Book Review: Kari Weil’s Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now?

Thinking Animals: Why Animal Studies Now?

Author: Kari Weil

New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.

Pp. XXIV + 190. ISBN 978-0-231-14808-5, paperback. Price 1413 /-.

Review by Mahesh Sharma, PhD Scholar, The English and foreign languages university, Hyderabad

The discourse of animal studies borrowed not only from the seminal works of Peter Singer[1] and Tom Regan[2] but also got enriched by the ecological and social movements like Great Ape Project (1993) and interdisciplinary approaches like Feminism, Minority Studies/Ethnicity, Visual Studies, Post colonialism, Post humanism etc. The philosophical debates about identity, difference, representation etc have also challenged the framework of animal studies. Kari Weil’s book is a comprehensive account of such theoretical issues, wrought with her first hand knowledge in the area.  Her training in literary studies has enabled the author to examine and illustrate the abstruse challenges posed by postmodern uncertainty. This book is certainly a deconstructive approach to understand human-animal relationship and should be placed side by side with books like Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Post humanist Theory (2003) by Cary Wolfe and Steve Baker’s Postmodern Animal (2000).

Not Rights but Place: Thoughts on Animal Studies in the Form of a Book Review

The book: Placing Animals: An Introduction to the Geography of Human-Animal Relations

Author: Julie Urbanik

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012

Paperback: 206 pages

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (August 2, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1442211857

ISBN-13: 978-1442211858

Review by Nell Kriesberg, North Carolina State University, USA

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Julie Urbanik’s Placing Animals: An Introduction to the Geography of Human-Animal Relations,one of the newer books in the growing genre of Animal Studies, is well worth a close examination. In this brief review I would like to present Urbanik’s book as charting the path of critical shifts in our thinking about animals. The author presents this long and convoluted story in clear, precise language, free of jargon; it is geared for undergraduate students who are in the beginning stages of thinking about animals and thus works splendidly as an introductory overview for a first or second course in Animal Studies.

Retelling Human and Non-Human Affiliations in Alain Mabanckou’s Mémoires de porc-épic: A Zoocritical Exploration

Eunice E.OMONZEJIE, Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria

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Abstract

In African human societies, animals as part of the physical environment play an important role in the conceptualization of spirituality and belief systems.  The manner in which they are depicted in narrative fiction often reflects the attitude of a people about animals embedded in their religion, cultureand life philosophies.  My study sought to explore the representation of animals in African prose fiction of French expression, focusing on Alain Mabanckou’s novel Mémoires de porc-épic(2006). The novel redirects the reader’s vision of nature,some types of animals and culture especially as it pertains to the spiritual double. It influences the way we view animals as harbingers of evil by depicting them as being under the total control of man executing his nefarious desires. I also examined the philosophical views that informedMabanckou’s manner of animal presentation.Methodologically, I have aptly applied to this research the literary theory of zoocriticismbeing that aspect of literary criticism which is concerned with animal representation, animal subjectivity and animal rights. My analysis revealedMabanckouas an ecocritical novelist who employs his narrative skills to arguefor the preservation of interconnected affiliations of all creatures and the earth.

Human-Animal Dialectic in Giorgio Agamben

P. Prayer Elmo Raj, Karunya University, Coimabtore, India

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Abstract

The human-animal discretion marks a noteworthy dialectic in Agamben’s philosophical corpus that connotes the conception of human’s interconnection with the animal other has established anthropological features as inherently encountering the systemic networks of power that underlies the social echelons. The incomprehensible biblical image of the righteous symbolized with animal heads after the Day of Judgement creates a plinth for Agamben to survey the manifold means in which the anthropological machine of Western intellect impact the privileging of the human over the animal. Homo Sapiens as an anthropo-sociological category is an apparatus that identifies the centrality of human beings involving a mobility that furnishes the human-human dialectic configuring the third form of life, a bare life that dismantle the machine but the neither human nor nature are allowed to subjugate the other but represent a dialectical harmony, a “dialectic at a standstill” from a Benjaminian point of view that distances the non-happenstance.

ICT in Higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges

Ajit Mondal, University of Kalyani, Kalyani, West Bengal

&

Dr. Jayanta Mete, University of Kalyani, Kalyani, West Bengal


Abstract

Since time immemorial, education has been an important instrument for social and economic transformation. Presently higher education in India is experiencing a major transformation in terms of access, equity and quality. This transition is highly influenced by the swift developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs) all over the world. The introduction of ICTs in the higher education has profound implications for the whole education process especially in dealing with key issues of access, equity, management, efficiency, pedagogy and quality. At the same time the optimal utilization of opportunities arising due to diffusion of ICTs in higher education system presents a profound challenge for higher educational institutions. In this backdrop, the paper addresses the opportunities and challenges posed by integration of ICTs in various aspects of higher education in the present scenario.

Virtual Effects with Virtuous Personality: A Sufi Approach to the Ethical Aspects of ICT in Education

Mohammad Shaheer Siddiqui,Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, India

 

Abstract

Three discoveries of man gave revolutionary dimension to human race viz. fire, wheel and language but fourth one has changed the global face i.e. ICT. No doubt ICT played much important part in almost all the arenas for national development but its role in education should not be confined to the use of CAI or other technology to make learning mechanical process. Student is not just a ‘brain’ of flash and blood; he has a heart, a soul and waves of dynamic ever fresh emotions unlike the rigid computer software. Education of heart and soul is much required today. Take an extract from the paper on ‘Education for Peace’ by NCERT (2006). A teacher had a dream in which she saw one of her students fifty years ahead. The student was angry and asked a number of questions complaining of the irresponsible teaching and unripe education. What pinches more is the following extract. “With ever greater anger, the student shouted, ‘You helped me extend my hands with incredible machines, my eyes with telescope and microscopes, my ears with telephones, radios and sonar, my brain with computers, but you did not help me extend my heart, love and concern for the human family. Teacher you gave me half a loaf.” The role of new technology becomes more responsible and serious because it works sometimes as dummy teachers. There requires a collaboration of ICT and value based education, collaboration of technology and tradition and collaboration of virtual effects and virtuous personality. Increasing scenario of ‘educated and technological crime’ is the outcome of such disintegrated education system. This paper is a little effort to identify the need of ethical aspects of ICT in Education.

Integrating ICT in Teaching Learning Framework in India: Initiatives and Challenges

Rumpa Das, Mahestala College, West Bengal, India

Abstract

Acknowledging education as a tool for social change necessitates incorporating changes in the methods of dissemination of knowledge to synchronise with emerging trends in all sectors of life. According to a World Bank report, disparities in the levels of ICT readiness and use could translate into disparities in level of productivities and hence could influence a country’s rate of economic growth. Understanding and leveraging ICT is therefore critical for countries striving for continued social and economic progress. Hence, the necessity for Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based resources to be embedded in educational systems to facilitate students to be acquainted, familiarised and skilled in such tools and environments. But this is a mammoth task and policies, programmes and initiatives are to be taken for this. This paper discusses some of the initiative and tries to mark out certain key areas which pose a great challenge to all the stake holders in higher education.

The Advent of ICT in Higher Education and Its Implications

Anupama Singh, Sibpur Ambika Hindi High School, Howrah, India

 Abstract

The introduction of ICT in the last two decades or so in India has brought about enormous changes in every sphere of life and especially in the field of education. This new digital technology has become inevitable and essential and it promises revolutionary benefits for the present and future. But along the way it also poses certain challenges which need to be addressed holistically in effective ways in order to keep pace with the rest of the world and ensure a robust system. This paper takes an overview of the present state of ICT in India and discusses the core issues relating to planning and implementation.

Mobile Communication Devices as a Tool of Educational Process: a Brief Reference to Indian Scenario

Abhijit Mitra, Bhairab Ganguly College, Belgharia, Kolkata  

 Abstract

Mobile technology has opened various avenues for education. M-learning is a new way of learning, in which mobile devices including handheld tablets, PDA, mobile phones, symbian and smart phones are used for teaching-learning purposes. It makes learning portable, spontaneous, effective and exciting. We can record the lectures, read E-books, provide feedback, access internet, multimedia materials, and practical exercises and use software for educational purpose. This paper discusses the concept of M-learning and examines its significance in education. The paper explores the challenges of M-learning and examines the present trends of M-learning in India.

Fostering Autonomous Learning through Technology in the Language Classroom

A. Linda Primlyn, Scott Christian College, Nagercoil, India       

 Abstract

This paper examines the use of autonomous learning through technology in the language classroom. In the classrooms, learners should be equipped with the tools for their own learning, while the teacher guides and provides support. Listening, speaking, comprehension projects which could be helped by the use of audio cassettes, videos, television, writing and writing correction programmes, can now be fruitfully be done with computers. These new tools support and extend student opportunities and access to academic and authentic language skills. The aim of the paper is to project the advantages of virtual classroom over the traditional classroom. Also, the factors which make the students learn the language thoroughly without much of a strain will be discussed. Teachers should take it as a challenge as how to make their pupils motivated to learn the English language and how to make the learning process itself motivating for children. The objective of the paper is to report the gains that may be obtained from the use of technology to develop language skills in students of English as a foreign language.

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