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The Animal Question in Deconstruction

Edited by Lynn Turner

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Explores the political and poetic understanding of the deconstruction of the ‘animal question’

How does deconstruction understand relations between humans and other animals? This book reveals that across Jacques Derrida’s work as a whole, as well as that of Hélène Cixous and Nicholas Royle, deconstruction has always addressed questions about animality. In this collection, for example, Cixous asks after human intervention between the death of a wild bird and the predation of a domestic cat. Kelly Oliver pursues Derrida’s analysis of what or whose gaze is at stake when a King oversees the autopsy of an elephant. Royle examines in what sense the vulnerable impressions made by the tunnelling of a mole might be thought of as the traces of a text. Re-examining how we relate to other animals has far-reaching implications for how we think of ourselves. Throughout this collection authors bring to attention the politics and the poetics of a less anthropocentric world. Even when this world is grasped through very writerly fields such as philosophy, literature and autobiography, The Animal Question in Deconstruction demonstrates that we are always marked by traces of other animals.

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0. Introduction: This Animal Question in Deconstruction, Lynn Turner
1. A Refugee, Hélène Cixous
2. Swans of Life (External Provocations & Autobiographical Flights That Teach Us How to Read), Sarah Wood
3. Love of the Löwe, reading Derrida with a Roar, Marie-Dominique Garnier
4. Insect Asides, Lynn Turner
5. S P O N G E Inc, Laurent Milesi
6. Elephant Eulogy: The Exorbitant Orb of an Elephant, Kelly Oliver
7. Troubling Resemblances, Anthropological Machines & the Fear of Wild Animals: following Derrida after Agamben, Stephen Morton
8. Derrida, Rousseau, Cixous and Tsvetaeva: Sexual Difference and the Love of the Wolf, Judith Still
9. Deconstructing Sexual Difference, A Myopic Reading of Hélène Cixous’ Mole, Marta Segarra
10. Your Worm, Peggy Kamuf
11. Mole, Nicholas Royle.

About the Author

Lynn Turner is Senior Lecturer in Visual Culture, at Goldsmiths, University of London. She explores how animal and sexual differences matter in visual culture, literature and philosophy. She is the editor of The Animal Question in Deconstruction (EUP, 2013) and co-author of Visual Cultures As… Recollection (Sternberg Press, 2013).


Turner’s collection manages to open up a very specific take on the ‘animal question’ and, in doing so, it more than fulfills its main promise.
- Stefan Herbrechter , Culture Machine

The most refreshing aspect of Lynn Turner’s edited collection on deconstruction and ‘the animal question’ is that it reminds us of what I would call the central but often overlooked or downplayed problem in the current posthumanist and postanthropocentric intellectual climate, namely the conundrum of anthropomorphism …

- Stefan Herbrechter, Culture Machine
...the collection as a whole contributes importantly to filling the need for critical work exploring how humans think about and relate to nonhuman animals.
- Kelly C. MacPhail, McGill University, Philosophy in Review XXXV, no 3

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