Animal ethics in Asian literature (Call for papers)

Animal ethics in Asian literature (Call for papers)


Human beings, as well as animals, feel pain...and are therefore sensitive and capable of empathy. The special issue of Impressions d’Extrême-Orient aims to address the issue of animal ethics in Asian literature. Through articles and/or translations of philosophical, historical, spiritual, religious and literary works, this issue endeavours to figure out if ancient and contemporary Asian authors do invite us to think about animal ethics, and if they have imagined another form of human-animal relationship that would not be based on the domination and oppression of other species.

The different mechanisms (tradition, religious beliefs) which justify speciesist practices can be discussed through textual sources from different geographical and cultural Asian areas. Also, this issue could allow us to consider ideologies that provide reasons for animal worship, exploitation and consumption.

On a wider scale, considerations about human-animal relationship may be extended to various manifestations of oppression and discrimination in our societies, such as racism and sexism, which are ongoing social issues. Putting aside moral and philosophical considerations, it is also a political and ecological matter, since animal farming is “one of the major causes of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity” (FAO, 2006).

However, “there is no obligation to act. We can remain passive and go further in the exploitation of the animal world. The only question is : knowing what we know, is that what we really want ?” (Barrau, 2018).

The idea of humanism in Asia may therefore be approached with greater insight through the translation and the analysis of Asian-language works dealing with the ethical dimension of the human-animal relationship, notably the idea that “the story of vegetarianism and that of non-violence towards animals in China is a debate that has been lasting for two thousand years” (Goossaert, 2007).

This philosophical debate about an inclusive moral humanism echoes the principle of humility which was dear to Claude Lévi-Strauss, according to which “Mankind can find shelter from the risk to fail to respect all forms of life within humanity itself by starting to respect all forms of life apart from itself” (Lévi-Strauss, 1979).



We are expecting articles and/or translations of literary works (with a presentation providing information about the text, its author and the reasons why it retained your attention).

The text should not have been translated and published in English before. Otherwise, the translator shall explain why this text deserves a new translation. Regarding contemporary works, the translator must have the authorisation of the author, unless the text is free of rights.

The papers must not exceed 30 000 characters for a translation and 30 000 to 50 000 characters for an article.

The papers must be sent in both Word and PDF format (without bold or underline text, colours, etc.), along with the original text in PDF for the translations.

The contributor can also provide accompanying documents (such as pictures and illustrations in JPEG format) which have to be copyright-free.


Deadline : 31th October 2018

You can send your abstract (300-500 words, before 30th June 2018), articles and translations to :