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Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects



The GW Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute is happy to announce the first volume in its Oliphaunt Books series. We hope to have this volume available very early in 2012.

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects (forthcoming, ed. Jeffrey J. Cohen) examines what happens when we cease to assume that only humans exert agency. Through a careful examination of medieval, early modern and contemporary lifeworlds, these essays collectively argue against ecological anthropocentricity. Sheep, wolves, camels, flowers, cotton, chairs, magnets, landscapes, refuse and gems are more than mere objects. They act; they withdraw; they make demands; they connect into lively networks that might foster a new humanism, or that might proceed with indifference towards human affairs. Through what ethics do we respond to these activities and forces? To what futures do these creatures and objects invite us, especially when they appear within the texts and cultures of the "distant" past?

Table of Contents
  • Jeffrey J. Cohen (George Washington University): Introduction, "All Things"
  • Karl Steel (Brooklyn College): “With the World, or Bound to Face the Sky: The Postures of the Wolf Child of Hesse”
  • Sharon Kinoshita (University of California, Santa Cruz): “Animals and the Medieval Culture of Empire”
  • Kellie Robertson (University of Wisconsin-Madison): “Exemplary Rocks”
  • Valerie Allen (John Jay College of Criminal Justice): “Mineral Virtue”
  • Jane Bennett (Johns Hopkins University): “Powers of the Hoard: Notes on Material Agency"
  • Peggy McCracken (University of Michigan): “The Human and the Floral”
  • Eileen Joy (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville): “You Are Here: A Manifesto
  • Julian Yates (University of Delaware): “Sheep Tracks”
  • Julia Reinhard Lupton (University of California, Irvine): “The Renaissance Res Publica of Furniture”
Response essays:
  • Lowell Duckert, "Speaking Stones, John Muir, and a Slower (Non)humanities"
  • Jonathan Gil Harris, "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Twenty Questions"
  • Nedda Mehdizadeh, "Ruinous Monument': Transporting Objects in Herbert's Persepolis"

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