Cookie Consent by
Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Special Issue Articles

Vol. 4 No. 1 (2022): American Studies as Vulnerability Studies

'It sounds like erasure': Mobility, Vulnerability, and Queer Coolitude Poetics in Rajiv Mohabir's The Taxidermist's Cut

March 1, 2022


Various im/mobilities linked to colonialism have shaped the Caribbean, fundamentally structuring the unevenness of vulnerability. This paper reads vulnerabilities as relationally produced through the entanglement of human and more-than-human im/mobilities. Rajiv Mohabir's poetry collection The Taxidermist's Cut (2016) addresses the vulnerability of the Indo-Caribbean diaspora and extends it to a shared more-than-human vulnerability. This is done by employing the practice of taxidermy as a figurative device to expose violences and vulnerabilities of oppressive and colonial regimes and its legacies today. These multiple vulnerabilities are related to both imperial im/mobilizations of peoples during the period of indentureship, as well as of animals, on which taxidermy is performed, immobilizing their desired shape for eternity. The book then queers understandings of singular national affiliation and binary classifications that serve to immobilize humans and non-humans alike, and instead moves out of these fixation by opening up the vulnerabilities of the self to other possibilities. 


  1. Ahmed, Sara. "Collective Feelings: Or, the Impressions Left by Others." Theory, Culture & Society 21, no. 2 (2004): 25-42.
  2. Ahmed, Sara, and Jackie Stacey. Thinking Through the Skin. London: Routledge, 2001.
  3. Aloi, Giovanni. Speculative Taxidermy: Natural History, Animal Surfaces, and Art in the Anthropocene. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.
  4. Bahadur, Gaiutra. Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.
  5. Bragard, Véronique. Transoceanic Dialogues: Coolitude in Caribbean and Indian Ocean Literatures. Brussels: Peter Lang, 2008.
  6. Browne, Montagu. Practical Taxidermy: A Manual of Instruction to the Amateur in Collecting, Preserving, and Setting Up Natural History Specimens of All Kinds. London: L. Upcott Gill, 1884.
  7. Butler, Judith. The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind. New York: Verso Books, 2020.
  8. Butler, Judith. Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso Books, 2004.
  9. Butler, Judith, Zeynep Gambetti, and Leticia Sabsay. "Introduction." In Vulnerability in Resistance, edited by Judith Butler, Zeynep Gambetti, and Leticia Sabsay, 1-11. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.
  10. Carter, Marina, and Khaleel Torabully. Coolitude: An Anthology of the Indian Labour Diaspora. London: Anthem Press, 2002.
  11. Cresswell, Tim. "Towards a Politics of Mobility." Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28, no. 1 (2010): 17-31.
  12. de Ferrari, Guillermina. Vulnerable States: Bodies of Memory in Contemporary Caribbean Fiction. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007.
  13. Glissant, Édouard. Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1989.
  14. Glissant, Édouard. Poetics of Relation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997.
  15. Gopinath, Gayatri. Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora. Durham: Duke University Press, 2018.
  16. Greenblatt, Stephen. "A Mobility Studies Manifesto." In Cultural Mobility, by Stephen Greenblatt, Ines G. Županov, Reinhard Meyer-Kalkus, Heike Paul, Pál Nyíri, and Friedericke Pannewick, 250-53. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  17. Haraway, Donna. "Cyborgs, Coyotes, and Dogs: A Kinship of Feminist Figurations." Interview by Nina Lykke, Randi Markussen, and Finn Olesen. In The Haraway Reader, 321-33. New York: Routledge, 2004.
  18. Haraway, Donna J. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.
  19. Haraway, Donna J. When Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008.
  20. Hartman, Saidiya V. Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth Century America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  21. Hirsch, Marianne. "Vulnerable Times." In Vulnerability in Resistance, edited by Judith Butler, Zeynep Gambetti, and Leticia Sabsay, 76-96. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.
  22. Lowe, Lisa. The Intimacies of Four Continents. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015.
  23. Marbury, Robert. Taxidermy Art: A Rogue's Guide to the Work, the Culture, and How to Do It Yourself. New York: Artisan, 2014.
  24. Mehta, Brinda J. Diasporic (Dis)Locations: Indo-Caribbean Women Writers Negotiate the Kala Pani. Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2004.
  25. Mohabir, Nalini. "Kala Pani: Aesthetic Deathscapes and the Flow of Water After Indenture." Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas 5, no. 3 (2019): 293-314.
  26. Mohabir, Rajiv. "Ally is a Verb: A Whale's Song." Ke Ka'upu Hehi 'Ale. April 21, 2015.
  27. Mohabir, Rajiv. "Coolitude Manifesto: A Coolitude Statement to End this Series." Jacket2. January 17, 2018.
  28. Mohabir, Rajiv. "First: Rajiv Mohabir's The Taxidermist's Cut." Interview by Rigoberto González. Poets & Writers. October 02, 2016.
  29. Mohabir, Rajiv. "Rajiv Mohabir." Interview by Mistake House. Mistake House. 2018.
  30. Poliquin, Rachel. The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012.
  31. Richards, Thomas. The Imperial Archive: Knowledge and the Fantasy of Empire. London: Verso Books, 1993.
  32. Robinson, Cedric J. Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition. London: Zed Books, 1983.
  33. Seiler, Cotton. "Mobilizing Race, Racializing Mobility: Writing Race into Mobility Studies." In Mobility in History: The State of the Art in the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility, edited by Gijs Mom, Gordon Pirie, and Laurent Tissot, 229-33. Neuchâtel: Éditions Alphil-Presses Universitaires Suisses, 2009.
  34. Sheller, Mimi. Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes. London: Verso Books, 2018.
  35. Sheller, Mimi. "Uneven Mobility Futures: A Foucauldian Approach." Mobilities 11, no. 1 (2016): 15-31.
  36. Tinsley, Omise'eke Natasha. "Black Atlantic, Queer Atlantic: Queer Imaginings of the Middle Passage." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 14, nos. 2-3 (2008): 191-215.
  37. Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.
  38. Wakeham, Pauline. Taxidermic Signs: Reconstructing Aboriginality. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 101

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.