The Human that Therefore I am: Transculturation of an Ecological Debate in Green Humour for a Greying Planet
Keywords:Anthropocene, transculturation, animal sentiment, anthropomorphism, anthrozoology.
The present research aims at showcasing the transculturation of animals that have adapted human culture in delineating the cause of the environment through Rohan Chakravarty’s Green Humour for a Greying Planet (2021). The book is a compilation of comic strips that have previously appeared on various other platforms over the last decade, ranging from subjects of human-animal relationships to ecological unbalance and the impact of COVID-19 through the voices of animal characters. It primarily deals with threats to the habitat of animals (non-humans) and environmental degradation because of untoward human activities. The Anthropocene, the current geological epoch, is an offshoot of excessive human exercise on planet Earth, resulting in the deterioration of its natural resources and affecting the lives of other species. It has resulted in humans perceiving non-humans as ‘other’ to themselves, thereby diluting the concepts of ‘symbiosis’ and ‘co-being’. This paper attempts to view humans in relation to non-humans toward an agenda of establishing ecological balance. Derrida’s analysis of the ontology of animals in The Animal that therefore I am (2008) focuses on the influence of animals on human lives and vision. Taking this analysis as a parameter, this paper endeavors to decode the animal sentiment as displayed in the comic strips in Chakravarty’s book. This paper uses Franz Kafka’s transcultural ape, Red Peter’s creation of an ape-human culture, as a model to decode the neoculturation of human-animal interaction in Chakravarty’s animals. By referring to the studies of anthropomorphism and anthrozoology, this study attempts to analyze the ecological debate of a world model where humans and animals play interchangeable roles. Subsequently, the paper scrutinizes the ‘language-game’ that the animal characters indulge in to homogenize species differences.
Arluke, A. (2002). Animal Abuse as Dirty Play. Symbolic Interaction, 25(4), 405–430. https://doi.org/10.1525/si.2002.25.4.405
Ancrenaz, M., Oram, F., Ambu, L., Lackman, I., Ahmad, E., Elahan, H., … Meijaard, E. (2015). Of Pongo, palms and perceptions: a multidisciplinary assessment of Bornean orang-utans Pongo pygmaeus in an oil palm context. Oryx, 49(3), 465–472. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605313001270
Asquith, P. (1984). The inevitability and utility of anthropomorphism in description of primate behaviour. In R. Harré & V. Reynolds (Eds.), The Meaning of Primate Signals (pp. 138-176). Cambridge University Press.
Benítez-Becerra, J. J. D. (2016). Transculturation and migration in the story “report for an academy”, of Franz Kafka. Quaestiones Disputatae: temas en debate.
Birke, L., & Hockenhull, J. (2012). Introduction: On Investigating Human-Animal Relationships. In Crossing Boundaries: Investigating Human-Animal Relationships (Vol. 14). BRILL.
Brotcorne, F., Giraud, G., Gunst, N., Fuentes, A., Wandia, I. N., Beudels-Jamar, R. C., Poncin, P., Huynen, M. C., & Leca, J. B. (2017). Intergroup variation in robbing and bartering by long-tailed macaques at Uluwatu Temple (Bali, Indonesia). Primates; journal of primatology, 58(4), 505–516. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-017-0611-1
Calarco, M. (2008). Zoographies: The Question of the Animal from Heidegger to Derrida. Columbia University Press.
Callaway, E. (2017). Oldest homo sapiens fossil claim rewrites our species' history. Nature [Preprint]. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature.2017.22114
Chakravarty, R. (2021). Green Humour for a Greying Planet. Penguin Books.
Charuvastra, T. (2023, February 1). Temple Refuses to Release Tigers, Again. Khaosod English. https://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/crimecourtscalamity/2016/01/20/1453277245/
Cheyne, S. (2010). Behavioural Ecology of Gibbons (Hylobates albibarbis) in a Degraded Peat-swamp Forest. In J. Supriatna & S. Gursky (Eds.), Indonesian Primates (pp. 121-156). Springer Science & Business Media.
DeMello, M. (2012). Animals and Society: Human-Animal Studies. Columbia University Press.
Derrida, J. (2008). The Animal that Therefore I Am. Fordham University Press.
Descartes, R. (2012). Discourse on the Method. Duke Classics.
Hart, W. (1996). Dualism. In S. Guttenplan (Ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind. Wiley-Blackwell.
Hauskeller, M. (2018). Do Animals Have a Bad Life? Journal of Animal Ethics, 8(1), 50-61. https://doi.org/10.5406/janimalethics.8.1.0050
Horowitz, A. C., & Bekoff, M. (2007). Naturalizing Anthropomorphism: Behavioral Prompts to Our Humanizing of Animals. Anthrozoös, 20(1), 23-35. https://doi.org/10.2752/089279307780216650
Hosey, G., & Melfi, V. (2019). Anthrozoology: Human-Animal interactions in domesticated and wild animals. Oxford University Press.
Jeshi, K. (2021, July 30). Rohan Chakravarty’s new book ‘Green Humour for a Greying Planet ‘conveys hard truths on conservation in comic strips. The Hindu. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/rohan-chakravartys-new-book-green-humour-for-a-greying-planet-conveys-hard-truths-on-conservation-in-comic-strips/article35486482.ece
Kafka, F. (1995). The Complete Stories. Schocken.
Kellert, S.R. & Wilson, E.O. (1993) The Biophilia Hypothesis. Shearwater.
Ledig, F. (1992). Human impacts on genetic diversity in forest ecosystems. Biological Conservation, 62(2), 144. https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3207(92)90949-n
Laland, K. N., & Galef, B. G. (Eds.). (2009). The Question of Animal Culture. Harvard University Press.
Linne, C. V. (2017). Systema Naturae. Andesite Press.
Mills, D.S. & Marchant-Forde, J.N. (2010). The Encyclopedia of Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare. CAB International.
Nell, V. (2006). Cruelty's rewards: The gratifications of perpetrators and spectators. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 29(3), 211–224. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0140525x06009058
Northoff, G. (2014) Minding the Brain: A Guide to Philosophy and Neuroscience. Palgrave Macmillan.
Olivelle, P. (2009). The Pancatantra: The Book of India’s Folk Wisdom. Oxford University Press.
Oritz, F. (1995). Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar. Duke University Press.
Packer, C. (2019). The African Lion: A Long History of Interdisciplinary Research. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2019.00259
Pratt, M.L. (1992). Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. Routledge.
Richards, R.J. (1987). Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behaviour. University of Chicago Press.
Root-Bernstein, M., Douglas, L., Smith, A., & Veríssimo, D. (2013). Anthropomorphized species as tools for conservation: Utility beyond prosocial, intelligent and suffering sspecies. Biodiversity and Conservation, 22(8), 1577-1589. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-013-0494-4
Sarma, I. (2018). Indian Graphic Novels: Visual Intertextualities, Mixed Media and the ‘Glocal’ Reader. South Asian Review, 39(1-2), 175–194. https://doi.org/10.1080/02759527.2018.1514150
Siddq, A., & Habib, A. (2016). Anthrozoology- An Emerging Robust Multidisciplinary subfield of Anthropological Science. Green University Review of Social Science, 3(1), 45-67.
Singer, P. (2015). Animal Liberation. The Bodley Head.
Spitta, S. (1995). Between Two Waters: Narratives of Transculturation in Latin America. Rice University Press.
Sundberg, J. (2006). Conservation Encounters: Transculturation in the ‘Contact Zones’ of Empire. Cultural Geographies, 13(2), 239–265. https://doi.org/10.1191/1474474005eu337oa
Teo, T. (2014). Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology. Springer.
Vaca-Guzman, M. and Arluke, A. (2005). Normalizing Passive Cruelty: The Excuses and Justifications of Animal Hoarders. Anthrozoös, 18(4), 338–357. https://doi.org/10.2752/089279305785593947
Wilberding, J. (2021). World Soul: A History. Oxford University Press.
Wittgenstein, L. (1968). Philosophical investigation. Macmillan.
Wolfe, C. (2003). Zoontologies. University of Minnesota Press.
York, R. and Mancus, P. (2013) The Invisible Animal: Anthrozoology and Macrosociology. Sociological Theory, 31(1), 75–91. https://doi.org/10.1177/0735275113477085
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Journal of Narrative and Language Studies
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.