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date: 22 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In 2005, Kenton Joel Carnegie, a geological engineering student, was attacked and killed by four wolves on a trail near a uranium mine in Saskatchewan. Carnegie’s kill site evokes the many tricky theoretical issues that arise when writing about nonhuman animals, and serves as a cruel reminder that humans are indeed animals. This chapter explores the principal lesson of writings on animals in environmental history, focusing on two broad themes: the intimacy of violence and the intimacy of transcendence. It considers environmental history’s preoccupation with the role of nature’s agency in driving history and cites Val Plumwood’s “death roll” with a crocodile in the wetlands of the Kakadu National Park in Australia as a reminder that animals possess real agency in the world of humans. It discusses colonialism and empire as a persuasive example of humans setting “conditions on life” through biological and cultural transcendence.

Keywords: Kenton Joel Carnegie, wolves, animals, humans, environmental history, violence, transcendence, agency, Val Plumwood, colonialism

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