Abstract

Modern Western society assumes that nonhuman animals do not possess an episteme comparable to humans; this presumption is used to exclude nonhuman species from knowledge-making and practices that intimately affect animal lives. For example, conservation policy that appropriates wildlife lands and reshapes animal societies through deportation (translocation) and genocide (culls and harvesting) is imposed without animal consent or consultation. Now, however, science has eliminated the conceptual foundation that sanctions modern humanity's monopoly on epistemic authority. By illustrating trans-species science in the making, ape-human participatory action research (PAR) at the Great Ape Trust, Iowa, dispels the myth that language and science are the unique property and privilege of Homo sapiens. This and other scientific research reveals animal objectification as a purely political strategy to maintain modern human hegemony. To refute the error of anthropocentrism, ecocriticism needs to consider current scientific work on animal agency and embrace new modes of communication and models of knowledge that bring other species into dialogue and authority as equal partners.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6520
Print ISSN
1063-1801
Pages
pp. 15-30
Launched on MUSE
2011-04-23
Open Access
No
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