The Ugly Animal

Aesthetics, Power, and Animal-Human Relationality


  • Emily Snyder



In this paper, I consider the importance of examining negative aesthetics for thinking about animal-human relations. Specifically, I concentrate on the ugly animal and ask: how might a focus on ugliness, disgust, and abjection help us to further understand animal-human relations in both theory and practice? I draw on the pigeon and pigeon feces to consider possible contributions from Donna Haraway and Michel Serres, for addressing my question. Ultimately I abandon Haraway’s respectful relationality, as well as Serres’s parasitic relationality, to consider what a politics of disgust might offer instead for a political and ethical approach to animal-human relations that is more practically attentive to discomfort, power, and conflict.


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Author Biography

Emily Snyder

Emily Snyder is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow with the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria. Her work on animal-human relations was part of a sub-specialization done during her PhD in Sociology at the University of Alberta. Her primary research area is on indigenous laws, feminisms, and gender, with her dissertation focusing on representations of gender in materials about Cree law, and her postdoctoral work focusing on indigenous feminist legal pedagogy. Interests in conflict, power, representation, aesthetics, and art circulate throughout Snyder’s work.




How to Cite

Snyder, Emily. 2013. “The Ugly Animal: Aesthetics, Power, and Animal-Human Relationality”. Humanimalia 5 (1):136-68.