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In Session: The Questions of East Asian Animalities: Capital, Politics, and Entangled Cultures across Species Boundaries
4: Tibetan Antelopes as Capital: How Green Encountered Black in Mount Patrol
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
University of Toronto, Canada
After China’s reform and opening up, capital gradually infiltrates Mount Patrol, where nature and ecology are all reorganized and reshaped by the logic of capitalism. This paper focuses on how the Tibetan antelope has transformed from being a creature that shares a planet with humans to animal capital in this process, reflecting the changes in the relationship between humans and nature. Through Kekexili: Mountain Patrol and Balance, two films about Tibetan antelope poaching and illegal trade, this paper explores how the incorporation of ecological consciousness has impacted the narrative mode of traditional crime films, renovated realist aesthetics, redefined crime and violence in the Anthropocene, and formed a new genre Eco-crime film. It further discusses how Eco-crime film as a medium reveals the huge hidden transnational capitalist network by representing the process of tracking the real culprit behind the poaching of Tibetan antelopes. On the one hand, the Tibetan antelope is commodified and materialized in the circulation and exchange of this network and became the raw material of the high-end fashionable shawl shahtoosh. On the other hand, the Tibetan antelope is used to construct cultural symbols, fabricate myths, and endow new meanings, thus covering up the truth of the bloody slaughter and speeding up commodity consumption. At last, this paper examines how the Tibetan antelope, as an animal that cannot be artificially tamed, provides new possibilities to imagine animals liberated from the control of the capital and sharing the world in harmony with humans.