Photo of David Clark

Dr. David L. Clark
Professor, Department of English and Cultural Studies
Associate Member, Health Studies Programme
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario
Canada

Half-Buried Dog Project



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The Half-Buried Dog Project (2011)


Francisco de Goya, El Perro Semihundido
(The Half-Buried Dog) 1821-23, Museo del Prado

134 x 80 cm (oil on canvas)

Graduate students in English and Cultural Studies 767 (“Regarding Animals: Theories of Non-human Life”) have been asked to contribute short critical reflections growing out of the course readings but rooted in Goya’s strange painting, El Perro Semihundido. These reflections are intended to form a kind of animal assemblage that responds not only to the details of Goya's mysterious painting--the first visual representation of animal Dasein?--but also to the larger questions quickening this course; namely, What does it mean to fall under the gaze of an animal? How does being seen seen by the animal, if there is such a thing, change how we see? Who, we?


Responses

[ 4 April 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

First Goya Reflection (Nandini Thiyagarajan)
Second Goya Reflection (Nandini Thiyagarajan)
Third Goya Reflection
(Nandini Thiyagarajan)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [ end ]
[ 4 April 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"'[T]he force of animalization presuppposes the abjection of animals'" (Tyler Pollard)

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[ 4 April 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"There is so little one can do." [Revised] (Natalie Childs)

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[ 4 April 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Towards a Dasein of the Animal?" (Kurt Pabst)

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[ 3 April 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"The Affective Planes of Goya's 'El Perro,' or, the Submerged Head of a Starfish" (Oliver Jones)

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[ 3 April 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Responding to the Half-Buried Dog" (Allison Warwick)

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[ 27 March 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"A Tomb With a View" (Andrew Reszitnyk)

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[ 14-27 March 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Conversations with Goya, Part 4" (Alex Moyles)
"Conversations with Goya, Part 5" (Alex Moyles)
"Conversations with Goya, Part 6" (Alex Moyles)
"Conversations with Goya, Part 7" (Alex Moyles)

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[ 27 March 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Response to Agamben’s The Open

She moves through her world through sight, sound, touch, but above all smell. Her nose, sensitive to the faintest of scents, allows her to search for potential sources of food, be sensitive to the biological changes in the beings around her, and investigate the unfamiliar. When she is approached by that which has an unfamiliar smell, she may vocalize by growling, and if pressed, may begin to bark. This bark may also be used when she is restrained from accessing that which she frequently chews upon. (Tegan Herchenrader)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [ end ]
[ 14 March 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Conversations with Goya, Part 2" (Alex Moyles)
"Conversations with Goya, Part 3" (Alex Moyles)

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[ 27 February 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"There is so little one can do." (Natalie Childs)

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[ 16 February 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

“Are you vegan?!” My mother somewhat screeched over the phone.
I paused, surprised by her response that was both heated and misapplied. I tried to respond in a calm manner, though I was beginning to become deeply hurt. “No mum, a vegan is someone who doesn’t eat any animal products like cheese, and eggs.”
“Are you eating fish?” She quickly queried in a similarly screechy tone.
I was perplexed by her confusion and anxiety around my choice. Being vegetarianish didn’t seem like an out of the ordinary decision, much less a surprising one for me considering that whenever I had gone off to live on my own during work terms I had usually moved to a little to no meat diet. “No mum, no fish.”
“Well you just can’t surprise people with things like this, nor can you expect them to make special meals for you because this is what you’ve decided to do.”
“This isn’t all that unexpected mum!” My temper was rising at her seeming accost on my new way of life. Was I right for being so hurt? Was this really that surprising? Could I have told her differently?

~~~

“So what do you want to get out of this?” He asked in his usual calm and collected manner as he threw the ball for Molly across the field.
“Well, I don’t think what goes on in the factory farm system is right. Though, I do realize that I still have a lot to learn as a lot of the literature out there is about how things work in the States, and that Canada’s system is pretty different. And no I don’t want to preach to everyone telling them that they’re doing the wrong thing by eating meat because people have to make that decision for themselves. I just think that when you’re around people who have made that decision not to eat factory farmed meat that there is the possibility of being informed that there’s something wrong going on.” I was so appreciative of his willingness to work though this decision with me, to help me figure out how I felt, why I wanted to do this, and whether it was for the right reasons or not.
Molly brought back the ball and dropped it in his hand and sat down expectantly, with her tongue lolling out her mouth. “So, you just want to help inform people through your actions?” He threw the ball again and Molly immediately took off across the field.
“Well not just that, but by also buying the meat that I do want to eat from small farms rather than big grocery stores I’m showing the economy that that is what is important to me. By supporting that small farm they’ll be able to sell to more people and make their products more accessible to more consumers who are looking to do the same thing but aren’t necessarily able to afford or have access to those products.” It was making so much more sense now.
Molly loped back and dropped the ball in his hand. “So you’re okay with eating meat but as long as it is raised and killed in an ethical manner?”
“Yes.”
“But you’re not going to go tell everyone that they need to stop eating meat or only eat organic, free-range-whatever meat, just kind-of inform through action, and through your purchasing power.”
“Yes.”
Molly began to jump up and down in impatience at her ball not being thrown. “Okay, I’m in.”
What will we feed Molly now? (Tegan Herchenrader)

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[ 14 February 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Conversations with F. Goya. Part 1" (Alex Moyles)

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[ 24 January 2011 ] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Reflection from Derrida’s Chapter 1 in The Animal That Therefore I Am

Walking to school; hounded by readings, assignments, discussions, lectures. I am alone, but for those thoughts that surround me.

I am walking to school and hounded by thoughts. Though eyes open I do not see, but for a perturbation that for a moment arrests my pursuit.

I have been walking beside the escarpment and a week of heavy rain has resulted in some small mud slides. I walk by here every day, and it was, at first, one of these slides that interrupted my walk, though I quickly noticed some movement against the dark earth. Continuing to stare as I hurried to class, I realized that what I saw was the head of a dog.

How long has she been there does she have a family that’s looking for her or is she a stray I need to get her out of there but if I do I’ll get dirty will I still be able to make it to class if I get her out no I’ll have to take her somewhere I don’t even know where I’d take her or how what happens if she needs some CPR or something I won’t know what to do should I just leave her there and call someone no that would be a terrible thing to do just leave her there.

She has seen me and as I move towards her she begins to whimper and her head begins to quake. Is she afraid or is she excited? I am hesitant, not knowing how this dog will respond to me. I put out my hand, in the way my mother taught me, to let her smell me, let her know that I mean her no harm. Her head stretches towards my hand, seeking to be touched I wonder how long she’s been here?

Digging in the mud I utter assurances, she whimpers. We are alone, and surrounded by the moment that moves into forever.

I lift Molly out of the hole that I have dug; she stands, shaking before me, looking at me, saying I know not what. As the world begins to turn again, I am thoughtless and ask “What do we do now?” (Tegan Herchenrader)

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