This book has explored the mediating role of “biopolitical subjectivity” in American literature and culture—and vice versa, the impact of animal representations on our understanding of biopolitics and subjectivity. From many vantage points, “biopolitical subjectivity” is a contradiction in terms: in current critical accounts, biopolitics is about populations, sovereignty, and violence, but most often not about subjectivity. The book has tried to offer a corrective of this view in two senses: first, in linking the emergence of biopolitics historically to the emergence of liberal subjectivity and, second, by suggesting ways in which subjectivity is the battleground as well as the byproduct of biopolitics. It has also discussed the central role of animals in the way in which we are taught to perform our humanity and in the regulation of subjects in the biopolitical state. As figures of radical alterity and the embodiment of biopolitics, animals are simultaneously exceptional of and exemplary for the biopolitical subject.
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