Animal Scents: Tracking the Betrayal of Animality Otherwise with/in Merleau-Ponty, Derrida and Levinas
This book is a guide for tracking an animal in a text or in a jungle. It offers a non-dichotomous, non-totalizing, primordially ethical relation of self to animal. A relation where the self is not radically detached, disinterested and alienated from a marginalized and valueless animal other. Out of this work emerges alternative 'conceptions' of animal alterity. Conceptions where the self is fully imbedded in and has responsibility to the other, yet does not (only) appropriate its alterity into conception. Here I explore the structure, economy and dynamics of species differentiation between the human and the animal, within the realm of knowledge, and beyond, with the goal of capturing the animal otherwise-as uncapturable. The animal I am tracking recedes like the horizon upon approach, yet it could not be more intimately close to me. To help us track the trace and scent of our messianic quarry I draw on the works of Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, and Derrida.