Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Introduction

Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Introduction

Article excerpt

In one essay in this issue, "Foot in Mouth: Animals, Disease, and the Cannibal Complex," Helen Tiffin considers the so-called "mad cow" outbreak, from the 1980s to the present, as posing a threat "less to our brains (in the disease's lethal spongification of the cerebellar region), than to our identity as 'civilized' humans (rather than 'savages' or 'animals') and to our anthropocentric being in the world." The real fear generated by the outbreak concerns "the evident permeability of the species boundary," which in turn forces a re-thinking of "the human" and of humanist self-conceptions, with all of the binaries and boundaries--"division, categorization, and hierarchization"--on which Western epistemologies have depended.

Tiffin's remarkable essay is an indicator of the compass of this issue, the second of two Mosaic special issues on "the animal." As in the first issue, so in this one, the question of "the animal" has to do inevitably with "apparent transgressions" of certain closely guarded boundaries, and with conceptual and ecological failures that stem from a refusal to break these boundaries down. Some of the following essays deal specifically with ecocritical and environmental concerns--for instance, in Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Barthes, Marx, and Haruki Murakami's fiction. …

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