Radhika Govindrajan, Animal Intimacies: Interspecies Relatedness in India's Central Himalayas.

Citation metadata

Author: Anabelle Suitor
Date: Spring-Fall 2018
From: Asian Ethnology(Vol. 77, Issue 1-2)
Publisher: Nanzan University
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,064 words

Document controls

Main content

Article Preview :

Radhika Govindrajan, Animal Intimacies: Interspecies Relatedness in India's Central Himalayas Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018. 256 pages. Cloth, $85.00; paperback, $27.50; eBook, $10.00 to $27.50. ISBN 9780226559841 (cloth); 9780226559988 (paperback); 9780226560045 (eBook)

Is there merit in writing a book on human-animal relatedness in a space in which these relations are so idealized that some animals can be viewed as more deserving of life than certain types of humans? The antagonist hovering over Radhika Govindrajan's Animal Intimacies is not anthropocentrists, but rather those who kill and police humans in the animal's name. This attention to the political landscape, where violence articulates itself as from a place of love, is what makes her book so timely and important. Her close attention to the social, historical, and physical landscape of her fieldsite, Kumaon, which is part of India's state of Uttarakhand in the central Himalayas, and her ability to narrate the liveliness of these landscapes is what makes this book beautiful.

In her book, Govindrajan poses a theory of relatedness that accepts "incommensurable differences" and "ineffable affinity" (4). She explores and leaves untangled the multiple and messy ways in which a non-human or human life unfolds and is lived in relation to others. Her focus is on the bodily, intimate, and individual relations between her human and non-human interlocutors. Importantly, these interactions are not innocent and they are rooted in multiple forms of hierarchy, power, and abuse. Attending to human-animal lived relations, she finds ways to tie together violent caste, class, racial, species, and gendered hierarchies. In this world, love and violence tangle up into an "ethical mess"...

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A607474845