Aug 26, 2010

Disability, the animal, and the question of the "lack"

Long time since I've posted, but I've certainly been busy reading and writing and going to conferences. Right now we are having our annual international seminar on Gender Studies here at UFSC called Fazendo Gênero, which is in its 9th installment. I've had the pleasure of participating of a symposium within the event focused on culturar criticism, Border Studies and Silviano Santiago's concept of the entre-lugar, which was later adopted by Mary Louise Pratt as The Contact Zone.

I wrote my article on and talked about the sometimes tense contact zone between Disability Studies and Animal Studies. This has been explored by many scholars I have read, and the main dilemma seems to be that DS asks us to humanize our ideas of disability, while AS urges us to let go of the concept of the human as a yardstick for moral relevance and, sometimes, to pinpoint how dangerous it might be to a trans-species ethics to give higher moral consideration to humans regardless of their cognitive capacities. This last argument is, of course, based on the premisse that all our ethical systems are sustained by the concept of mental capacity, which supposedly is the only thing that can make you even realize that you're happy or suffering.