General AR Philosophy
What is a Trash Animal?
We are compiling an anthology of essays exploring maligned species and
invite you to submit abstract proposals. Please see our website for
updates or email us with any questions.
What is a trash animal? Throughout known history, certain animals have
been deemed worthless, destructive, threatening, and even ugly. They are
despised as varmints, pests, nuisances, invasives, and exotics. Specific
animals may come to mind-coyotes, carp, pigeons, rats, mosquitoes, and
others. In Richard White's now classic essay "Animals and Enterprise,"
he distinguished between animals of leisure, animals of production, and
animal enemies. In the latter category, we could easily place trash
animals. In Wild Echoes, Charles Bergman argued that endangered animals
have two faces, one symbolic and the other real. The same is true of
trash animals (some now extinct or endangered), who carry the myths,
rumors, and violence of human history, because they have historically
resisted domestication, or because they have gone back and forth from
domesticated to feral, or because they have been a hindrance to larger
human efforts to reorganize landscape. Some trash animals thrived on the
coattails of human imperialists; some thrived in spite of human resource
management which sought to eradicate them. We feel that it is important
to explore the complications, the problems that arise from equating
animals with what we discard. Consider the following questions:
What are the implications of trash animals on the ways that we define,
construct, perceive, and envision landscape? How are trash animals
related to landscape? Ecology?
How do trash animals relate mythical places like Eden? To hybrid
landscapes? To the post-industrial?
How is the construction of nature affected/deconstructed/rebuilt by
trash animals? How about culture? What about wilderness or home?
How is the idea of change addressed by trash animals? Do they help us
make meaning of transience and impermanence?
If trash signifies cultural value, what are the boundaries of this
Do trash animals address contemporary cultural/environmental
What do trash animals mean when it comes to human/nonhuman
engagement-management, control, perception, welfare, and reclamation.
What do trash animals reveal about human caused eco-disasters?
Is there a limit to human prejudice when animals can cause ecological
harm? Can human values-good, bad, or mixed-be justified when applied to
animals? Should human values matter? When are conflicts with trash
animals based on mere prejudice and myth, and when are conflicts
Where does this knowledge come together, where does it/should it take
Do you find these questions interesting? Worth writing about? We are
currently preparing to compile a book of essays that delve into the
underworld, the scum-sucking lowlands of the animal kingdom (if there
indeed is such a thing), into those unprivileged spaces, the
post-industrial, the less-than-pristine, and consider the meanings of
trash animals in our lives.
We invite you to submit essays (narrative academic) that demonstrate an
engagement with a trash animal (only one please) and its landscape,
explores biology/science-the real biological animal, treats culture and
history (development of the animal's status amidst illuminating personal
and social reflection), and performs some defining, tinkering,
embracing, or rejecting the various cultural interpretations of the
trash animal. Finally and most importantly, we want to see hope. Instead
of endless cultural deconstruction (which would be easy), we want this
book to build something meaningful for the future.
Guidelines for submission:
1. typed, DS, 12-pt. font, 2 inch margins, 8.5 x 11 paper
1,000 to 8,000 words
3. title page with author's name and contact
4. essay pages should have title in footer or header next to
5. electronic submissions preferred, as an attached
document in Word2000 or more recent edition
6. paper submissions by mail
should include 2 copies of essay and SASE; manuscripts will be recycled
Deadline for abstracts: 4pm, Monday, October 3, 2005 (Pacific Time Zone)
Deadline for approved essays: 4pm, Wednesday, March 1, 2006 (Pacific
Submit essays and questions to:
Kelsi Nagy & Phillip Johnson, Editors
Department of English/098
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, Nevada 89557