John Bruni contends that Cary Wolfe’s latest book “Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in a Biopolitical Frame” discusses the “legal issues that inform our relationships with non-human animals.” Bruni writes that in doing so Wolfe dissects the process of law-making and appearing “before the law” as animals, which might be potentially harmful and eclipse the existence of animals beyond the human sphere. According to Bruni what distinguishes Wolfe’s perspective is that he does not promote any form of “ecological self-righteousness” but rather asks the question whether we need to move beyond species-based discourses that constantly pits humans and animals against each other in an essentially unwinnable impasse—to a more ethical approach that may expand the “community of living.”
Author: John Bruni
John Bruni is Visiting Assistant Professor of American Literature at Grand Valley State University. He has published articles on systems theory, ecocriticism, and literary narratives, and is completing a book manuscript, Scientific Americans: The Making of Popular Science and Evolution in Early-Twentieth-Century U.S. Literature and Culture.