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Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe) Hardcover – July 10, 2012

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Product Details

  • Series: Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822352540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822352549
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,541,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Animacies is a book about 'reworldings,' as Mel Y. Chen traces the myriad ways that objects and affects move through and reshape zones of possibility for political transformation and queer resistance to neoliberal biopolitics. At the same time, Animacies itself generates such transformations: grounded in a generous, expansive understanding of queer of color and disability/crip critique, Chen's study reworlds or reorients disability studies, gender and sexuality studies, critical race theory, animal studies, affect studies, and linguistics. In all of these critical spaces, Animacies might be described as the breathtaking and revivifying book we have been waiting for."
(Robert McRuer, author of Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability)

"This ambitious transdisciplinary analysis of the relations between humans, nonhuman animals, and matter charts a compelling and innovative rethinking of the biopolitics of 'animacy.' Mel Y. Chen animates animacy, a concept of sentience hierarchy derived in linguistics, to offer a far-ranging critique that implicates disability studies, queer of color critique, and postcolonial theory. The generative result is a timely and crucial intervention that foregrounds the oft-occluded import of race and sex in the rapidly growing fields of posthumanist theory, new materialisms, and animal studies."
(Jasbir K. Puar, author of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times)

“This work is a bricolage demonstrating the dexterity of cultural studies today in its explorations of the limits of live- liness. Although the work speaks primarily to queer theory and Asian American studies, it will stir anthropologists of multiple subfields.”
(Rheana Salazar Parrenas American Anthropologist)

“To read Mel Chen’s book Animacies is both a challenge and a pleasure … [it] offers critical positions that will be of interest to Asian Americanists.”
(Neel Ahuja Journal of Asian American Studies)

“Chen’s book touches upon many topics in Animacies and provides channels for further investigation and expansion for those who wish to study linguistics, disability studies, race, animal studies, gender, and sexuality studies.”
(Marissa Malady Feminist Legal Studies)

"Animacies provides us with fresh, provocative insights into the queer possibilities of kinship and intimacies with some of the most overlooked forms of material existence. Readers will find much to admire in this book."
(Cynthia Wu Transgender Studies Quarterly)

" . . . the lucidity of Chen's histories of each of the intersecting fields of study makes these [first] chapters worth reading and teaching. The latter half . . . stands out as innovative work that advances new potentialities for cultural studies sensitive to the multivalent dimensions of relationality."
(Christine Yao College Literature)

“Chen’s prose is animate; it leaps off the page and sparks in the reader both respect in Chen’s outstanding linguistic ability and wonder in the flow of her prose, her mastery of theoretical sources, and the flux of her intense, immense subject. . . . Animacies is a significant addition to disability theory, gender theory, linguistic theory, queer theory, cultural theory, postcolonial studies, and feminist theory, and is the first book, in my mind, to perform a transnational, transhistorical, and interdisciplinary investigation into the concept of animacy. It is a work that would be at home in both the undergraduate and the graduate classroom (certain chapters, at least), and should be read by any scholar of feminist, queer, disability, linguistic, or postcolonial bent. In this book, Chen has perfected the impossible art of writing a book that is, somehow, all things to all people—or at least, it should be. There is something for everyone here. Animacies is a groundbreaking work of interstitial scholarship. . .”
(Erin Kingsley H-Disability, H-Net Reviews)

 “Throughout the book, Chen interweaves the topics and implications of society, race, biopolitics, sexuality, disability, and queer studies as it relates to linguistics, animacy, and animacy hierarchy. Chen utilizes an immense amount of examples through pictures, historical events, and theories to cover a large amount of material. Chen’s book touches upon many topics in Animacies and provides channels for further investigation and expansion for those who wish to study linguistics, disability studies, race, animal studies, gender, and sexuality studies.”
(Marissa Malady Sexuality and Disability)

About the Author

Mel Y. Chen is Assistant Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Benson on April 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic academic exploration of the lines between human/animal and animate/inanimate. Although I do nt have a background in linguistics, I found it really interesting, though incredibly dense.
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