Abstract

With the rise of the genomic revolution, the human appears to be undergoing a radical retailoring in the cultural and scientific imagination. When read together, Sherman Alexie’s short stories in The Toughest Indian in the World (2000) and Monique Truong’s novel The Book of Salt (2003) suggest that this is not so. Both authors show how colonialist anxieties around bloodlines, miscegenation, and the human/animal border circulating early-twentieth-century eugenics remain ensconced in twenty-first-century gains in genetic science. This essay takes the literal bleeding over species lines that Alexie’s and Truong’s queer of color characters enact as an invitation to probe the limits of biological taxonomies. On a general level, the article asks: How do the distinctions made between human and nonhuman animals produce racialized and sexualized subjects? More specifically, it examines how literary representations of interspecies intimacies might reshape how we perceive biological difference in the twenty-first century.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6520
Print ISSN
1063-1801
Pages
pp. 1-27
Launched on MUSE
2014-06-06
Open Access
No
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