Reading Blood Work is an Art Form: Toward an Embodied Feminist Practice of Veterinary Science and Care
What are the advantages of a concrete, embodied relationship between human subjects and their non-human objects of care for the veterinary process of knowledge production? The scientific reductionism that frames formal studies makes much of the knowledge gained in those studies questionable or severely limited, since many important factors of real life illnesses and their causation and cure are excluded from consideration for the sake of clinical control and traditional scientific objectivity. This essay narrates my experience with my mare Lilly who suffered from a rare auto-immune disease; at the same time, it describes and analyzes the history and strategies of the world's largest internet-based equine patient advocacy network on metabolic illness, a network that supported my journey of knowledge acquisition and contribution, through our case history, to a larger alternative veterinary cause of knowledge production.
Located between Feminist Science Studies and Critical Animal Studies, this project explores the notion of touch and raises questions about the biomedical field's present-day heavy reliance on visual diagnostics. What is the relation between visual technologies and the detached, disembodied knowledge "from nowhere" that conventional science believes in? How much of the alternative to this way of knowing lies in touch, embodied assistance, relationality, and intuition?
And finally, in observing and documenting the relationship at the heart of this venture around knowledge, my essay also suggest that this is a queer project where queerness is understood as the careful but radical reconfiguration of kinship in the context of Haraway’s recent call to “make kin, not babies.”
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Copyright (c) 2018 Christian Gundermann
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