This commentary on the dialogue between Sunaura Taylor and Sara Orning seeks to understand the connections they draw among pandemic conditions, the treatment of animal life, disability, and the requirement for new networks of care. Along the way, it becomes clear that certain ideals of human existence that disavow its constitutive animality are responsible for notions of anthropocentric autonomy with clearly destructive consequences. Their argument that animal studies is linked with disability studies rests upon the premise that normative versions of the human deny interdependency that is central to care networks. The idea that diasbled people somehow fail the human norm is one instance of the cruelty that also denies the value of animal life. Animality, which links humans to animals, is misrepresented by the idea of “bestialization.” The problem is not that humans are treated as animals (they are animals), but that “bestialization” names the mistreatment of animals that becomes then a term for the mistreatment of humans. Pandemic practices bring out those relations of interdependency that counter false and destructive distinctions, offering a way to think about the communities of the living.


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pp. 687-694
Launched on MUSE
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