The Lure of The Animal: The Theoretical Question of the Nonhuman Animal

Abraham Paul DeLeon


Educational critical theory has exposed many oppressive features of contemporary society. However, the literature remains fixed on the human experience, despite the fact that the representations of nonhuman animals provide a rich context in which to explore ideology, power, and what Michel Foucault called regimes of truth. In this paper, the author attempts to theorize animal studies within educational theory, an interdisciplinary approach in rethinking the ways that the notion of “animal” has been constructed by human societies in the West. The author provides a brief summary of the animal studies scholarship that has implications for educational theory: anthropomorphism, the representation of nonhumans, and speciesism. The author demonstrates the discursive construction of nonhumans is riddled with assumptions based upon Enlightenment notions of empirical science and rationality that expose human representational practices and has implications for how Other humans are represented. He ends with examining Deleuze and Guattari’s becoming-animal and argues can be a theoretical location in which we can begin to challenge the human/nonhuman binary.


Critical Pedagogy; Social Justice; Animal Studies; Representation; Cultural Studies; Critical Theory

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ISSN 1920-4175 Critical Education