Wilder powers: Morality and animality in tales of war and terror

Jean M. Langford


Among the figures of animality evoked in narratives of violence are the "beast" who perpetrates acts of brutality and the debased creature who is subjected to captivity, forced labor, or slaughter. Yet a third figure of animality appears in the stories of animistically inclined emigrants who survived war and terror in Laos or Cambodia: the wild animal as transmigrated ancestor or capriciously sympathetic spirit who offers a powerful if unpredictable source of protection. Encounters with fantastic animals implicitly question the relationship between humanity and animality that often prevails in accounts of violence, opening possibilities for a zoopolitics of morality and animality.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau3.3.010