Kissing Cousins: A New Kinship Bestiary
Since DNA has replaced blood as the medium through which we establish kinship, how do we determine with whom we are kin? Who counts among those we care for? The distinction between these categories is constantly in flux. How do we come to decide those we may kiss and those we may kill?
Focusing on narratives of kinship as they are defined in contemporary film, literature, and news media, Frances Bartkowski discusses the impact of "stories of origin" on our regard for nonhuman species. She locates the role of "totems and taboos" in forming and re-forming kinship categories-groupings that enable us to tie the personal to the social-and explores the bestiary, among the oldest of literary forms. The bestiary is the realm in which we allegorize the place of humans and other species, a menagerie encompassing animals we know as well as human-animal chimeras and other beings that challenge the "natural" order of the world. Yet advances in reproductive technologies, the mapping of genomes, and the study of primates continually destabilize these categories and recast the dynamic between the natural and the cultural.
Bartkowski highlights the arbitrariness of traditional kinship arrangements and asks us to rethink our notions of empathy and ethics. She shows how current dialogues concerning ethics and desire determine contemporary attitudes toward issues of care, and suggests a new framework for negotiating connection and conflict.
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Remember the 2000 YearOld Man?
1 Kissing Cousins
2 Forget the Alamo
3 The Newly Born Century
4 Sisters of the Bone
9 Trees of Origin
10 Bonobos in Our Midst
11 Kintimacy Blood Brothers
12 Of Pigs and Men
13 Mendels Nephew
14 Of Love and Law
Here Come the Cavemen
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28 Days Later accessed July animal anthropologist apes asks Beasts become Behavior Ben’s Bestiary biopolitics birth blood bodily bonobos borders brothers Buddy Deeds Cai Hua Cal/liope called caves Charlie Wade child chimpanzee chimps decades desire differences discourse Donor dystopia ethical Eugenides father February 25 females feminist film forms Frans de Waal furtive visit future Gattaca gender Genes genetic Genome Giorgio Agamben Gorillas Handmaid’s Tale heteronormative Hua’s human insists intimacy kind kinship Kissing Cousins live look males marriage maternal mating Mawer Mendel mirror mixing mother murder narrative orangutans other’s Pilar primates primatologists public culture Pusey questions realm recent relations reproductive rewrite Sam’s sexual share siblings Simon Mawer social space speak species sperm stories strangers struggle taboo tale tell tion totem and taboo University Press Vincent women Wrangham York young