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Animal Intimacies

Interspecies Relatedness in India’s Central Himalayas

Radhika Govindrajan

Animal Intimacies

Radhika Govindrajan

256 pages | 27 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2018
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226559988 Published May 2018
Cloth $85.00 ISBN: 9780226559841 Published May 2018
E-book $10.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226560045 Published May 2018

What does ­it mean to live and die in relation to other animals?  Animal Intimacies posits this central question alongside the intimate—and intense—moments of care, kinship, violence, politics, indifference, and desire that occur between human and non-human animals. 
Built on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in the mountain villages of India’s Central Himalayas, Radhika Govindrajan’s book explores the number of ways that human and animal interact to cultivate relationships as interconnected, related beings.  Whether it is through the study of the affect and ethics of ritual animal sacrifice, analysis of the right-wing political project of cow-protection, or examination of villagers’ talk about bears who abduct women and have sex with them, Govindrajan illustrates that multispecies relatedness relies on both difference and ineffable affinity between animals.  Animal Intimacies breaks substantial new ground in animal studies, and Govindrajan’s detailed portrait of the social, political and religious life of the region will be of interest to cultural anthropologists and scholars of South Asia as well.  


1 Introduction
2 The Goat Who Died for Family: Sacrificial Ethics and Kinship
3 The Cow Herself Has Changed: Hindu Nationalism, Cow Protection, and Bovine Materiality
4 Outsider Monkey, Insider Monkey: On the Politics of Exclusion and Belonging
5 Pig Gone Wild: Colonialism, Conservation, and the Otherwild
6 The Bear Who Loved a Woman: The Intersection of Queer Desires
Epilogue: Kukur aur bagh
Review Quotes
Naisargi N. Dave, University of Toronto
Animal Intimacies is written in a beautiful style, and the scholarship is exemplary: both rigorous and creative. Govindrajan's exceptional ethnography demonstrates the range of relationships people in the central Himalayas of India have with animals—relationships that can be described, ultimately, as ones of everyday, entangled intimacy. By showing us the textures of these intimacies, Govindrajan demonstrates that animals are not mere objects in the lives and reflections of humans, but are thinking, feeling subjects themselves, playing equal parts in human-animal cohabitation.”
Piers Locke, University of Canterbury
“Written in a lively style combining reflexive reportage with anthropological analysis, Animal Intimacies vividly portrays the everyday life and social concerns of villagers in the hill state of Uttarakhand through their interactions with household domesticates and encounters with forest animals. Its chapter-by-chapter engagement with a succession of distinct interspecies relations makes for a memorable and innovative ethnography. Govindrajan's richly detailed account of human lives led with animals succeeds in addressing many contemporary issues confronting people in India’s hill-states, while also making a valuable contribution to the anthropology of human-animal relations.”
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