“Where Butchers Sing Like Angels,” Of Captive Bodies and Colonized Minds (With a Little Help from Louise Erdrich)


The Master Butchers Signing Club – Louise Erdrich’s “countehistory” (Natalie Eppelsheimer) of the declared and undeclared wars of Western patriarchy–depicts a world where butchering, when done with precision and expertise, approximates art. Fidelis Waldvogel, whose name means literally Faithful Forestbird, is a sensitive German boy turned the first-rate sniper in the First World War and master butcher in his adult life in America. When Fidelis revisits his homeland after the slaughter of World War II, Delphine, his second wife, has a vision of smoke and ashes bursting out of the mouths of the master butchers singing onstage in a masterful harmony of voices. Why it is only Delphine, an outsider in the Western world, that can see the crematorium-like reality overimposed on the bucolic scenery of a small German town? Drawing on decolonial and Critical Animal Studies, this article tries to demystify some of the norms and normativities we live by.  


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Published : 2020-08-16

PoksM. (2020). “Where Butchers Sing Like Angels,” Of Captive Bodies and Colonized Minds (With a Little Help from Louise Erdrich). Review of International American Studies, 13(1), 123-144. https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7650

Małgorzata Poks  gosiapoks@gmail.com
University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland  Poland

Małgorzata Poks, PhD is an assistant professor at the Institute of Literary Studies, Faculty of Humanities, at the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. Her main research interests revolve around contemporary North American Literature, Indigenous Studies, US-Mexican border writing, Critical Animal Studies, Christian anarchism, Thomas Merton’s late poetry. She has published widely in Poland and abroad. Her monograph Thomas Merton and Latin America: a Consonance of Voices (2006) received the International Thomas Merton Award and in her article “Home on the Border: in Ana Castillo's The Guardians: The Colonial Matrix of Power, Epistemic Disobedience, and Decolonial Love” was awarded the 2019 Javier Coy Biennial Research Award. Poks is also a recipient of several international research fellowships.

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