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“Chinese Dogs and French Scapegoats: An Essay in Zoonomastics”


Foucault and Animals


Although Foucault was an anti-humanist, he is nevertheless considered to be writing within the western anthropocentric framework. His work may contain animal imagery, but seems to serve a strictly rhetorical purpose. "Man"’s will to power would be human, all to human. Recently, post-humanist feminists such as Clare Palmer and Paola Cavalieri, have noted what the latter calls “a missed opportunity” on Foucault’s part. I would like to unearth the animal “roots” in Foucault’s work in an attempt to upgrade Foucault’s place in contemporary (post-humanist) scholarship and at the same time, to investigate the possibilities that Indo-European languages (especially French, German and English) contain for post-humanist studies. It is my belief that a focus on animal virtue (not to be taken as “morality” nor as an essential quality, but as efficaciousness), on animal agency (or lack of ), will bring to the fore a cross-species terminology that could open a fresh perspective on major 20th century thinkers such as Foucault.


Fordham University Press
New York
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