chapter  19
16 Pages

Kinship imaginaries: children’s stories of wild friendships, fear, and freedom

ByLeesa Fawcett

Through a materialist, ecological feminist and phenomenological lens, this chapter explores Canadian children’s narrative ideas about common and familiar wild animals, as a way to gain a wider angle view on imagining and teaching interspecies ethics. In keeping with Karen Barad’s quote above, I am searching for ways to meet living beings and enhance our mutual becoming and fl ourishing in this world and others. Children have unique perspectives on other animal lives; they share being cared for at home, often with companion species, and yet when children cross the constructed polite limits of Western adult culture they are said to be wild. Feral children – those abandoned by humans and raised by animals – are rarely, if ever, asked what they learned about animal sociality and culture (Noske 1989). The porosity and possibilities of boundary crossings between wild, feral, and domestic spheres are limitless, not just for children and animals. One of the intricate assumptions of this chapter is that clusters of attitudes towards animals are culturally produced and circulated, and have serious consequences for ethics, citizenship, and education. I begin with the following theoretical and praxis-oriented assumptions: 1) this chapter is part of a larger anti-hegemonic tool kit and postcolonial project on animal ethics; 2) this is speculative work, not defi nitive or prescriptive; 3) the overall intent is to disrupt notions of autonomy and individualism and focus on interdependence and interrelations.