Some Thoughts on (Animal) Encounter

  • Dominik Ohrem
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


This introductory essay offers some thoughts on the meanings and politics of encounter both in a broader sense and with regard to the (inter)specifics of animal encounter. Drawing on the work of feminist and postcolonial theorist Sara Ahmed and others, it grapples with the ambivalent role of encounters as potentially transformative events or time-spaces that nonetheless remain bound to the largely anthropocentric systems of human-animal relations in and from which they emerge. In the second part, the chapter then reflects on the possibility and contours of a distinctly postanthropocentric ethos of encounter that might inform our own, mundane encounters and interactions with nonhuman creatures. In conversation with works from the fields of animal studies, posthumanism, ecofeminism, and philosophical ethology, it identifies three possible guiding principles of an ethos of encounter that are centered on the key aspects of body, world, and knowledge: embodied relationality, convivial worldhood, and creaturely knowledge.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dominik Ohrem
    • 1
  1. 1.North American DepartmentUniversity of CologneCologneGermany

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