Louisa Mackenzie: Mon. 5 Nov. 2012

9 October 2012 Comments Off on Louisa Mackenzie: Mon. 5 Nov. 2012

5.00 – 6.00 p.m.
FHIS Lounge (room 799)
Buchanan Tower

LOUISA MACKENZIE (University of Washington)

“Men Who Stare at Cats: Renaissance (Post)Humanism and Animal Inscrutability.”

Early modern humanism puts animals at the centre of many of its most profoundly ethical questions, and anticipates much of what is currently being done in Critical Animal Studies and the posthumanities. Long before Derrida’s cat stared back at him, 16th-century philosophers and poets were marvelling at the ways in which cats (and other animals) returned their gazes, throwing into question the basis of any epistemological certainty.

Louisa Mackenzie grew up in Scotland and did her graduate work in Berkeley, California before moving to the UW in 2002. Her research focus is primarily on early modern French culture which she reads through various contemporary critical lenses including ecocriticism and, more recently, queer ecology and Animal Studies. Her book The Poetry of Place: Lyric, Landscape and Ideology in Renaissance France (University of Toronto Press, 2010) is an interdisciplinary study of how a subjective and affective sense of place was produced by poetry in dialogue with cartography, land use history and other knowledge spheres. Other research and teaching interests include women’s writing from all periods, travel writing, science fiction and utopic/dystopic literature, queer theory and historiography. She is currently starting a book-length project on animals as “queer bodies of knowledge” in 16th-century France. Community activities include volunteering with the GSBA scholarship fund, providing academic scholarships to LGBT-identified students. She has also served as a College Board Commissioner for AP French.

— as a follow-up to this lecture, a general discussion meeting on nature themes in Early Romance texts has been suggested for some time next term.

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