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Animalia AmericanaAnimal Representations and Biopolitical Subjectivity$
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Colleen Boggs

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161237

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161237.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Animalia Americana
Author(s):

Colleen Glenney Boggs

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231161237.003.0007

This book explores a key mechanism of biopolitics by which forms of power ranging from state authority to familial intimacy get conjoined and worked out via animal representations. More specifically, it highlights the crucial role of animals in the ways Americans enact their humanity and regulate subjects in the biopolitical state. Drawing on the writings of Frederick Douglass, Edgar Allan Poe, and Emily Dickinson, the book explains how biopower thrives on the strategic ambivalence between who is considered human and what is judged as animal. It demonstrates the exceptionality and exemplarity of animals, as both figures of radical alterity and the embodiment of biopolitics, to the biopolitical state. In addressing the cultural and political dimensions of animal representations as well as their significance, the book brings American literary studies in dialogue with critical animal studies.

Keywords:   biopolitics, animal representations, animals, Frederick Douglass, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, biopower, American literary studies, animal studies

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