The Cetacean holocaust
DOI link for The Cetacean holocaust
The Cetacean holocaust book
This chapter examines the entanglement between species, nature and machines by uncovering the hidden history of a specific machinic industry- the historical 'animal genocide' of the 'Cetacean holocaust'. The rift between human and nature is nowhere more apparent than in the mass destruction of the whale populations of the North Atlantic in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by the whaling ships. Carlo Ginzburg has explored the notion of hunting as the search for traces. The co-habitation between humans and animals was often one of contestation in which each species sought the destruction of the other for survival and subsistence. Heathcote Williams, in a work which perhaps marked a cultural sea-change in animal studies, has argued for an understanding of whales as families, tribes and nations. The 'indomitable excess of the dialectic that both Marx and Melville see incarnated in the living flesh of labor' is of course also inscribed literally into the flesh of the species which capital has subdued.