ASRN/CTC Seminar: Mourning: dog and human attunement in southern African narratives

Presenter: Professor Wendy Woodward, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Time/Date: 7 July 2017, 12pm-1:30pm
Venue: Research Hub 19.2072.

This paper reads various narratives – by Luis Bernardo Honwana, Njabulo Ndebele, JM Coetzee, and Thando Mgqolozana – which figure taxonomies of race and species through humans and dogs. Vinciane Despret’s notion of human-nonhuman animal attunement will be deployed while remaining mindful of Claire Jean Kim’s call to ‘remain attuned to the … dynamics of difference production.’ The paper concludes with Tinyiko Maluleke’s short essay ‘I am an African and I grieve for my dog Bruno’ and asks if mourning could foster a recognition of feelings without recourse to the current South African imperative of sedimented racialised and gendered differences. The paper departs from academic convention in its narrativising of two childhood memories of dogs and grieving. The memoirist cameos implicitly critique my own situatedness and writing as the essay segues into depictions of trauma and mourning.

This seminar is jointly presented by the Animal Studies Research Network (ASRN) and Centre for Cultures, Texts and Creative Industries (CTC).

Bio: Wendy Woodward is Emerita Professor in English Literature at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. She is the author of The Animal Gaze: Animal Subjectivities in southern African Narratives (Wits University Press, 2008) and co-editor with Erika Lemmer of a Special Issue of Journal of Literary Studies: Figuring the Animal in Post-apartheid South Africa (2014). She is also co-editor with Susan McHugh of Indigenous Creatures, Native Knowledges and the Arts – Animal Studies in Modern Worlds (Palgrave Macmillan 2017). She has written three volumes of poetry: Séance for the Body (Snailpress 1994); Love, Hades and other Animals (Protea, 2008) and A Saving Bannister (Modjadji 2015), and tries to live lightly in Cape Town with a palomino and a poodle.

All welcome. Light refreshments provided.
Please rsvp to Melissa Boyde.

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