Animal Studies, Postcolonial Literature, and Multispecies Modernity: Finding Postcolonial Freedom

Sponsored by Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Recorded on 12/21/2022
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 299

Multispecies Modernity: Disorderly Life in Postcolonial Literature book cover. Artistic, kaleidoscopic drawing of flowers, plants, and shapes emerging from the center of a large flower. In the mid-left, Earth with flowers/plants emerging from it. In the bottom left, a stag stands with its mouth open, turned toward the kaleidoscopic flower.

In this third episode, Sundhya Walther, author of Multispecies Modernity: Disorderly Life in Postcolonial Literature, discusses the focus, intentions, and scope of her title. First, she explains the emphasis on Hindu-influenced literature, and her explorations of the (false) idea of India as a Hindu nation, in addition to various animal-human ideologies projected onto Hinduism. Sundhya also dives into why she limited the book’s scope to mammals of a “charismatic” nature, and the intention behind the brief moments of reflection or “provocations” included between each chapter, achieved through visual art. Last, she highlights Multispecies Modernity’s goal of finding a “postcolonial freedom” for nonhumans through “instances where animals…disturb the kinds of discourses that set out to define them, or put them in place, or categorize them as certain kinds of animal, where they might create kinds of disorder that even fleetingly or even only fictionally can allow a kind of freedom from that power, that colonization.”

As we approach 300 episodes of The Authority File, we’re celebrating the milestone with a series of blog posts highlighting key topics and series from over the years. Take a look back at the episodes, ranging in subjects like open access, primary sources, collection development evolution, and much more. Thanks for listening!

Sundhya Walther headshot. Sundhya has dark brown hair that falls a couple inches past her ears with parted bangs. She wears glasses and a pink printed collared shirt with flowers on it.

About the guest:

Sundhya Walther
Presidential Fellow in English
University of Manchester

Sundhya Walther is a Presidential Fellow in English at the University of Manchester. Her work has appeared in Modern Fiction Studies, University of Toronto Quarterly, and The Palgrave Handbook of Animals in Literature. A Canadian transplant, she lives with her multispecies family in Lancaster, UK.

Enjoy the conversation? Listen to the rest of the series:

Check out our previous series with Wilfrid Laurier University Press:
– Unpacking the Personal Library
– Cultivating Indigenous Studies
– Michelle Porter and the Métis Way
– Looking at Community Music
– The Making of DisPlace

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