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The philosophical essay

chapter
posted on 2022-10-05, 10:34 authored by Josh MilburnJosh Milburn

In her contribution to the 2018 collection Thinking Veganism in Literature and Culture, Sara Salih recounts the challenges of teaching animal studies in a literature department. She began the class with a work of philosophy and, in her chapter, asks:

What was a bunch of literature and creative writing students supposed to make of Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, the first book on our reading list? Instead of engaging with the book’s uncompromising moral message, the students focused on Singer’s rhetorical strategies, which some of them dismissed as polemic. I now understood I had unconsciously wished to shock, perhaps even convert the students taking my course, and I felt disappointed and stupid when I saw how they responded to the text as any other text – a literary artefact to be analysed and assessed. (63)

The vegan students had heard it all before, recounts Salih, while the non-vegans became instantly defensive (63). Salih “thought of withdrawing from” her own class, and drafted an email to Singer – but this was never sent. “[T]he class,” she reports, “quietened down when we got onto the more familiar territory of literary texts” (64). [...]

Funding

British Academy (grant number PF19\100101)

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • International Relations, Politics and History

Published in

The Edinburgh Companion to Vegan Literary Studies

Publisher

Edinburgh University Press

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© The Author

Publisher statement

This book chapter was published in the book The Edinburgh Companion to Vegan Literary Studies. The publisher's website is at: https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-the-edinburgh-companion-to-vegan-literary-studies.html

Publication date

2022-09-30

Copyright date

2022

ISBN

9781474493314

Book series

Edinburgh Companions to Literature and the Humanities

Language

  • en

Editor(s)

Laura Wright; Emelia Quinn

Depositor

Dr Josh Milburn. Deposit date: 4 October 2022

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