Murder and Mattering in Harambe’s House
This article approaches the controversy over the killing of the gorilla Harambe in the Cincinnati Zoo in May 2016 as a unique window onto the making of animalness and blackness in the contemporary U.S. The construction of the “human” in relation to both the “animal” and the “black” is explored.
Abad-Santos, A. (2016). Harambe the gorilla: the zoo killing that's set the internet on fire, explained. Retrieved from http://www.vox.com/2016/5/31/11813640/harambe-gorilla- cincinnati-zoo-killed
Agamben, G. (2004). The open: Man and animal. Trans. Kevin Attell. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Akeley, C. (2013). In brightest Africa. New Dehli: Isha Books. (Original work published 1923)
Akeley, M. J. (1940). The wilderness lives again: Carl Akeley and the great adventure. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company.
Ayers, E. (2014). Hunting gorillas in the land of cannibals: Making Victorian field knowledge in western equatorial Africa. The Appendix, 2(2). Retrieved from http://theappendix.net/issues/2014/4/hunting-gorillas-in-the-land-of-cannibals-victorian-field-knowledge-in-equatorial-africa
Battiata, M. (1986). Dian Fossey: The crusade, the conflict, the night of horror. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1986/01/25/dian-fossey-the-crusade-the-conflict-the-night-of-horror/7dab897d-3933-4ebf-9a17-263610b1758a/
Bay, M. (2000). The white image in the black mind: African-American ideas about white people, 1830 - 1925. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bell, R. (2012). Slave suicide, abolition and the problem of resistance. Slavery & Abolition, 33(4), 525 - 549.
Bivona, D. (2005). Human thighs and susceptible apes: Self-implicating category confusion in Victorian discourse on west Africa. Nineteenth-Century Prose, 32(2), 81 - 107.
Burroughs, E. (1997). Tarzan of the apes. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications. (Original work published 1914)
Chieni, S. (1998). The harambe movement in Kenya the role played by Kenyans and the government in the provision of education and other social services. Trust Africa. Retrieved from http://africanphilanthropy.issuelab.org/resource/the_harambee_movement_in_kenya_the_role_played_by_kenyans_and_the_government_in_the_provision_of_education_and_other_social_services
Cooper, B. (2016). The conversation about Harambe has racist undertones we can't ignore. Retrieved from https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/conversation-harambe-racist-undertones-cant-151307318.html
Dalbey, B. (2016). Shot that killed gorilla Harambe heard around the world. Retrieved from http://patch.com/ohio/cleveland/shot-killed-gorilla-harambe-refuels-revolution
Derrida, J. (2002). The animal that therefore I am (more to follow). Critical Inquiry, 28(2), 369 - 418.
Derrida, J. (1991). 'Eating well," or the calculation of the subject: An interview with Jacques
Derrida. In E. Cadava & P. Connor (Eds.), Who Comes After the Subject? (pp. 96 - 119). New York: Routledge.
Diallo, A. (2006). 'More approximate to the animal': Africana resistance and the scientific war against black humanity in mid-nineteenth century America. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of History, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri.
Douglass, F. (1854). The claims of the negro, ethnologically considered. An address, before the literary societies, Western Reserve College, at commencement, July 12, 1854. Rochester: Lee, Mann & Co.
Downes, A. (2016). Jane Goodall, Azzedine Downes together offer thoughts on tragic Harambe killing. Retrieved from http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/news/jane-goodall-azzedine-downes-together-offer-thoughts-tragic-harambe-killing
Dunlap, T. (2016). Zookeeper who raised Harambe from birth: "He was never aggressive or mean to people." Retrieved from http://people.com/celebrity/zookeeper-who-raised-killed-gorilla-from-birth-he-was-never-aggressive/
Dykes, T. (2016). An inside look at the Cincinnati Zoo's Dangerous Animal Response Team. Retrieved from http://www.wlwt.com/article/an-inside-look-at-the- cincinnati-zoo-s-dangerous-animal-response-team/3566219
Fanon, F. (2008). Black skin, white masks (R. Philcox, Trans.). New York: GrovePress. (Original work published 1952)
Fieldstadt, E., & Stelloh, T. (2016). Outrage grows after gorilla Harambe shot dead at CincinnatiZoo to save tot. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/outrage-grows-after-gorilla-harambe-shot-dead-cincinnati-zoo-save-n582706
Fossey, D. (1983). Gorillas in the mist. New York: Mariner Books.
Giles-Vernick, T., & Rupp, S. (2006). Visions of apes, reflections on change: Telling tales of great apes in equatorial Africa. African Studies Review, 49(1), 51 - 73.
Goff, P., Eberhardt, J., Williams, M., & Jackson, M. (2008). Not yet human: Implicit knowledge, historical dehumanization, and contemporary consequences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(2), 292 - 306.
Greshko, M. (2016). Harambe's behavior may have been normal gorilla play. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/harambe-gorillas-behaviors-zoos-animals/
Gruen, L. (2016a). The Cincinnati Zoo's problem wasn't that it killed its gorilla. It's that it's a zoo. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-cincinnati-zoos-problem-wasnt-that-it-killed- its-gorilla-its-that-its-a-zoo/2016/06/01/a44015e8-27ea-11e6-b989-4e5479715b54_story.html
Gruen, L. (2016b, June). Talk presented at the Race and Animals Institute, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT.
Gruen, L. (2016c). Carceral logics and the paradox of hope. Manuscript in preparation.
Haraway, D. (1989). Primate visions: Gender, race, and nature in the world of modern science. New York: Routledge.
Hayes, K. (2016). A zoo story: From Harambe to human bondage. Retrieved from http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/36253-a-zoo-story-from-harambe-to-human-bondage
Hogenboom, M. (2016). Are gorillas a danger to people? Retrieved fromhttp://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160531-how-violent-are-gorillas-really
Jackson, Z. (2013). Animal: New directions in the theorization of race and posthumanism. Feminist Studies, 39(3), 669 - 685.
Jefferson, T. (1999). Notes on the state of Virginia. New York: Penguin Books. (Original work published 1785)
Jordan, W. (1968). White over black: American attitudes toward the negro, 1550 - 1812. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Kheel, M. (2008). Nature ethics: An ecofeminist perspective. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
King, B. (2016). A gorilla is killed, and our parent-shaming culture springs to life. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2016/06/01/480284223/a-gorilla-is-killed-and-our-parent-shaming-culture-springs-to-life
Lovejoy, A. (2009). The great chain of being: A study of the history of an idea. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Lundblad, M. (2013). The birth of a jungle: Animality in Progressive-era U.S. literature & culture. New York: Oxford University Press.
Luse, C. (2008). "The offspring of infidelity": Polygenesis and the defense of slavery. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of History, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Montgomery, S. (2009). Walking with the great apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.
Morrison, T. (1992). Playing in the dark: Whiteness and the literary imagination. New York: Vintage Books.
Muhammad, K. (2010). The condemnation of blackness: Race, crime, and the making of modern urban America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Nott, J., & Gliddon, G. (1854). Types of Mankind or Ethnological Researches, Based Upon the Ancient Monuments, Paintings, Sculptures, and Crania of Races. Kessinger Legacy Reprints.
Patterson, K. (1974). Paul B. Du Chaillu and the exploration of Gabon, 1855 - 1865. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 7(4), 647-667.
Pulliam-Moore, C. (2016). Your favorite Harambe memes are racist. It's time to stop using them. Retrieved from http://fusion.net/story/346541/death-to-harambe-memes/
Rao, V. (2016). How Harambe became the perfect meme. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/09/harambe-the-perfect-meme/498743/
Rex, K. (2016). Harambe isn't the perfect meme—It's a racist one. Retrieved from https://www.good.is/articles/harambe-the-gorilla-meme
Roberts, D. (1998). Killing the black body. New York: Vintage.
Rodriguez, M. (2016). Fox news blamed dad's alleged "criminal history" for gorilla's death at Cincinnati Zoo. Retrieved from https://www.yahoo.com/news/fox-news-blamed-dads-alleged-211000391.html.
Rothfels, N. (2002). Savages and beasts: The birth of the modern zoo. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Savali, K. (2016). Racists prove that they care more about gorillas than black children. Retrieved from http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2016/06/harambe-cincinnati-zoo-black-children/
Schwartz, R. (2016). How Harambe the gorilla's death unleashed the animal kingdom's social media outrage. Retrieved from http://fusion.net/story/308009/harambe-gorilla-cincinnati-social-media-zoo/
Sexton, J. (2015). Unbearable blackness. Cultural Critique, 90, 159 - 178.
Sexton, J. (2011). The social life of social death: On Afro-Pessimism and Black Optimism. InTensions, 1(5).
Sexton, J. (2008). Amalgamation schemes: Antiblackness and the critique of multiculturalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Shah, N. (2016). Our reaction to Harambe the gorilla—and the black boy who fell into his cage—has everything to do with race. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/our-reaction-to-the-death-of-harambe-the-gorilla-and- the-black-toddler-who-was-saved-has-everything-a7059796.html
Shoumatoff, A. (1995). The fatal obsession of Dian Fossey. Retrieved from http://www.vanityfair.com/style/1986/09/fatal-obsession-198609
Sinha, M. (2016). The slave's cause: A history of abolition. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Spillers, H. (2003). Black, white, and in color: Essays on American literature and culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Steiner, G. (2005). Anthropocentrism and its discontents: The moral status of animals in the history of Western philosophy. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Uddin, L. (2015). Zoo renewal: White flight and the animal ghetto. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Uddin, L. (2006). A gorilla lover's discourse. parallax, 12(1), 110 - 119.
Wilderson, F. (2010). Red, white & black: Cinema and the structure of U.S. antagonisms. Durham: Duke University Press.
Varadarajan, T. (2002). Giants of the jungle. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1015200880517583680
Wolfe, C. (2003). Animal rites: American culture, the discourse of species, and posthumanist theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Zhang, S. (2016). What happens to Harambe's gorilla troop now that he's gone? It's complicated. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2016/06/happens-harambes-gorilla-troop-now-hes-gone-complicated/
Copyright (c) 2017 Claire Jean Kim
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).