Mon April 13: Greg Garrard, “Being Zoo: Bestial Humans and Sexual Animals,” Oecologies Speaker Series at Green College, UBC
Please join us for the final talk of the semester in the Oecologies Speaker Series at Green College, at UBC:
(Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, University of British Columbia, Okanagan)
“Being Zoo: Bestial Humans and Sexual Animals”
5-6:30pm, Mon April 13, Coach House, Green College, UBC
Summary: Following a period of liberalization in the 1960s and 1970s, sex with animals is being gradually re-criminalized: Germany has recently banned “actions alien to the species,” while Sweden has recently proposed a law against “bestiality.” Reports of the debates construct zoophiles as sexually “predatory” (itself a zoomorphic term) and the animals involved as innocent “victims.” Because in all these countries cruelty to animals is already illegal, however, it can only be zoophilic desire as such that is abominable. Moreover, sexual interaction with animals is fundamental to the workings of the intensive meat industry, so the laws have had to frame the bans carefully, specifying, as best they can, erotic intention. The arguments in favour of criminalization equivocate intriguingly between the older, anthropocentric stigmatization of “bestiality” and newer rhetorics of animal welfare and rights. The two often mix poorly together. Meanwhile, queer ecocriticism and critical animal studies have been re-evaluating animal sexuality: Bruce Bagemihl’s landmark Biological Exuberance is a non-human Pride parade of sexual configurations, while Joan Roughgarden overtly analogizes the diversity of human and animal eroticism in Evolution’s Rainbow. “Being Zoo” will engineer a collision between the new laws against zoophilia and the celebration of queer eroticism among animals, taking in such literary and cinematic representations of zoophilia as Robinson Devor’s Zoo, Marian Engel’s Bear, and Peter Shaffer’s Equus.
All those attending talks in this series are invited to stay for dinner at Green College with the speaker. Those interested in attending dinner are asked to make a reservation at least by noon the business day before. Contact 604-822-8660 or visit the Green College website for details.
“Oecologies: Histories of Sustainability” is a Speaker Series sponsored by Green College that gathers scholars from the humanities living and working along the North American Pacific coast to investigate the idea of “oecology,” an older spelling of the modern concept “ecology.” For event details, abstracts, and speaker information, please visit oecologies.com or view the event poster. Also follow us on Twitter (@Oecologies) and “Like” us on Facebook (facebook.com/oecologies)! If you have other questions about Oecologies, please do not hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or our assistant, Sarah Crover (email@example.com).