Fleshing Out the Ambiguous Body: J. M. Coetzee's "The Humanities in Africa" as a Critique of Binary Conceptions of Embodiment

Fleshing Out the Ambiguous Body: J. M. Coetzee's "The Humanities in Africa" as a Critique of... transcendent entities, independent minds that "happen" to inhabit a "mechanical" body, but we are deeply entrenched in a living, carnal, animal body. And indeed, nonhuman animal bodies are overwhelmingly present in Coetzee's oeuvre, including Elizabeth Costello. Some scholars have interpreted Coetzee's pervasive use of nonhuman animals as always related to insights that concern human subjects as well. Louis Tremaine, for instance, believes that "Coetzee's narrative use of animals . . . reveal[s] a deeper, foundational concern with the condition of living 67 beings, one that at least partially accounts for the source of Coetzee's response to the various forms of human oppression that he records."3 Cynthia Willett maintains that Coetzee's ethics as displayed in his compelling Disgrace might be best understood not by appealing to Kantian principles or an ethics of alterity but precisely by calling on a new understanding of the meanings revealed in "the human encounter with other animal species."4 Chloë Taylor attempts to expand Judith Butler's ethics through an animal ethics derived from Coetzee's Disgrace, an ethics of empathy that involves both human and nonhuman animals.5 On this subject, specifically as it appears in Elizabeth Costello, Stephen Mulhall argues that the pervasive interest in the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies University of Nebraska Press

Fleshing Out the Ambiguous Body: J. M. Coetzee's "The Humanities in Africa" as a Critique of Binary Conceptions of Embodiment

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Frontiers Editorial Collective.
ISSN
1536-0334
Publisher site
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Abstract

transcendent entities, independent minds that "happen" to inhabit a "mechanical" body, but we are deeply entrenched in a living, carnal, animal body. And indeed, nonhuman animal bodies are overwhelmingly present in Coetzee's oeuvre, including Elizabeth Costello. Some scholars have interpreted Coetzee's pervasive use of nonhuman animals as always related to insights that concern human subjects as well. Louis Tremaine, for instance, believes that "Coetzee's narrative use of animals . . . reveal[s] a deeper, foundational concern with the condition of living 67 beings, one that at least partially accounts for the source of Coetzee's response to the various forms of human oppression that he records."3 Cynthia Willett maintains that Coetzee's ethics as displayed in his compelling Disgrace might be best understood not by appealing to Kantian principles or an ethics of alterity but precisely by calling on a new understanding of the meanings revealed in "the human encounter with other animal species."4 Chloë Taylor attempts to expand Judith Butler's ethics through an animal ethics derived from Coetzee's Disgrace, an ethics of empathy that involves both human and nonhuman animals.5 On this subject, specifically as it appears in Elizabeth Costello, Stephen Mulhall argues that the pervasive interest in the

Journal

Frontiers: A Journal of Women StudiesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Apr 12, 2017

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