In Indifference: On the Praxis of Interspecies Being (Duke UP, 2023), Naisargi N. Davé examines the complex worlds of animalists and animalism in India. Through ethnographic fieldwork with animal healers, animal activists, farmers, laborers, transporters, and animals themselves, and moving across animal shelters and dairy farms to city streets and abattoirs, Davé shows how human-animal relations often manifest through care and violence. More surprisingly, what Davé also finds animating interspecies relationality in India is an ethic of indifference---that is, an orientation of mutual regard rather than curiosity, love, desire, or animus. For Davé, indifference is a respect for others in their otherness that allows human and nonhuman animals to flourish in immanent encounters. Indifference, then, becomes the basis for an interspecies ethics and a method of care and practice in everyday life. With indifference, Davé describes both a mode of relationality in the world and a scholarly approach: seeking what is possible when we approach ethico-political concepts with indifference rather than commitment or antagonism. Moments of indifference, Davé contends, offer the promise of otherwise worlds.
Shraddha Chatterjee is a postdoctoral Visiting Scholar at University of Houston, and author of Queer Politics in India: Towards Sexual Subaltern Subjects (Routledge, 2018).