Animals tend to participate in knowledge production through disruption: as anomalies, they challenge the limits of that which is known. Taking this perspective of disruptive animality as its core, “Out of Place, Out of Time” investigates how the process of knowing animals defied and shaped spatial and temporal regimes.
The management of bodily rhythms is our gateway for thinking about notions of time. During 2019–20, the group has been focusing on reproduction, as well as sexuality and labor. In an ongoing discussion group we ask: how has animal reproduction been studied and managed? What role has it played in the understanding of human reproduction, life cycles, and race? How have sexual practices and ideas about sexuality played into the analysis of the natural world? Can we consider livestock reproduction as labor? What types of intimacies develop in the context of the work of and work with animals? A publication project titled Bovine Regimes focuses on cows and other bovines as a lens for testing these questions about the relation between body work, knowledge, and time.
Beginning in 2021, the group will shift its analytic focus to spatial regimes and their disruption. It will pay particular attention to waste, and reflect on its widely accepted definition—being a matter out of place. This publication project focuses on the waste of the human and animal body, and considers the long history in which the substances that exited the body were useful and important. Such history of value challenges our assumptions about waste and the limits of the body. It illustrates how the waste of the body, along with many other materials deemed futile, was invented in modernity, and had far-reaching cultural, technological, and environmental consequences: letting go of the value of bodily materials meant recruiting precious resources to separate, hide, and discard of them; losing their value, such materials became sensorial nuisance, exposing feelings of disgust and repulsion. Participants in the project will be invited to test the assumption that the invention of the waste of the body is a modern, Western phenomenon. We will consider the added value of thinking about bodies in relation to the history of waste and the history of animals, and attempt to position the animal body in place.