Tuesday 19 October 2021, 2-3pm
The Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre (ShARC) is proud to present a virtual presentation, followed by a short Q&A, with André Krebber, University of Kassel.
Dr Krebber’s presentation is entitled ‘Zoological Decolonisation's of the European Subject.’ You can read the abstract below:
The term colonisation can be considered in both a narrow meaning, as the violent European imperialist movement of early modern times, or a broad, somewhat figurative meaning, as the proliferous infiltration and overtaking of certain structures by others – political, emotional, or epistemological. Both, of course, are closely related. Part of the project of colonisation, reflected from its early days right up into the 19th century by the great explorative missions, was the classification of the natural world. As much as this endeavour was concerned with the discovery and apprehension of what was new to the European eyes, as much was it implicated in the domestication and oppression of the colonised spaces.
These natural worlds and especially their animals, from the Americas to Africa, Asia and the South Pacific, were not, as often suggested, unknown of course, if unknown to Europeans. Yet instead of integrating with local cosmologies, these missions adapted the fauna to their specific ways of ordering the world. Thereby, both animals and plants were made recognisable for and to the structures of production and governance the Europeans had brought with them, and thus appropriable, sometimes more although more often less successfully.
In this paper, I want to bring the challenge of decolonisation back home to Europe. I will argue that the European subject itself is colonised by the same intellectual structures that the European “age of exploration” exported into the world, and that the European subject requires decolonisation from them in the struggle to restructure our relationship to the world. By way of a confrontation with the encounters of the European explorers with the flora in the new locales I finally show, how such decolonisation becomes enacted in confrontation with animals specifically. Thus, the struggle for decolonisation becomes reversed, by emancipating the European subject from itself through the cosmologies that Europeans colonised in the first place.