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Lecture 6

ANT376 Lecture 6

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University of Toronto St. George
Hillary Cunningham

Lecture 6 Animal visuality February-27-14 12:08 PM Why Look at Animals? Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961 Quote from The Short Happy Life "yes, we take a beating," said Macomber still not looking at him. "I'm awfuly sorry about that lion… "you mean will I tell it at …" Lion show - Circus ***Christian the Lion - Reunion (youtube video by Lisa Williams) - 6 m views - Lion keeps hugging the humans - The lions are really happy to see them like old friends Animals and Visual culture act of seeing*** - John Berger (1926 - ) ○ He is a poet and writer ○ Early thinker question and critique role of visuality and act of 'seeing' in middle-class culture ○ The very act of "seeing" is crucial to the formation of the animal ○ Animals are embedded in representational dynamics (representations is a principal way in which we encounter animals) ○ Animals as objects that are seen and not seen in particular ways) ○ Linked to philosophical idea - animals are almost by defintiion "embedded" ○ This is how we engage with them - through the representations ○ Part of historical development ○ Processes of capitalisation and urbanisation has taken "real" animals from our lives ○ Western cities and western civilizations ○ Diff modes of representations, esp visual representation ○ Dynamics he is interested in is how animals are constituted as 'objects'  To constitute something as an object … how does this shape and define your relationship to that?  Difficult question in some ways -because we are socialized in encountering a world of objects  Similar to the idea of how women are bounded as objects  Take out characteristics of that being  Constitutions take out certain characteristics and qualities while leaving some others visible  For example: - Role of predator / prey, violent or non-violent (e.g. lion - seen as a friend and not predator, and not violent) - Subjectivity and agency (normally don’t attribute to objects)  If someone took away this, you don't have perspective (because you are an 'object')  Intelligible language or a source of language (i.e. Descartes' argument)  Political, ethical, social implications  Property - - > who owns this object? (e.g. people who have a pet sometimes call them 'owner') ○ Notion of 'seeing' = visibility and non-visibility - Jonathan Burt: ○ Went to zoos, and slaughterhouses ○ He emphasized these patterns occur in historically contingent contexts  Must understand in historical context ○ Invisibility and visibility of animals = a central dynamic in animal studies ○ Configuration of animal visibility and invisibility in historically-contingent contexts and in relation to specific technologies ○ What is considered an 'appropriate 'seeing'" of an animal and how is this linked to moral ideas (humane) and forms of social control? ○ Visuality of the zoo  Confined space  How animals move in spaces  Lion - hiding in the corner, pronounced bars / cage  Animal has lost its ability to engage with you when they are 'locked up' in the zoo  Now - Toronto Zoo, larger, less confined space, transformed cage/not barred ○ Burt suggests that these zoos as confined spaces, and ways of seeing the animal  We will see particular types of behaviors  e.g. monkeys and baboons, the animal behavior, they are not spending their energy finding food … because provided by humans, so where do they use their energy? Hypersexuality, and fighting etc…  These behaviors can be detrimental to the animal themselves  Some animals can suffer fatalities due to these energetic activity ○ What is a proper viewing of animals? ○ He argues Killing of animals keeps getting pushed farther and further away from site of consumption  For urban dweller, where animals are slaughtered and recommodified is not something we are aware of ○ In Toronto - where are animals slaughtered?  As neighborhoods gentrifies, and urbanizes, slaughterhouses relocated Lectures Page 1  As neighborhoods gentrifies, and urbanizes, slaughterhouses relocated  Political issues around condo owners ○ Animals embodied in a dynamic of representation*** - Cynthia Chris ○ Wildlife genre of animal representation and the kinds of "natures" it generates ○ How wildlife is represented ○ Wildlife and wildlife viewing as generating particular types of nature that as viewers / audiences when we watch wildlife, when we watch those nature shows we are not just watching animals, we are watching the production a particular type of nature ○ Even though wildlife viewing is supposed to be very naturalistic (so called), you don't see the camera, you are watching nature as it unfolds in front of you ○ Idea is that something spectacular happens ○ Cynthia Chris argues  These are often carefully staged and edited nature shows  Rendered invisible so certain animals and animal behaviors are rendered visible **John Berger (1926 - ) - Power and politics inherent in visuality (namely the visuality of art) - Authority and politics - University calls us "BIU" = basic income units (s
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