Animal metaphor : animality in discourses of nuclear war and species extinction.


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This thesis analyzes the role animals play as objects of human discourse—in particular, their use as metaphor. This thesis examines two distinct animal metaphors. First, I examine the use of animal metaphor in nuclear war rhetoric to concretize a sense of catastrophe following the collapse of Mutually Assured Destruction. Second, I examine the use of animal metaphor in the cinematic context to persuade audiences to act more rapidly and aggressively on climate change. In both contexts, animal metaphors operate to animate a sense of human vulnerability such that it becomes desirable to separate oneself from a perceived animal openness to violence and catastrophe. This animating process simultaneously racializes the figure of the animal that troubles the presumed boundary between human and animal. Throughout this thesis I will complicate this often-assumed distinction between human and animal, revealing those categories to be co-constitutively and metaphorically related.



Animal. Nuclear war. Climate change. Metaphor. Derrida.