Book 2 – Acknowledgments

Medieval Nonhumanisms: Sympathy, Edibility, and Helplessness is just this side of being sent to its home at University of Minnesota. Look for it, I suppose, in 2019.

Last piece to write? The acknowledgments. Here they are:

The monograph is a legal fiction. It took years to realize that this was the book I was writing. That realization would have been impossible without the following people and their invitations, which compelled me to come up with something to speak about: Kellie Robertson and Rob Wakeman, for the Animals and Sympathy Symposium at the University of Maryland (the origin of the pets chapter); Anna Klosowska, for the Miami University Dijon Program (language isolation experiment); Kári Driscoll, for the Comparative Literature seminar at Utrecht University, and, later, at an essential point in the argument, Maryam Esperanza Razaz, at St Chad’s, Durham University (feral foundlings); Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, for the George Washington University Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute’s “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral” conference (wolf children); Michael Bérubé, for the “Robot Weekend” at Penn State (worms and ecology); Sharon O’Dair, for the “Elemental Ecocriticism” Symposium at the University of Alabama (spontaneous generation); Arvind Thomas, for the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at UCLA (sky burial); and finally, Steve Mentz’s Oceanic New York event at Saint John’s University (oysters).

All my chapters benefited from additional workshopping in a variety of other venues: especially Brooklyn College’s Late Antique Medieval and Early Modern study group (LAMEM), led by Lauren Mancia; Brooklyn College English Department’s Works-in-Progress meetings, organized by Marty Elsky; Bob Viscusi and the Wolfe Institute at Brooklyn College for the chance to run seminars on critical animal studies and speculative realism; the CUNY Graduate Center’s English Department’s Friday Forum; and In the Middle, which Jeffrey Jerome Cohen invited me to join in 2006, and which, during the glorious days of blogs, before social networking monopolies swept in, provided such a generous venue for experimenting with ideas, readings, and experimental voices. The medieval conference at Kalamazoo was a frequent testing ground. Additional gratitude to the following: Megan Cavell at the Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages at Birmingham, and Sunny Harrison and Caitlin Stobie at the Leeds Animal Studies Network, for letting me play out my book’s introduction during my manuscript’s final months as a manuscript; Eric Ensley and Gina Marie Hurley at Yale’s Medieval and LAE (Literature, Arts, and Environment) Colloquia, for workshopping the Pets chapter in its late stage, and the same for Erica Fudge and the British Animals Study Network for my work on spontaneous generation; and Cornell, George Washington University MEMSI (again!), UCLA, and the University of British Columbia for helping me realize I had so much more to say about oysters; and to Katherine Ibbett, then at University College London, for an early chance to talk about worms, cats, and Derrida. Thanks as well to Jay Gates for organizing a writing group with me, Susannah Crowder, and Kathleen Smith.

Successful grants were scarce for this book. But thank you nonetheless to my CUNY Union for winning Summer Salary grants, and thanks to the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellowship for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities, which gave me time off at book’s very beginning, so I could think about worms and cadavers in Paris.

Friends, colleagues, and a former spouse (and former friends!) were necessary and hugely helpful inspirations at various points in this project: in addition to some of the people listed above, Alison Kinney merits first place here: she taught me how to write, and god knows it wasn’t easy; Eileen Joy was a model trouble-maker, and I know I wouldn’t have taken the risks I do in my writing without her; Ben Armintor, Nicole Antebi, Colin Dickey, Rob Fellman, Karen Gregory, Ana Harrison, Matthew Harrison, Tricia Matthew, and Vimala Pasupathi were my New York life savers; Aaron Gorseth too, for always telling me the truth; Jesús Rodriguez Velasco and Aurélie Vialette offered up their home so often, at such crucial points, and earned my eternal gratitude; Maya H. Weimer did me a lot of good as the project came to a close; and thanks of course to my research assistants at the Graduate Center, Brad Fox (for agency and Plato) and Ja Young (for pets). Along the way, I delighted in the support and work of Jane Bennett, Angie Bennett, Susan Crane, Lowell Duckert, Irina Dumitrescu, Sarah Kay, Peggy McCracken, Robert Mills, Allan Mitchell, Masha Raskolnikov, Julie Orlemanski, Dan Remein, Arthur Russell, Myra Seaman, Robert Stanton, and Cary Wolfe, and thrilled to the advocacy and power of Seeta Chaganti, Jonathan Hsy, Dorothy Kim, and Sierra Lomuto: support whatever they do.

Thanks to all who are read this. Who knows what comes next?