Beneath our skins, and with help from our bodies,
we are all concrescing subjects.
You might also enjoy The Religious Lives of Animals
and Birdsong in E-Flat Major: The Music of Robert Burrell
"A turn to the animal is underway in the humanities, most obviously in such fields as philosophy, literary studies, cultural studies, and religious studies. One important catalyst for this development has been the remarkable body of animal theory issuing from such thinkers as Jacques Derrida and Donna Haraway. What might the resulting interdisciplinary field, commonly termed animality studies, mean for theology, biblical studies, and other cognate disciplines? Is it possible to move from animal theory to creaturely theology?
This volume is the first full-length attempt to grapple centrally with these questions. It attempts to triangulate philosophical and theoretical reflections on animality and humanity with theological reflections on divinity. If the animal human distinction is being rethought and retheorized as never before, then the animal human divine distinctions need to be rethought, retheorized, and retheologized along with it. This is the task that the multidisciplinary team of theologians, biblical scholars, philosophers, and historians assembled in this volume collectively undertakes. They do so frequently with recourse to Derrida's animal philosophy and also with recourse to an eclectic range of other relevant thinkers, such as Haraway, Giorgio Agamben, Emmanuel Levinas, Gloria Anzaldua, Helene Cixous, A. N. Whitehead, and Lynn White Jr.
The result is a volume that will be essential reading for religious studies audiences interested in ecological issues, animality studies, and posthumanism, as well as for animality studies audiences interested in how constructions of the divine have informed constructions of the nonhuman animal through history."
-- Published by Fordham University Press
"Soprano saxophonist Paul Winter is one of the pioneers of world music, combining elements of African, Asian, Latin, and Russian music with American jazz. Winter was one of the first to incorporate the sounds of nature and wildlife into his acoustical compositions, including the complex and poignant vocalizations of the humpback whale, wolves and birds."
-- Cicely Eastman for Brattleboro Reformer Ovation
Images that Give Voice to the Animals
Being with Animals
"Jan Harrison, the artist whose images appear in Divinamality, is especially attuned to the world-making subjectivity of our closest biological and spiritual kin: the other animals. She knows that their subjectivity cannot be separated from their bodies; thus she speaks of animals as body-souls. This makes good sense to those of us who are influenced by Whitehead's philosophy. Whitehead says that wherever living beings on our planet happen to be, they are always with their bodies, and their bodies provide a sense of location, a vantage point. This is part of what he means by the withness of the body. They -- we -- are not bodiless souls; we are embodied souls. Our bodies give us our vulnerability, our sense of location, our capacities for self-expression, and much of our wisdom. They are the most intimate part of our world.
Whitehead's philosophy also shows how we can know the subjectivity of other body-souls, even if they belong to different species. Consider the cat on the left. On the one hand we can approach her from a third-person point of view, in which case she is one about whom we might claim some knowledge. This is the kind of knowledge a biologist might seek. But we can approach her as a concrescing subject with whom we have rapport. This rapport is a kind of knowledge, too. But it is a knowing with rather than a knowing about. Jan Harrison is interested in the second kind of knowing: knowing with other animals. She is interested in inter-species communication and, still more deeply, inter-species communion. As a Whiteheadian might put it, she is interested in how we can prehend the feelings of other animals empathically: in how we might feel their feelings through experience in the mode of causal efficacy.
Experience in the mode of causal efficacy is Whitehead's way of talking about experiences, conscious and unconscious, in which we received feelings from others and are inwardly moved by the feelings we receive. In the reception the others become part of us, even as they are other than us. They become our bodies, too. This means that our own flesh is not reducible to our skin. It includes the feelings of others, too. This is what we know when we know with others. The colors Jan Harrison chooses are part of the withness of their bodies -- and thus their feelings -- in us."
-- Jay McDaniel, from Animals and Animality: Reflections on the Art of Jan Harrison and Divinanimality.
Wolf Eyes by the Paul Winter Consort