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Dangerous Crossings
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Book description

Dangerous Crossings offers an interpretation of the impassioned disputes that have arisen in the contemporary United States over the use of animals in the cultural practices of nonwhite peoples. It examines three controversies: the battle over the 'cruelty' of the live animal markets in San Francisco's Chinatown, the uproar over the conviction of NFL superstar Michael Vick on dogfighting charges, and the firestorm over the Makah tribe's decision to resume whaling in the Pacific Northwest after a hiatus of more than seventy years. Claire Jean Kim shows that each dispute demonstrates how race and species operate as conjoined logics, or mutually constitutive taxonomies of power. Analyzing each case as a conflict between single optics (the optic of cruelty and environmental harm vs the optic of racism and cultural imperialism), she argues for a multi-optic approach that takes different forms of domination seriously, and thus encourages an ethics of avowal among different struggles.


'In this truly groundbreaking work, Claire Jean Kim argues for ‘an ethic of mutual avowal’ to resolve conflicts between race, culture, and species. In order to begin to disentangle ourselves from the structures that create and reinforce intersecting injustices, we need to see beyond the limiting optics of cruelty and disposability. Dangerous Crossings broadens our vision and points toward ways to ethically navigate multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-species contact zones.'

Lori Gruen - Wesleyan University, and author of Ethics and Animals

'In a major contribution to the field of animal studies, Claire Kim’s Dangerous Crossings expands our understanding of how nonhuman animals can be enrolled in the contested urban politics of race and ethnicity. Kim’s book charts entirely new territory, showing through case studies how controversial animal practices can become intensely racialized, doing harm to both marginalized communities and the animals themselves. She also offers us a practical politics of recognition that insists on cultural sensitivity while keeping the welfare of animals clearly in view.'

Jennifer Wolch - Dean, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley

'In this brilliant, original, and infinitely generative book, Claire Jean Kim shows how patterns of thought rounded in the human/animal binary shape ideas, assumptions, and attitudes about race. We will not be able to live better together unless we learn to think better together, and, fortunately, the fascinating case studies and sustained and sophisticated arguments in Dangerous Crossings teach us how this can be done.'

George Lipsitz - University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of How Racism Takes Place

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