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Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory Paperback – February 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0226905143 ISBN-10: 0226905144 Edition: 1st

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Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory + What Is Posthumanism? (Posthumanities) + When Species Meet (Posthumanities)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226905144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226905143
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #668,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Animal Rites offers exciting new readings of a rich variety of texts. This is an original and provocative work that will open up important new arenas of discussion in literary and cultural studies, as well as the discourse of animal rights." - N. Katherine Hayles, author of How We Became Posthuman

From the Inside Flap

In Animal Rites, Cary Wolfe examines contemporary notions of humanism and ethics by reconstructing a little known but crucial underground tradition of theorizing the animal from Wittgenstein, Cavell, and Lyotard to Lévinas, Derrida, Žižek, Maturana, and Varela. Through detailed readings of how discourses of race, sexuality, colonialism, and animality interact in twentieth-century American culture, Wolfe explores what it means, in theory and critical practice, to take seriously "the question of the animal."

More About the Author

I went to college at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I was a dedicated poet and a Morehead Scholar. After finishing an M.A. at Chapel Hill in English, I completed a doctorate at Duke University, ten miles away, where I landed at just the right time to take advantage of a remarkable collection of faculty talent: Frank Lentricchia, Fredric Jameson, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Stanley Fish, just to name a few (visiting faculty in those days at Duke included folks like Terry Eagleton, Toril Moi, and Franco Moretti). In 1990, I moved to Indiana University in Bloomington, where I stayed for eight years as an Assistant and later Associate Professor in English, American Studies, and Cultural Studies, publishing my first book, The Limits of American Literary Ideology in Pound and Emerson with Cambridge in 1993, and co-editing with Bill Rasch a special double issue of Cultural Critique on "The Politics of Systems and Environments," which later appeared in modified form as Observing Complexity: Systems Theory and Postmodernity (Minnesota, 2000). In 1998 I left Indiana to become Associate Chair of the English Department at SUNY-Albany, where I stayed until 2003. While there, three books appeared: Critical Environments from Minnesota (1998), Animal Rites from Chicago (2003), and the edited collection Zoontologies, also from Minnesota (2003). In August 2003 I moved to Houston, where I now live and teach at Rice University, holding the Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Chair in English and chairing the Department. I've recently published my fourth book, What Is Posthumanism?, which weaves together the concerns of my previous two volumes: animal studies, systems theory, pragmatism, poststructuralism. Over the past couple of years, I've also been involved in a couple of multi-author volumes: Philosophy and Animal Life, with Stanley Cavell, Cora Diamond, John McDowell, and Ian Hacking (Columbia, 2008), and The Death of the Animal: A Dialogue, with Paola Cavalieri, Matthew Calarco, Harlan Miller, and J.M. Coetzee (also Columbia, 2009). I have recently completed a co-edited collection with Branka Arsic at SUNY-Albany entitled The Other Emerson, which includes contributions by Eduardo Cadava, Stanley Cavell, Sharon Cameron, Don Pease, and several others, which appeared from Minnesota in 2010. Currently, I'm absorbed with completing a short book on biopolitics, biophilosophy, and species difference, and with editing the series Posthumanities that I founded at Minnesota, which will be publishing about six books a year--stayed tuned to my site (or theirs) for forthcoming titles. I continue to teach courses in US literature and culture, mainly in modernism (and especially modern poetry) but also selectively in the 19th century, and I spend a good deal of time working with graduate students in areas of theoretical training such as systems theory, pragmatism, animal studies, poststructuralism and non-literary culture. Over the past two decades, I've published widely on critical theory, American culture and literature, and the arts in venues such as Boundary 2, Diacritics, New Literary History, Cultural Critique, American Literature, PMLA, and New German Critique, among others. I've also enjoyed invitations to deliver numerous lectures, keynote addresses, plenary talks, roundtables, and seminars in both North America and Europe in venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University, the UCLA Humanities Consortium, The Forum for European Philosophy at the London School of Economics, the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam, and the annual Summer Academy in Frankfurt, Germany, among many others.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Bettencourt on October 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is an extremely well researched look at the animal 'other' and its place in human society. Wolfe ties in all the major philosophical players, while managing to present a refreshingly new point of view. Although I'd recommend this book to anyone doing research in the area, casual readers should be warned that this is not a light read. It is helpful, possibly even necessary, to be familiar with the doctrines of humanism before reading this work.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Penci on June 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Wow. Cary Wolfe is extremely well-read in comparison to the majority of authors I've encountered who write on the subject of humanist anthropocentrism, and this book is a refreshing work in its content and variety. I've just started to read it, and I already know it's going to be one of my new favorites. Wolfe addresses given issues and ideas in specific ways I'd previously only hoped and dreamed someone would. His work definitly stands out above the crowd in terms of the subject matter. I highly recommend it.
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