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Toward an Excremental Posthumanism: Primatology, Women, and Waste

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This essay assesses the use of excrement as a cultural trope in a posthumanist era. Drawing on insights from feminist, postcolonial, and animal theory, it proposes that Fossey (1983) and the film Gorillas in the Mist (1988) are popularized versions of a recurring narrative that posits feces as a sign of the both material and symbolic fluid boundaries between human and nonhuman animals, colonizers and natives, men and women, and science and nature. Specifically, Gorillas in the Mist transposes Fossey's study of gorilla "dung" in the jungle, the essay demonstrates, as a repetition of the enunciation "shit." In both written and spoken form, excrement mediates between, and ultimately merges, the identities of Fossey and the mountain gorillas. In the conclusion, the essay raises some problems in theorizing the relationship between postcolonial and posthumanist theory.


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