Good time, close shave

October 14, 2010

I was lucky enough to visit Edmonton last week for a workshop on the philosophy of the nonhuman from Asian and Continental perspectives. I got to hear and discuss work on topics from Spinoza to the Mahabharata, whales to the Kali Yuga, behaviourism to Bataille. That is, I went to heaven for a couple days.  My own paper was on conservationists’ use of the overkill hypothesis of Pleistocene megafauna extinction. Without going overboard and solving too many of the world’s problems, we appear to have managed some discussion amid our conversations.

It was a well-timed hit and run squeezed between Avatar director James Cameron’s industry-embedded visit to moderate his opinion of the Albertan oil sands, and the zombie outbreak that soon followed. Somehow I managed not to be infected by either. I’m intrigued as to the original vector of this epidemic that I assume has by now swept the entire nation. Was it the vengeance of nature against its oil-hungry despoilation? Perhaps some First Nations curse straight out of a bad Hollywood movie? Or rather was it the result of their contact with the king of the consumable spectacle world and his neocolonial conservationism?

I will have to leave the citizens of Edmonton to decipher the cause of their zombification. Though perhaps the rest of us ought to at least monitor their dilemma from a safe distance. There seems to be something at stake in mediating this undecidable.

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One Response to “Good time, close shave”


  1. […] Journal for Critical Animal Studies is up (IX: I/II for those who are counting), which emerged from a wonderful workshop in Edmonton last year. Among many fine pieces by a range of wonderful philosopher-people, I have snuck in my essay on […]


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