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Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Perverse Modernities)by Mel Y. Chen
Synopses & Reviews
In Animacies, Mel Y. Chen draws on recent debates about sexuality, race, and affect to examine how matter that is considered insensate, immobile, or deathly animates cultural lives. Toward that end, Chen investigates the blurry division between the living and the dead, or that which is beyond the human or animal. Within the field of linguistics, animacy has been described variously as a quality of agency, awareness, mobility, sentience, or liveness. Chen turns to cognitive linguistics to stress how language habitually differentiates the animate and the inanimate. Expanding this construct, Chen argues that animacy undergirds much that is pressing and indeed volatile in contemporary culture, from animal rights debates to biosecurity concerns.
Chen's book is the first to bring the concept of animacy together with queer of color scholarship, critical animal studies, and disability theory. Through analyses of dehumanizing insults, the meanings of queerness, animal protagonists in recent Asian/American art and film, the lead in toys panic in 2007, and the social lives of environmental illness, Animacies illuminates a hierarchical politics infused by race, sexuality, and ability. In this groundbreaking book, Chen rethinks the criteria governing agency and receptivity, health and toxicity, productivity and stillnessandmdash;and demonstrates how attention to the affective charge of matter challenges commonsense orderings of the world.
Mel Y. Chen draws on studies of sexuality, race, and affect to consider how matter that is considered insensate, immobile, deathly, or otherwise "wrong," animates cultural life in important ways.
About the Author
Mel Y. Chen is Assistant Professor of Gender and Womenand#39;s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Animating Animacy 1
Part I. Words
1. Language and Mattering Humans 23
2. Queer Animation 57
Part II. Animals
3. Queer Animality 89
4. Animals, Sex, and Transsubstantiation 127
Part III. Metals
5. Lead's Racial Matters 159
6. Following Mercurial Affect 189
Afterword: The Spill and the Sea 223
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