jimmy curry thesis FINAL VERSION .pdf

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In Whose Terms?: Difference, Similarity, and Prosthesis in the Encounter Between the
Stenella Frontalis and the Wild Dolphin Project

A Thesis
Presented to
The Division of Humanities and Social Sciences
Reed College

In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Bachelor of Arts

James Curry-Castillo
May 2016

Approved for the Division
(Anthropology)

Robert Brightman

Acknowledgments
First and foremost I must thank Betsey Brada, who was my advisor first semester. This
paper owes a big debt to Courtney Handman who is now at University of Texas at
Austin, and whose mentorship my sophomore and junior years has been integral to my
formation as an anthropology student and an artist. My friends were crucial to this
process, both for being there for me generally and also for listening to me talk through
my topic—in this respect I want to thank Lauren Nelson, Jade Novarino, Chloe
Margherita, Em Cytrynbaum, Eli Coplan, and especially Nathan Eisenberg, whose
comments on my first draft truly helped me re-orient my project in a more productive
direction. I thank Jess Hutchison as well as Piper Bazaard, Gabe Schneider, and Asher
Groh for welcoming me into their home and being such kind friends. I thank everyone
who lived in my old home, the Frog Dog House, for being such amazing roommates and
being so supportive of me even when I was ensconced in my studies—Andrew Pannell,
Anika Tobiason, Sam Szabo, Eileen Chavez, Emelia Jarnot, Ariel Hawkins, Jamie Cree,
Hannah Mizar. I thank my mother Maria Curry for being everything all these years. I
thank Maru Balandrán for lending a helpful ear and hand to my extreme panic attacks all
year long and for being the sweetest sister anybody could ask for. I thank my dad James
Curry III, rest in peace. I thank my professors Courtney Handman (again), miishen
Carpentier, LaShandra Sullivan, Ben Lazier, Morgan Luker, Diego Alonso, Kris Cohen,
and Ellen Millender for having been such amazing professors all these years and teaching
me so much. I thank the cats I’ve known this year, Frank and Dragon, as well as my cats
back home, Tizoc and Bonbón and also Xotchitl (RIP) for being co-present in my life,
whatever that may mean. I thank God, whatever that may mean. I thank my haters and
my years alive and the rivers and History and the thousands of others who have made
today and other days possible.

Table of Contents
Introduction: Difference, Sameness, and the Wild Dolphin Project ............................ 1  
Chapter 1: Humans, Dolphins, and the Cognitive Subject ......................................... 15  
Possibilities for human-dolphin communication .......................................................... 16  
The model of “two-way communication”................................................................. 16  
Dolphins with minds and complex communication.................................................. 18  
“Persons” and Agamben’s “anthropological machine” ................................................ 20  
The dolphin and human as “persons” who may not be killed................................... 20  
Giorgio Agamben’s “anthropological machine” ...................................................... 22  
The ambivalence of Herzing and Whites’ anthropological machine .................... 24  
Conclusion ................................................................................................................ 26  
Chapter 2: Corporeal Difference and the CHAT ........................................................ 29  
Part 1: The CHAT as prosthesis ................................................................................... 32  
Prosthesis as objet petit a ...................................................................................... 32  
Prosthetic coupling as zone of indiscernibility ..................................................... 33  
The dolphin who tried to speak English ............................................................... 35  
The development of a “human/dolphin interface” .................................................... 36  
Pre-CHAT: Herzing feels a lack ........................................................................... 36  
CHAT and beyond: Starner sees an engineering problem .................................... 38  
Part 2: Difference and teleology in the evolutionary encounter ................................... 40  
The ambiguity of evolutionary trees ..................................................................... 42  
The dolphin as cyborg........................................................................................... 44  
Chapter 3: The Politics of Human-Dolphin Pedagogy ................................................ 49  
The problems of pedagogy ........................................................................................... 51  
Wildness........................................................................................................................ 56  

The wild dolphin and the problem of captivity ......................................................... 57  
Towards a “noninvasive” research............................................................................ 60  
Conclusion: A prosthetic anthropology ........................................................................ 65  
Conclusion ....................................................................................................................... 71  
Bibliography .................................................................................................................... 79  
1. Website Citations .................................................................................................. 79  
2. Main Bibliography ................................................................................................ 79  

List of Abbreviation
WDP

Wild Dolphin Project

CHAT

Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry

SETI

Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence


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