Text topic: THE FANTASTIC IN CULTURE
Text author: Данијела Петковић
Relying on recent theoretical work in the field of critical animal studies and ecocriticism, the paper discusses several fantasies across different media and genres (a comic book series, a young adult novel, and an animated film), whose common characteristic is a critical stance towards anthropocentrism, also known, tellingly, as “human exceptionalism”, “human supremacy”, and “human chauvinism”. The selected corpus consists of Neil Gaiman’s “A Dream of a Thousand Cats”, Hannah Moskowitz’s “Teeth”, and Hayao Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke”. Dissimilar as they are, these fantasies share common thematic concern with the relationship between the human and the nonhuman – primarily animals – as well as commitment to challenging the notions of natural, just and desirable human supremacy over all other forms of life. In the selected works, human exceptionalism is challenged by unmasking human exceptional brutality at its root,and, perhaps more unnervingly, by the exploration of the fundamentalkinship between human and nonhuman animals. Although these popular fantasies do not voice explicit or simple ecological messages, due to the above mentioned concerns, they function as ecocritical texts as well. In the context of the global environmental crisis, it is in this ecocritical potential that some relevance of fantasy arguably lies.