HST Seminar - Wednesday 19 August 2015

17 Aug 2015 - 10:45

Speaker: Dr Anil Persaud

Title: The Working Animal and the Sugar Archive: Chewing on Cane While Waiting for a Visa

Date: Wednesday 19 August 2015

Time: 1pm

Venue: Room 240, Beattie Building, University Avenue, UCT Upper Campus

Please click here to access the paper.


What follows is an excerpt from a book in progressive stages of writing and re-writing, tentatively titled A Working Animal’s History of Sugar. Non-social sciences are increasingly rendering meaningless the distinction between human and animal. On the one hand, the animal in this book refers to the animal that humans must now accept that they are. On the other hand, the sugar archive overflows with knowledge of and, as the book aims to show knowledge, by a disappearing subject: the animals that humans once were and hope to never again be, i.e., the animals that created so that animals could be human. The working animal’s past includes but is not restricted to the slave, the indentured labourer and the worker. The present paper - by focusing on chewing, as in ruminating on or re-searching cane, waiting for a visa, which is never a self-explanatory process, and the interdisciplinary possibilities of a commonplace called Adversaria - seeks to raise the question, Why not the working animal? in order to then be able to engage with the history of sugar and sugar cane from the perspective of a working animal.