We are delighted to present Colin Dayan in partnership with L.A. Review of Books. Dayan, author of Animal Quintet: A Southern Memoir, will speak about the connection between her family history and her relationship with animals, as told in her lyrical coming-of-age story. She will be joined by author and professor Lori Gruen, coordinator of Animal Studies at Wesleyan University. A short Q&A will follow their conversation. Register for this FREE event via Eventbrite.
LARB Books is the publishing division of the Los Angeles Review of Books, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and disseminating rigorous, incisive, and engaging writing on every aspect of literature, culture, and the arts. The addition of this publishing project extends LARB’s mission of bringing the best that is thought and written to readers around the world.
About the Book
In this haunting, lyrical, luminous book, Colin Dayan meditates on her family history, her relationship with animals, and her upbringing in the South. Examining memories, family documents, and photographs, Animal Quintet takes a raw look at racial tensions and bourgeois respectability in a region struggling to change. Famed Southern war horses ridden by Civil War generals, doomed Spanish fighting bulls, the misunderstood possum hunted by generations of Southerners, and the chickens slaughtered by family servants—these animals frame and inform a haunting picture of a doomed childhood in a riven society.
In these stories, Dayan asks readers to envision another political life, a reorientation of our ways of seeing and thinking, to examine our ethical and conceptual assumptions from the perspective of other creatures, to imagine an alternative way of being in the world, of thinking and loving. Animal Quintet is a coming-of-age story that depends on an unexpected attentiveness, on another kind of intelligibility beyond the world of the human.
About the Author
Colin (Joan) Dayan is the Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of Haiti, History, and the Gods, The Story of Cruel and Unusual, The Law is a White Dog, and With Dogs at the Edge of Life. Her latest book, Animal Quintet: A Southern Memoir, was published in December 2020 by the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her memoirs of growing up in Georgia have been published in The Yale Review, Southwest Review, Arizona Quarterly, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Boston Review. In 2012 she was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Lori Gruen is the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University where she also coordinates Wesleyan Animal Studies. Her work lies at the intersection of ethical theory and practice, with a particular focus on issues that impact those often overlooked in traditional ethical investigations, e.g. women, people of color, non-human animals, incarcerated people. She has published extensively on topics in animal ethics and ecofeminist philosophy. She is the author and editor of 14 books, including Ethics and Animals: An Introduction (Cambridge, 2011, the second edition will be out later this year), Entangled Empathy (Lantern Books, 2015), and Critical Terms for Animal Studies (Chicago, 2018). Her current work includes unpacking carceral logics by exploring the ethics of abolition. She has a forthcoming co-edited volume called Carceral Logics with Justin Marceau (Cambridge, 2022).