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Multispecies Modernity

Disorderly Life in Postcolonial Literature

By Sundhya Walther
Subjects Literary Criticism, Environmental Studies
Series Environmental Humanities Hide Details
Hardcover : 9781771125208, 278 pages, July 2021
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781771125222, June 2021
Ebook (PDF) : 9781771125239, June 2021

Table of contents

Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Disorderly Multispecies Living
2. The Wild: Tracking Tigers through the Discourse of Conservation
Provocation 1: Sakshi Gupta
3. The Body: Ahimsa and the Politics of Vegetarianism
Provocation 2: Sujatro Ghosh
4. The Home: Narrative Violence and Counternarrative Companionship
Provocation 3: Jagannath Panda
5. The City: Denizens of Modernity in Delhi and Mumbai
6. The Zoo: Postscript

How animals come together in the spaces of contemporary India


Multispecies Modernity: Disorderly Life in Postcolonial Literature considers relationships between animals and humans in the iconic spaces of postcolonial India: the wild, the body, the home, and the city. Navigating fiction, journalism, life writing, film, and visual art, this book argues that a uniquely Indian way of being modern is born in these spaces of disorderly multispecies living.
The zones of proximity traversed in Multispecies Modernity link animal-human relations to a politics of postcolonial identity by transgressing the logics of modernity imposed on the postcolonial nation. Disorderly multispecies living is a resistance to the hygiene of modernity and a powerful alliance between human and nonhuman subalterns.
In bringing an animal studies perspective to postcolonial writing and art, this book proposes an ethics of representation and an ethics of reading that have wider implications for the study of relationships between human and nonhuman animals in literature and in life.


  • Short-listed, University English Book Prize 2022


Weaving a series of narrative interpretations of physical and conceptual zones of proximity, Sundhya Walther reads towards alliances that have been otherwise shunned and effaced by the structures and strictures of (postcolonial) modernity. Through readings of fiction, memoir, journalism, and art, Multispecies Modernity takes us through scenes of contaminating touch that offer us the promise of more ethical forms of living against the strangleholds of modernity. This book will be of interest to a readership that extends across the broad fields of postcolonial studies, animal studies, and literary studies. It is a beautifully written work with consistently clear and coherent prose, and always compelling inroads into texts that readers might not be already familiar with.

- Julietta Singh, author of Unthinking Mastery: Dehumanism and Decolonial Entanglements