By Susan McHugh
McHugh’s investigations into fictions of individuals hoping on animals in civic life—most evidently these of provider animal clients and feminine expert horse riders—showcase exceedingly glossy and human–animal varieties of intersubjectivity. yet more and more photo violence directed at those figures exhibits their ambivalent value to altering configurations of species.
Reading those advancements with narrative diversifications of conventional better half species kinfolk in this interval— queer puppy memoirs and farm animal fictions—McHugh clarifies the intercorporeal intimacies—the perforations of species obstacles now proliferating in genetic and genomic science—and embeds the illustration of animals inside of biopolitical frameworks.
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Extra info for Animal Stories : Narrating across Species Lines
31 Like most ﬁctional detective heroes, Maclain proves exceptionally perceptive, and his blindness provides a motivation for vigilantly disciplining his own movements, memory, and senses, for instance, by training to shoot accurately at sound. 33 With this kind of presentation, the Seeing Eye dog emerges as not simply another means with which the blind man gets along but more profoundly as the key to the blind detective’s success, and with her Kendrick too moves beyond educating his readers about the realities of blindness and into advocacy for this new vision of disability as impairment effectively overcome with canine assistance.
As early advocates like Kendrick and Frank well knew, this negative linkage draws powerfully on the growing fear of disability as dehumanization that accompanies the rise of the Enlightenment subject. 11 While earlier representations arguably set up guidedog ﬁctions to walk thin lines between exploitation and critique, these narratives promote forms that blast away at the grounds of victimization, and so have the potential instead to develop mutually informing (and not mutually exclusive) discourses of disability and species with profound implications for the politics of mixed-species social life.
More precisely, they give up the struggle to account for the special sense of interdependence that characterizes the impaired-unless-canine-assisted experience in favor of using this relationship to symbolize a more personal struggle, the identity conﬂicts of a suddenly disabled white man working amid failing justice systems. The narrower focus on the blind detective’s wavering authority by the end of the twentieth century makes his mission all the more precarious, not the least because it brackets off the more complex bodily and social understandings made possible by his work with a guide dog.