British Animal Studies Network ‘Loss’

  • Caroline Harris (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Cut-out Bambi: a presentation of poetic practice on the cuteness and erasure of deer

How does the ‘cuteness’ of deer reconcile with their killability? Burgeoning deer populations have been cited as an issue for biodiversity loss and human health (e.g. Lyme disease) and implicated in the damages of settler colonialism; culls are a norm. At the same time, cute images and narratives of deer proliferate (e.g. Netflix production Sweet Tooth). My creative and critical research focuses on the poetics of deer – what we do when we put deer in poems – in particular in relation to the growing field of Cute Studies. Ngai’s theorisation of the cute as an aesthetic category opens ways to analyse the power relationships involved in cuteness, and how ‘cute objects’ can be flipped from unthreatening cute to killable pest: from ‘Bambi’ to ‘thug’ (Daily Mail). My poetic bookwork Cut-out Bambi, which I will present and contextualise, engages in innovative, material ways with Ngai’s theory, bringing together two manifestations of the cute – YouTube videos of deer in human habitats and Disney’s 1942 animated film Bambi – to provoke a questioning of attitudes. Through physical cutting-out of the printed deer, it explores the collision between cute images in mass media and the erasure of deer by humans.
Period8 Sept 2021
Event typeConference
LocationUnited KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational