The Beasts and the Beastly: Colonial Discourse and the (Non-)human Animals of Pantisocracy

Author: Md. Monirul Islam, Presidency University, Kolkata, India

Citation: Islam, Md. M. (2022). The Beasts and the Beastly: Colonial Discourse and the (Non-)human Animals of Pantisocracy. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 9(1).


In 1794 Coleridge and Southey made a plan to set up a utopian community on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania; the proposed society was christened Pantisocracy. The project, however, did not materialize. The differences between Coleridge and Southey regarding the place of servants in Pantisocracy and an uncertainty over the role of women in the community have often been cited as the key issues that led to the failure of the project. However, a close attention to Coleridge and Southey’s writings on Pantisocracy reveals that a third reason for the abandonment was the anxiety of the two poets over the non-human animals and native humans of America. Considering critical theory’s interest in posthuman issues, the present paper revolves around the question of the non-human animals in Pantisocracy. It contends that the non-human animals are central to an understanding of the utopian scheme and aims to discuss the role of non-human animals in the construction of racial other and in the formation of colonial discourse. Further, it proffers the argument that the human-non-human entanglement that is witnessed in issues regarding Pantisocracy underscores the fact that human agency is an assemblage of the human and the nonhuman actors.


colonialism, humanism, non-human animals, Pantisocracy, race