Apace

Dog Walking, Kinaesthetic Empathy, and Posthuman Ethos in the Great North Woods

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.52537/humanimalia.14951

Keywords:

Maine, Great North Woods, dogwalking, canine-human relations, kinesthetic empathy, posthuman ethos, nonhuman nonstandard intimacy

Abstract

Researching nonfiction writing about where you call home is one way of appreciating conservation challenges. Living at the edge of the Great North Woods in Maine, I have found this work to be enriched by daily dog walks that cumulatively mark changes across time. Structured as a seasonal cycle, this essay ponders an idiosyncratic collection of evidence of more-than-human comings and goings, witnessed on two feet, accompanied by four more, in the first two decades of the twenty-first century. By writing about encounters with wildlife at close range, I reflect on specific ways in which my reading and dog walking practices together inspire extensions of empathy toward the ineffable relations that structure nature–culture borderlands. Becoming attuned to the critters within and without, betwixt and between house and home through extensions of kinaesthetic empathy, my hope is to model the development of a posthuman ethos through developing a storied appreciation for the elusive, unnamed intimacies of nonhuman neighbourliness that include, but are not limited to, witnessing dying and death.

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Author Biography

Susan McHugh, University of New England

Susan McHugh, Professor of English at the University of New England, USA, researches and teaches literary, visual, and scientific narratives of cross-species relations. She is the author of three monographs: Dog (2004), Animal Stories: Narrating Across Species Lines 2011), and Love in a Time of Slaughters: Human-Animal Stories Against Genocide and Extinction (2019). She has coedited several academic volumes, including Posthumanism in Art and Science: A Reader (2021) and Animal Satire (2023). McHugh serves as co-editor of two book series, Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature and Plants and Animals: Interdisciplinary Approaches. She is Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary academic journal Society & Animals.

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Published

2024-05-13

How to Cite

McHugh, Susan. 2024. “Apace: Dog Walking, Kinaesthetic Empathy, and Posthuman Ethos in the Great North Woods”. Humanimalia 14 (2):113–145. https://doi.org/10.52537/humanimalia.14951.

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Articles