Dingoes and dog whistling
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Dingoes and dog whistling book
For the last 30 years in Australia, the extinction of the dingo has been of great concern. But what this usually means is not that dingoes are being pushed to the brink because of gunshot or baits (though such persecution is happening). In fact, it is not even so much a matter of dingo death but rather dingo birth, or the queer relations of dingo and domestic/wild dog, that is the major concern. Almost everything that is said about the dingo pivots around a seemingly unshakeable truth that the dingo is becoming extinct by hybridizing with domestic dogs. It is this particular interpretation or use of the word extinction that intrigues. How did hybridity become tangled up with extinction in this way, and how did it come to have such explanatory power despite the fact that numerous studies failed to establish either a definitive test for dingo purity or a reliable baseline to begin with? The link between hybridity and extinction forms the ideological backbone of ‘dingology’, which is a term I use in the spirit of Donna Haraway’s ‘primatology is politics by other means’ (1984), to examine how dingology straddles a biocultural frontier, where race, gender and species intersect.