Picturing The Beast

Picturing the Beast

Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity, and Representation, second edition (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2001).  ISBN 0-252-07030-5.  (Reviews below are of the first edition: Manchester University Press, 1993.)

“Immensely accessible … Baker’s study is witty, learned, sophisticated, and direct.”
– Norman Bryson, author of Vision and Painting: The Logic of the Gaze

“A pleasure to read as well as being a substantial work of scholarship.”
– Andrew Johnson, Environmental Values

Picturing the Beast enters the intellectual terrain populated in the last few decades by the numerous theoretical efforts at decentering the human subject and a recentering of ‘otherness’ including more recent injunctions for a progressive cultural politics to accompany such gestures.  Baker moves with skill among ideas such as the ‘constructedness’ of identity, the operations of power found in the rhetoric of the image, and the pleasures experienced in the consumption of popular representations, all of which are applied to his study of the signifying capacity of the animal.  Baker’s project is unique among recent efforts … because he provides a complex, demystifying analysis of the uses of animal representations in culture from a contemporary Western perspective including an important discussion of the strategic possibilities for representing animal rights.”
– Andrew Blauvelt, Design Issues