The Unfinished Business of Anna Kingsford – Towards an Enchanted Animal Ethic
Keywords:Animal Experimentation, Anna Kingsford, Sorcery, enchantment, Vivisection
This article takes seriously the claim made by 19th century antivivisectionist Anna Kingsford that experiments on animals constitute a type of malevolent sorcery, more specifically a demonic blood sacrifice. In so doing, the paper follows the work of Pignarre and Stengers in their explication of sorcery and how to “get a hold” of its operations despite its stupefying powers. To that end, I will investigate the pragmatic potential of understanding experiments on animals in this way, and more broadly, following the work of posthuman and material feminists, as a type of onto-theological phenomenon of spacetimemattering (in Karen Barad’s terms). This understanding will pay particular attention to the intra-active exclusions that haunt the laboratory space and, following a neo-Spinozist feminist approach, I will explicate the ways in which the human-animal power relations within the laboratory inhibit the creation of joyful multispecies “common notions.” In order to respond to the ghostly presences which haunt the laboratory space, and to affirm joyful, multispecies relations for “as well as possible worlds” (Puig de la Bellacasa), I will finally argue for an affirmative multispecies politics of what Rosi Bradiotti calls “zoe-centered egalitarianism” through a posthuman politics of “grace,” or “the leaving be of nonhumans” (MacCormack) which I frame as an enactment of an enchanted animal ethic.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Mitch Goldsmith
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