Playing Cat's Cradle with Companion Species

The Wellek Lectures, 2011

Lecture Series Description: Being companion species is relentlessly about "becoming with" and is one way to refuse human exceptionalism without invoking posthumanism. The concept of companion species plays the cat's cradle games where who is/are to be in the world gets constituted in intra-and inter-action. The partners do not precede the meeting; species of all kinds are consequent upon worldly subject- and object-shaping entanglements. In human-animal worlds, companion species are ordinary beings-in-encounter in the house, lab, field, zoo, park, truck, office, prison, ranch, arena, village, human hospital, slaughter house, vet clinic, stadium, barn, wildlife preserve, farm, city streets, factory, and more. I am especially committed to inhabiting both the trouble and the vitality of the contact zones of companion species called "domestic," where the situated work and play of myriad critters (including people) make history.

The Wellek Library Lectures were recorded May 2-5, 2011 at the Critical Theory Institute, UC Irvine.
The poster at left was designed and produced by Nasser Mufti.


Note: The Wellek Library Lecture pages that were linked below are no longer available.
UC Irvine is no longer supporting the Critical Theory Insitute nor maintaining the website. This webpage will be revised and restructured. Soon, I hope.
There seems little hope that video versions of Donna's Wellek Lectures will become available again.

Lecture 1
Playing Cat's Cradle with Companion Species: Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, and a Feminist Multispecies Open

Lecture 2
Love in a Time of Extinctions and Exterminations: Staying with the Trouble

Lecture 3
Zoopolis, Becoming Worldly, and Trans-species Urban Theory: For Old Cities Yet to Come


Baila Goldenthal, Cat's Cradle/String Theory, 2008

"Coyotes Running Opposite Ways" string figure

Image ©Colin Jerolmack



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