Knowing Animals Reading Group - November 26, 2018 - 'Witnessing Animal Others'

The last session of the Knowing Animals Reading Group for 2018 will discuss Kathryn Gillespie's 'Witnessing Animal Others: Bearing Witness, Grief, and the Political Function of Emotion', Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Vol. 31, Issue 3, Summer 2016.

Where: The Linkway, L4, John Medley Building (Building 191), The University of Melbourne
When: 5.30-6.30pm, Monday 26th November, 2018
All welcome, please join us for the discussion


This article theorises the politics of witnessing and grief in the context of the embodied experience of cows raised for dairy in the Pacific Northwestern United States. Bearing witness to the mundane features of dairy production and their impact on cows' physical and emotional worlds enables us to understand the violence of commodification and the political dimensions of witnessing the suffering of an Other. I argue that greater attention should be paid to the uneven hierarchies of power in the act of bearing witness. Centering the animal as a subject of witnessing allows us to see with particular clarity the ethical ambiguities at work in witnessing while at the same time attending to the importance of witnessing‐as‐politics. My project here is to lay bare moments of emotional and physical turmoil not seen as such - the lives that are rendered ungrievable - and examine how we can and should respond to them. Thus, this article contributes to feminist conversations about witnessing, grief, and the political function of emotion.

News: Both Gillespie and Dutkiewicz (October's reading group) will be speaking at an amazing free event hosted by the Deakin Critical Animal Studies Network in Melbourne on the 11th December 2018, as well as speaking at the Animaladies II conference later this year at the University of Wollongong.