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Dr Anat Pick, MA, Sussex; D.Phil, Oxford

Senior Lecturer in Film Studies

Room: Arts One 1.41a
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8290
Email : a.pick@qmul.ac.uk
Office hours: Wednesday 1-3pm, or by appointment: a.pick@qmul.ac.uk

Profile

Dr Anat

Research interests : Early film; documentary; experimental cinema; the visual essay; critical animal studies; ecocinema; post-humanist theory; continental philosophy.

Since completing my DPhil in English Literature on Henry James and Emmanuel Levinas (University of Oxford, 2001), I’ve extended my interest in the relationship between ethics, literature, and film beyond the human. At the heart of my teaching and research across image and text are questions about the more-than-human dimensions of ethics, broadly defined as an openness toward the living world. In my first book, Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film (Columbia University Press, 2011), I develop a “creaturely” approach to literature and film based on the shared bodily vulnerability of human and nonhuman animals. The book’s theoretical backbone is the thought of the philosopher and mystic Simone Weil (1909-1943), whose idiosyncratic body of work informs much of my current research. My co-edited volume, Screening Nature: Cinema Beyond the Human (Berghahn, 2013) intersects film studies and the emergent fields of ecocriticism and critical animal studies in order to illustrate a non-anthropocentric understanding of the cinematic medium. My most recent book, Maureen (Hen Press, 2016), is a work of creative nonfiction that explores the commonalities between vulnerable humans and animals in institutions like the nursing home and the factory farm. I am working on a new book called Vegan Cinema: Looking, Eating, Letting Be, drawing on Simone Weil’s analogy between looking and eating and her key concept of “attention.” The book argues for cinema’s paradoxical capacity to retreat from the objects it captures, frames, and records—a form of looking that refrains from consuming the objects of sight. This type of gaze is “conservationist” in that it acknowledges the autonomous existence of beings and things, and lets them be. This nonviolent gaze also offers an alternative to the modes of looking famously critiqued by feminist and postcolonial theorists. Nonviolent looking, in the realm of art, reflects the practice of veganism in the culinary realm. Both embody an impossible but politically valiant attempt to engage with the world without consuming it.

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