quarta-feira, 29 de julho de 2015

Narrative Power and Animal Liberation, or How to Experiment on Humans for the Good of the Animals and Get Away with It

by Wojciech Małecki


Arguably, one of the most pressing and unresolved problems faced by the animal liberation movement is how to communicate its message to the larger public and actually change people’s attitudes toward animal welfare. Therefore it is quite puzzling how little research has been devoted to this critical practical issue, especially when compared to the massive scholarly output on theoretical questions in animal studies.
This paper argues that a good way to improve attitudes toward non-human animals and their welfare is to use literary narratives. Extravagant though it may seem, the idea has been encouraged by the claims, made by various philosophers and literary critics, that literature has the power to make us more sensitive to the plight of non-human animals. It is also lent some credibility by the historical and psychological evidence that an analogous effect can be observed for the suffering of humans. And finally, it has now been confirmed in a series experiments conducted by my research team, consisting of psychologists, literary scholars, and a biological anthropologist. In this paper, I am going to present some of our findings, interpreting them from the vantage point of animal ethics, animal literary studies, and human-animal history.

Wojciech Małecki is assistant professor of literary theory at the Institute of Polish Philology, University of Wrocław, Poland. His research interests include American pragmatism, posthumanism, animal studies, ecocriticism, continental philosophy, aesthetics, philosophy of the body, popular culture, and the empirical study of literature.
Wojciech is the author of Embodying Pragmatism (New York: Lang, 2010 – Chinese edition forthcoming), the editor or co-editor of five collections of essays, and sits on the editorial boards of the journal Pragmatism Today and the Eger Journal of English Studies. He has published numerous book chapters and contributed to journals such as The Oxford Literary Review, Foucault Studies, Angelaki, Journal of Ecocriticism, Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics, World Literature Today, and others.

Contact details:
Dr Wojciech Malecki
Institute of Polish Philology
University of Wrocław
Plac Nankiera 15
50-140 Wrocław
Email: wojciech.malecki@wp.pl

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