Fellow writes on the Cultural Representation of Animals
10th July 2010
Centre Fellow, Dr Randy Malamud, Professor of English at Georgia State University, has contributed three groundbreaking articles on the cultural representation of animals for the prestigious Chronicle of Higher Education.
The latest was published on 27th June, 2010, is and is entitled “Eadweard Muybridge, Thief of Animal Souls”, on the famed nineteenth-century photographer, Eadweard Muybridge, who helped foster a reductionist, popular conception of both animals and women. Malamud concludes:
Animals are worse off, more encroached upon, than they were, say, 200 years ago, and cultural representations of animals matter. Equitable and ecologically intelligent engagements with animals emanate from societies that treat their cohabitants well, and “animal positive” cultural texts encourage continued good behavior. But representations that imaginatively or literally rip animals out of their worlds and resituate them as subalterns, or fetishes, or “resources” in our world spell trouble for our fellow species. Muybridge’s complicity in his era’s expansionist and industrial fantasies means, in my judgment, that his photography was ultimately destructive to the animals he so keenly observed. In seeing a horse as a vehicle to make railroads more palatable, he undercut the horse’s essential horseness.
The full article can be read here.
And his previous articles: “Life as we know it: Does classifying nature heighten, or substitute for, our appreciation of it?” published in 2008, here, and “Animated animal discourse”, published in 2007, here.
Professor Malamud is author of Reading Zoos: Representations of Animals and Captivity (New York University Press, 1998) and Poetic Animals and Animal Souls (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), and editor of A Cultural History of Animals in the Modern Age (Berg, 2007).