conceptualising of the animal gaze and the human response to being addressed by an animal. But because Derrida has animals as "the absolute other" the writers implicitly interrogate his theorising, for he cannot acknowledge what Adams calls "relational epistemologies". African knowledges, as Mda and Vera represent them, construct such epistemologies for humans along with cattle, horses and "wild" animals. Couto, contradictorily, represents the repercussions of a breakdown of such epistemologies because of violence and poverty. Poland has humans responding to the literal animal gaze, as well as engaging extensively with African knowledges of cattle.

Hierdie artikel val binne die veld Dierestudies, en plaas literêre voorstellings van diere binne 'n gehistoriseerde kultuur, terwyl dit beklemtoon dat ekologieë onlosmaaklik van politiek en kultuur is. Drie skrywers van suidelike Afrika, Mda, Vera en Couto, weerspreek koloniale diskursiwiteit omtrent die natuur in hulle postkoloniale tekste. Hulle voorstellings van mens-dier verhoudings sal bespreek word, in 'n sekere mate, in verhouding tot die Derrideaanse konseptualisering van die dier se blik en die mens se respons daarop om deur 'n dier aangespreek te word. Maar omdat Derrida diere as die "absolute ander" daarstel, ondervra die skrywers sy teoretisering, want hy kan nie toegee vir wat Adams noem "verhoudings-epistemologieë" nie. Afrika-begrippe, soos Mda en Vera hulle voorstel, konstrueer hierdie epistemologieë vir diere tesame met beeste, perde en "wilde" diere. Couto, daarenteen, stel die reperkussies voor van 'n ineenstorting van hierdie epistemologieë as gevolg van geweld en armoede. Poland stel mense daar wat reageer op die letterlike blik van die dier, en ekstensief Afrika-begrippe van beeste aanneem.

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/content/litstud/19/3_4/EJC62359
2003-12-01
2016-12-05
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