Jesse Arseneault, PhD
My current research is situated in the field of African Cultural Studies, and deals with representations of the human/animal dichotomy in African cultural texts. Tentatively titled, Africa's Animalities: Concern for the Other-Than-Human in the Age of Empire, my manuscript in progress explores how concern for Africa manifests globally in relation to concepts of animality, inhumanity, and nonhumanity. It also explores the position of African animals in conservationist and environmentalist discourses. Moving beyond postcolonial analyses that have condemned the animalization of humans in African contexts, I examine the ways that various African texts recuperate notions of animality. I read these texts as a movement toward both resisting the dehumanization of Africans, but in such a way that stresses the shared lives of human and nonhuman lives on the continent. As such, my work attempts to resist anthropocentric logics that equate animality (and its various associations with Africanness) with subhumanity. My work borrows from the fields of critical animal studies, posthumanism, queer theory, and critical race theory to work toward a multivalent understanding of what the animal means within and in relation to “Africa” as a discursive construct.
My additional work has dealt with a range of subjects including postcolonial theory, animal studies, queer theory, South African student protest, and critical race studies. My recent publications have appeared in Critical Arts, English Studies in Canada (ESC), Safundi, and Postcolonial Text.
PhD, English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University (2016)
MA, English Literature, McMaster University (2010)
BA, English Language and Literature, Brock University (2008)
Research / teaching interests
Cultural Studies / Postcolonial Literature and Theory / Africa / Contemporary South African Literature and Culture / Animal Studies / Queer Theory / Posthumanism / Globalization / Pestilence
Grants / other positions
FRQSC - Soutien à la recherché pour la relève professorale - Awarded 2020-2024 for "The Radical Collectivity of Pests"
Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Association for Commonwealth Language and Literature Studies (CACLALS - http://caclals.ca/)
Co-Director, Society, Politics Animals, and Materialities (SPAM - https://spamcentre.org/)
Graduate Seminars Taught
Pestilence and Postcolonialism (2021)
The Wild (2020)
Abject Animals and Pestiferous Being (2018)
Undergraduate Seminars Taught
Decolonization and the Non/Human (2021)
South Africa and the Political (2019, 2020)
Gender and Sexuality in Post-Apartheid Literature and Culture (2018)
Global Animalities (2016)
African Animalities (2015)
Undergraduate Lecture Courses Taught
Literature of Australia and New Zealand
Arseneault, Jesse. "The Imaginative Possibilities of Insect Form" (in progress).
Arseneault, Jesse, and Rosemary Collard. “The Resilience of the Pest.” Multispecies Resilience, special issue of Resilience (under review).
Arseneault, Jesse. “Against Financialization as Freedom: Errant Investments in Kopano Matlwa’s Coconut and Rehad Desai’s Everything Must Fall.” ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, forthcoming 2021.
Arseneault, Jesse. “Foreword: Animal Print.” Animal Print, special issue of graduate journal Insight, vol. 1, 2018.
Arseneault, Jesse. “On Canicide and Concern: Species Sovereignty in Western Accounts of Rwanda’s Genocide.” The Global Animal, special issue of ESC: English Studies in Canada, vol. 39, no. 1, 2013, pp.125-147.
Arseneault, Jesse. “Queer Desire and the Men of the Nation: Reading Race and Masculinity in John Greyson’s Proteus.” Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, vol. 10, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1-22.
Arseneault, Jesse. “Brute Violence and Vulnerable Animality: A Reading of Postcoloniality, Animals, and Masculinity in Damon Galgut’s The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs.” Postcolonial Text, vol. 7, no. 4, 2012, pp. 1-23.
Arseneault, Jesse. “The Zoopolitics of Movement in the Postapartheid City.” Animals in the City, edited by Laura Reese,Routledge, forthcoming 2021.
Arseneault, Jesse. “African Fictions, Animal Figures, Anthropocentric Frameworks.” In Handbook of African Literature, edited by Moradewun Adejunmobi and Carli Coetzee, 2019.
Edited Special Issues
Arseneault, Jesse, Sarah D’Adamo, Helene Strauss, and Handel Kashope Wright, editors. Contemporary Orientations in African Cultural Studies, special issue of Critical Arts, vol. 30, 2016.