What is Enlightenment? The concept of fellow and companion species, of creaturely life, opens up new possibilities for re-asking Kant's question, and for revisiting historical definitions of the Enlightenment. These historical definitions and the genealogies they presuppose in turn raise questions about ethics and emancipation. How have relations between humans and animals been configured with regard to ethics, given gross disparities of power between species? How might alternatives to the Euroamerican ideal of political equality as the necessary ground for any ethical relation be found? A non-Eurocentric genealogy of the Enlightenment derived from European exchanges with the Ottoman empire reveals possible Eastern precedents for European Enlightenment ideas about kindness rather than cruelty in human-animal relations. The particular case of English people and imported Eastern horses during the long eighteenth century richly reveals Ottoman precedents at work. If horsemanship might be understood to mirror political governance and society at large, Ottoman horsemanship and forms of governance and sociality potentially have much to teach us since the ethics they instantiate does not presuppose political equality as a necessary ground.


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pp. 11-30
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