PPEH Fellow and Program Coordinator Carolyn Fornoff will present her work on animal studies and Latin American literature during Professor Bethany Wiggin's "Environmental Humanities: Theory, Methods, Practice" course. Fornoff, a 5th year PhD candidate in the Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese will present an overview of her dissertation, Species Sadness: Sex, Politics and Nonhuman Creativity in Latin America. Please find the blurb below:
Although the “humanities” contains the word “human” within its very name, scholars across disciplines are increasingly interested in decentering this anthropocentric focus to consider how nonhuman forces—from technologies to natural phenomena—also shape culture. In Latin America, the nonhuman has always been a foundational site of contention: colonization was driven by desire for spices and space, and colonizers described the indigenous population they encountered there as monstrous and animalistic. In my dissertation, I analyze how animality continues to punctuate anxiety about the stability of things in twentieth-century Latin American literature. Examining the cultural work of animal representations in novels and poetry, Species Sadness tracks the ways in which the animal operates as a figure that contests how the human—or a certain type of human marked by sexuality, gender, and race—has been privileged by society. My central claim is that during moments of social change (fascism, feminism and revolution), fiction and poetry turn to species to mediate subjectivity: relentlessly revisiting the question of who is, and who is not, “human.'