Becoming Beyond the Anthropocene: Thinking and Writing Our Animal Selves


Without intervention, the Anthropocene portends a certain telos. From this, and from liberal humanism, I make a timely ontological detour and provoke a different future to what is looking predictable; a post-human, metamorphic future — one with no end in sight. My PhD comprises a dystopian/magical realism novella-in-progress (set mainly in Japan) and an accompanying critical essay, both of which engage aspects of the growing field of critical animal studies with particular focus on insectoid metamorphoses. I propose presenting a short theoretical paper informed by my thesis and including a reading from my novella, Order of Our Lady Cicada. Both will explore that which exceeds representation; the corporeal, by unsettling the notion that “nothing is beyond the text”, with provocation to a more embodied, metamorphic encounter with it, particularly in the exchange of energies between the acts of reading and writing. Through critiquing transcendence in metaphor, in the tradition of Kafka, Deleuze and Guattari and Braidotti, my presentation also reclaims embodied metamorphoses in the context of the Anthropocene, as distinct from simply positioning animals as Others or mere metaphors, as has been the tendency of liberal humanist authors and scholars since the Enlightenment. In de-centering the western liberal construct of mind, I am calling for a corporeal literary practice which simultaneously transgresses the discipline, becoming too, a cornerstone of a new “post-humanities”; un-doing and de-colonising so we can think and write our animal selves immanently, in any discipline, during and beyond the present epoch.

Author Information
Michelle Braunstein, Murdoch University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2019
Stream: Literary Arts Practices

This paper is part of the ACAH2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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